Special to the Progress
The Oologah Mustangs edged the Catoosa Indians 24-21 in a Distrct 4A-3 showdown Friday night.
The Mustangs (7-3, 6-1) will host a first round playoff game while the Indians (7-3, 5-2) will be on the road to start the postseason next Friday.
Payton Craig led the charge for Oologah. The junior quarterback rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also passed for 65 yards and one touchdown.
"We got off to a bit of a slow start but recovered," said Craig. "We played well and fought hard,"
Tre Harvey finished with a game-high 211 receiving yards for Catoosa. Harvey's 31-yard touchdown catch from Caleb Wilsey with 1:03 to play gave his team a glimmer of hope.
Breyden DeSpain recovered the ensuing onside kick, however, and with the Indians out of timeouts, Craig only had to kneel down twice to set off jubiliation from the Oologah faithful.
"Our crowd was ready to go tonight," said Craig. "This was the loudest they have been all season. It was great to have them behind us."
Catoosa needed just under two minutes to go five plays and 80 yards on the game's initial possession.
Wilsey finished things off with a 27-yard keeper at the 10:07 mark of the first quarter.
Oologah countered with an 11 play, 64 yard drive. The march ended when Craig threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to DeSpain with 6:37 left in the first period.
Four plays prior, the Mustangs were faced with fourth down near midfield. The Indians were penalized 15 yards, however, for having too many men on the field and that allowed the drive to continue.
Oologah went ahead 14-7 on Craig's 15-yard keeper with 3:54 remaining in the second quarter. The Mustangs got a couple of good breaks as they fumbled twice earlier on the drive but recovered both.
Exactly one minute later, Craig scored again on a 1-yard plunge. That touchdown came three plays after Trent Harris recovered a fumble at the Catoosa 40 yard line.
The Oologah defense surrenedered just 16 yards and zero first downs after the initial Indian scoring drive in the first half.
Catoosa scored on its opening possession of the second half to close within 21-14. Devon Hemphill did the honors with a 5-yard run at the 8:49 mark of the third period.
Oologah recovered another fumble at the Indian 17 yard line with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs eventually got points from that at the 8:11 mark on Mark Franklin's 25 yard field goal.
Catoosa moved into Oologah territory on its next drive but were turned away again after freshman Hunter Gibson's interception at his own 16 yard line with 4:48 left.
"The kids knew what was at stake and they came out and played hard," said Oologah head coach Brandon Craig, Payton's father. "It feels awesome to get a home playoff game."