By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
When Wagoner meets Anadarko on Friday at Langston University in the Class 4A semifinals, the game could be billed as “Clash of the Titans.”
The No. 2 Bulldogs (11-1) are the defending 4A champions while No. 3 Anadarko (12-0) won the Class 3A title last year.
“It’s rare because you either have to have somebody dropping down in class or someone moving up,” said Wagoner coach Dale Condict. “It’s exciting though. You practice hard and work hard all year to play in big games, and these last couple of games are as big as it gets.”
At the beginning of the season, Condict remembers Anadarko coach Kent Jackson saying he wasn’t real sure how good his team was because of the youth at the skill positions. That youth, which includes three sophomores and one junior, have accounted for 83.2 percent of the team’s total offense.
“They’re real young,” he said. “So you have to think they’re gonna be around awhile.”
The Warriors are averaging 288.3 yards per game running the football, 46 percent of that from the legs of 5-11, 165-pound junior running back R.J. Sink.
Sink has 182 carries for 1,590 yards (132.5 ypg) and 31 touchdowns, including 11 carries for 209 yards and four TDs last Friday in Anadarko’s 46-20 win over Fort Gibson.
“He’s the best we’ve seen all year as far as running backs,” Condict said. “He’s got open-field speed. And for a guy no bigger than he is, he runs extremely hard. We’re going to have to do a great job of playing technique up front.”
When teams gang up on Sink to try and stop him, quarterback Brandon Pollard pulls the ball down and takes off. The sophomore has 778 yards on 121 carries to go along with his 69 percent completion percentage when he decides to air it out.
“He’s good at both running and throwing,” Condict said. “He seems to be a good game manager. We feel like he’s their second threat to run. Plus he does a good job of distributing the ball to their other athletes.”
When Pollard does throw the football, his two main targets are sophomores Josh Parton (6-0, 145) and Brayden Alexander (5-7, 133). Parton has 33 receptions while Alexander has 22 catches, 67 percent of the Warriors’ total.
“They really don’t do a lot of long, down-the-field passes, just intermediate stuff,” Condict said. “They’re both extremely quick and they make plays happen. They’ll catch what might have been a 15-yard gain and turn it into a 40- or 50-yard touchdown.”
On the defensive side of the ball, there were two players that Condict was most impressed with, seniors Dakota Botone, a 6-1, 248 senior defensive end and Galen Satoe, a 6-2, 195 pound linebacker, two of the few seniors in the starting lineup.
“Botone’s got good size and good agility,” he said. “He plays very aggressive. Satoe is a typical linebacker, and a good open-field tackler and really presses the line of scrimmage on the run.”
Should the Bulldogs prevail and advance to their third straight state championship game, they will face either No 5 Clinton — whom Wagoner beat 23-0 for the title last year — or No. 4 Ada, looking for its first state championship since 1996.
“Between them they have 34 state championships,” Condict said. “But we have to focus on Anadarko.”