MEEKER – The Meeker Bulldogs scored a bunch of points, but it was the defense which set the table Friday night in District 2A-2 football action at Bulldog Stadium.
Dakota Gabbert returned two interceptions for touchdowns, Jacob Martin ran for one TD and passed for two others and Caden Wolford ran for three scores as Meeker blitzed Henryetta, 59-8, to close out the 2019 regular season.
The second half was played with a continuous running clock as the Bulldogs established a 53-0 halftime lead.
Meeker, 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the district, finished as the district runner-up and will host a Class 2A first-round playoff game next Friday night.
“We played at a high level and not just because of the score. We went out and executed well,” said Bulldog head coach D.J. Howell. “We're holding ourselves to a certain standard and I thought we played to that level tonight.”
Meeker was so dominant on defense the Bulldogs limited Henryetta to 44 yards of total offense as the Knights were limited to 11 yards on 11 carries in the rushing department. The Bulldogs also intercepted Henryetta three times as Gabbert had two of those pickoffs which resulted in touchdowns and Jarrett Marks had the other early in the game.
At halftime, JJ Bloomer was in on five tackles and three of those led to lost yards and Jordan Hart had a fumble recovery to help out the Meeker defense. Eight plays run by the Knights in the first half led to negative yardage. Henryetta had just four first downs the entire came and two of those came off Meeker penalties.
On the offensive side of the ball, Martin ran for an 18-yard TD and hooked up with Zach Cook on a 40-yard scoring pass and Cam Holt on a 6-yard scoring aerial. Wolford had touchdown runs of 15, 11 and 1 yards. Martin finished with 53 yards on only three carries and Wolford netted 42 yards on just four attempts.
An interception by Marks on the first series of the game set the stage for an early TD by the Bulldogs. In just three plays, Martin scored off a keeper around left end, giving Meeker a 6-0 advantage with 9:22 left in the first.
The Bulldogs, then controlling the field-advantage battle, took a 12-0 lead on their next possession when Wolford scored from 15 yards out with 6:26 to go in the first.
Meeker upped its advantage to 19-0 with 4:55 left in the first off a 40-yard strike from Martin to Cook asWolford successfully converted the Bulldogs' first PAT of the night.
The Bulldogs weren't through with the scoring splurge in the opening quarter. On two more occasions, the Meeker defense stuffed the Knights again and the result was two for Meeker touchdowns.
Martin passed to Holt for a 6-yard score and Wolford crossed the goal line from 11 yards out as Wolford booted both Bulldog PATs as Meeker led 33-0 through only one quarter.
In the second, Gabbert's two picks for touchdowns were sandwiched around Wolford's 1-yard scoring plunge as the Bulldogs went into the halftime locker room with a 53-0 cushion.
Henryetta finally got on the scoreboard off a safety against primarily Meeker reserves before backup Bulldog quarterback Budgie Cameron connected with Keavin Grady on a 51-yard scoring aerial on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 59-2.
The Knights got their only touchdown off a 53-yard run by Kameron Sisson with just under eight minutes to go.