MEEKER – The Meeker Bulldogs hope to counter the explosiveness of the Metro Christian Patriots tonight at 7 o'clock in the second round of the Class 2A state football playoffs in Tulsa.
Meeker, 8-3 on the season, will be battling an undefeated Metro Christian squad which is averaging 46.5 points per game and has limited the opposition to nine points or less in six games, including three shutouts.
“They're a very good football team and offensively they're explosive,” said Bulldog head coach DJ Howell. “Their quarterback (Asher Link) is an extremely good football player. He throws the football well and runs it well. Out on the edge they have quite a few playmakers. They do a lot of things which puts you in stress.”
Link, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pounder, has completed 66% of his passes (157-of-237) for 2,742 yards and 35 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. Link has also rushed for 814 yards on just 68 carries while scoring 12 TDs on the ground.
Link's three favorite targets this season have consisted of seniors Carson Callaway (5-10, 175) and Blaze Munoz (6-3), along with junior Derek Sanderson (6-0, 185). Callaway has 40 catches for 931 yards and 12 scores while Munoz has 37 receptions for 905 yards and nine touchdowns. Sanderson has 22 grabes for 267 yards and five TDs.
Also known to get some carries for Metro Christian are junior Levi Korir (5-10, 168) and senior Price Allman (6-2, 180). Korir has 35 carries for 404 yards and five scores and Allman has 234 yards on 35 attempts with four touchdowns.
“We're going to have to play our style of football. It's something that maybe they haven't seen much of this year,” Howell said.
Defensively for the Patriots, Allman has collected 82 tackles, including 43 solo efforts and 13 for lost yards. Junior Cade Gibson (6-1, 160) has totaled 73 tackles, including 35 solo and 13 for minus yardage, with six quarterback sacks and four fumble recoveries.
Senior Andrew Marouk (6-1, 205) has 40 tackles, including 21 solo and 12 for lost yards. He has also recorded two sacks and caused a fumble. Senior Dylan Filak (5-10, 180) has compiled 33 tackles, including 19 solo and 10 for lost yardage. Filak also has two QB sacks and a caused fumble. Callaway tops the team with three interceptions and has also caused one fumble.
“They are very active and move around on defense,” said Howell. “They are sound in their schemes and the get pressure on you at different angles. One thing we will need to do, like we will need to do on offense, is dictate the tempo.”
Meeker is relatively healthy heading into the contest, according to Howell.
“With it being the 12th game, we're obviously going to have a little bit of bruising, but other than that we're healthy,” Howell said.
The Bulldogs enter tonight's game with a pair of 1,000-yard plus rushers in junior Caden Wolford (6-2, 205) and senior Jacob Martin (5-9, 150). Wolford has racked up 1,471 yards on 184 carries (8.1 yards per carry) and scored 22 touchdowns while Martin has totaled 1,026 yards on 197 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and 12 TDs.
Martin has also thrown for 1,202 yards and seven scores. Wolford has also caught seven passes for 126 yards and one touchdown.
In the receiving department for the Bulldogs, senior Dakota Gabbert (5-10, 160) has 30 catches for 225 yards and seven touchdowns and sophomore Zach Cook (6-2, 220) has 14 receptions for 235 yards and a pair of TDs.
On the defensive side of the ball for Meeker, Cook has 45 tackles, including 42 solo-stops, two tackles for lost yards and a pair of quarterback sacks. Junior JJ Bloomer (6-0, 185) has collected 37 tackles, including 33 solo and 10 for lost yards. He also has three quarterback sacks and one pass interception.
Senior Xavier Masquas (6-1, 190) has registered 33 tackles, including 28 solo, with two sacks, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery. Martin has intercepted a team-leading three passes to go with his 29 total tackles (28 unassisted) and sophomore Cam Holt (6-0) has picked off two aerials, recovered two fumbles and recorded a quarterback sack among his 28 tackles (26 solo).