One play from Friday night’s Wagoner Bulldog 12-3 home win over the Grove Ridgerunners could be used as a microcosm of the whole night; at least as far as GHS fans were concerned.
With 1:21 left in the first half WHS quarterback Prince McJunkis hurled a pass to the right sideline. Grove senior defensive back Jake Martin stepped in front of the intended receiver, grabbed an interception and bolted 60 yards untouched for a Ridgerunner touchdown.
Suddenly a 9-3 Wagoner lead was erased and the spark and momentum that had been missing from the Ridgerunner step all night had been delivered.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Martin’s run was called off by the officials for a block in the back penalty. Grove kept possession of the ball but the six points and momentum that the run-back had created were gone.
It was just that kind of night.
To make matters worse GHS starting quarterback Adam Steffenson was injured on the ensuing Ridgerunner possession, sidelined for the remainder of the game.
Wagoner’s McJunkis and wider-receiver / running back Paul Golden helped lead the Bulldogs to 257 total yards and fifteen first downs Friday. Yet for all of their quickness and skill the Grove defense held the pair and their teammates to one touchdown and two field goals.
Conversely the Ridgerunner offense posted 100 total yards and five first downs.
Making good use of a 48-yard field after a strong punt return, the Bulldogs drove 42 yards to the Grove six yard line- 33 yards of that delivered on a halfback pass by Golden- on their first possession of the night.
The Ridgerunner defense then drove back two rushing plays and broke up a McJunkis pass, forcing the Bulldogs to settle for a 23-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 6:38 still to play in the first.
The Wagoner offense returned to the field some two minutes later after a Grove three and out possession. The first snap of the Bulldog drive saw McJunkis picked off by GHS senior Cody Medeiros.
Grove took over possession at the WHS 36-yard line and put together a six-play drive to the 19. From there the march stalled but Ridgerunner senior Walker Botts made good on a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged turnovers early in the second quarter.
The Ridgerunners drove to the Wagoner 33-yard line but a high snap cost the team 10 yards and a fumble just two plays later ended the threat.
Wagoner then drove to the GHS 32-yard line before Grove linebacker Trent Phillips forced and recovered a fumble, turning the Bulldogs away.
With 7:29 left in the first half Wagoner built a 10-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a McJunkis touchdown rush from two yards out.
GHS junior Bobby Harris tipped the Bulldog PAT to make it a 9-3 game with a little over two minutes until halftime.
The Ridgerunners punted on their ensuing possession which then led to the Martin interception and call-back. With less than 40 seconds remaining in the half Steffenson was hit as he attempted a pass. The officials ruled the play a fumble but even worse, the sophomore was injured on the play and spent the rest of the night on the sideline.
A Grove fumble early in the second half gave Wagoner possession at the Ridgerunner 23-yard line.
The Bulldogs drove to the six-yard line before an illegal procedure penalty and some tough GHS defense forced WHS to settle for a 29-yard field goal, in what would turn out to be the final score of the night.
Late in the third the Ridgerunner punting unit appeared to have pinned Wagoner down inside their own five yard line. But a false start penalty on Grove meant a re-kick and this time the Bulldogs took possession at their own 22.
From there WHS marched to the Grove fifteen-yard line, eating up the final minute and a half of the third and close to four minutes of the fourth.
Once again the Grove defense came up with a big play in the red-zone. This time junior Brody Scott snared an interception in the end zone on a third and six play.
Trailing by nine and setting up shop at their own 20-yard line with 8:18 left to play the Grove offense put together a drive that saw them convert two third down situations and overcome a quarterback sack to advance out to their own 45. A fourth and six spot from there, with 3:59 remaining, ended the drive as Wagoner came up with an interception.
The Bulldog offense then ran out the clock.
The Ridgerunners end their non-district schedule this Friday with their home-opener against rivals Miami. The Wardogs (0-2) fell to Jay 41-7 Friday. Kickoff at Ridgerunner Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
GROVE RIDGERUNNERS V WAGONER BULLDOGS
September 11, 2009 @ W.L. Odom Stadium
GHS (1-1) 3, WHS (2-0) 12
1 2 3 4 F
GHS 3 0 0 0 3
WHS 3 6 3 0 12
TEAM STATS GHS WHS
RUSHING YARDS 75 144
PASSING YARDS 25 113
TOTAL YARDS 100 257
PENALTIES 7-70 3-12
TURNOVERS 4 4
FIRST DOWNS 5 15
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG
Maples 17 79 6.5
Bartley 4 13 3.5
Team 6 (17)
RECEIVING REC YDS AVG
Leach 3 15 5.0
Martin 3 6 2.0
Phillips 1 4 4.0
PASSING CMP ATT YDS AVG INT
Maples 4 6 20 5.0 1
Steffenson 3 8 5 2.6
KICKING PAT ATT FG FGA LNG
Botts 0 0 1 1 37
TEAM STATS GHS OPP
RUSHING YARDS 309 173
PASSING YARDS 166 180
TOTAL YARDS 475 353
PENALTIES 19-185 6-32
TURNOVERS 5 8
FIRST DOWNS 20 24
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG TD
Maples 34 241 7.0 2
Bartley 10 29 2.9 1
A. Steffenson 14 22 1.5
B. Steffenson 8 25 3.1
Leach 1 11 11.0
Phillips 1 3 3.0
RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD
Martin 5 44 8.8 1
Leach 3 15 5.0
Maples 2 43 21.5 1
Leffel 2 40 20.0
Medeiros 2 16 8.0
Phillips 2 12 6.0
PASSING CMP ATT YDS TD INT
A. Steffenson 13 25 146 2 0
Maples 4 6 20 0 1
KICKING PAT ATT FG FGA LNG
Botts 4 5 1 1 37