Cleveland fell to Wagoner last Friday in the regular-season finale, but it’s not the end of the trail for the Tigers.
On senior night at Billy Vessels Memorial Stadium, the visiting Bulldogs (8-2 overall, 6-1 District 4A-3) put on a dominant display in a 40-13 victory.
The Tigers, who even with the loss finished fourth in District 4A-3, travel to Poteau this week for the first round of the 4A state playoffs. It’s Cleveland’s first postseason berth since 2013, a game the Tigers lost to Poteau.
Wagoner’s Chochee Watson, who had three touchdowns on Friday, scored with 9:40 left in the first quarter, and with the point-after kick, the score was 7-0. The Bulldogs’ cushion improved to 13-0 after a 24-yard TD pass at the 2:14 mark.
Cleveland (6-4, 4-3) threw an interception on its own 30, and one play later Wagoner found the end zone. A two-point conversion failed for the second try, but Wagoner led 19-0 with 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers’ quarterback, Ben Ward, sneaked in a 1-yard TD after a gritty drive in which Tristen Jackson had a monster leaping catch in double coverage, followed by receptions from Keagen Chapman and Asher Brewer. Brewer and Ward also teamed up to gain yardage in the drive. After a PAT miss, the Tigers trailed 19-6 with 4:33 to halftime.
The Bulldogs scored three unanswered TDs to cruise to a 40-6 advantage midway through the fourth.
Brewer kept grinding and followed a 20-yard run with a 6-yard TD with less than 5 minutes left in the game.
CHS draws Poteau for Round 1 of state playoffs