By MATT LEMIEUX
• Daily Leader
SHARON-MUTUAL, OKLA. — For the second consecutive week the No. 2 Forgan Bulldogs found themselves travelling east for another District C-1 game against an improving Sharon-Mutual Trojan team that most expected would be a lopsided win for the Dawgs.
Instead, Forgan escaped with a 14-8 come-from-behind win.
To fans attending the game and around the area sounding off on the radio waves one message rang clear, and it was one of complete shock. The question that kept coming up from callers and the hosts of Friday Night Quick Scores on the night was, what in the world happened on that football field?
What happened was that Forgan came 3:16 and a couple of final defensive stands away from the taste of defeat and a big time Class C upset. Trailing 8-0 after a scoreless first half and a late third quarter 14 yard touchdown run by Sharon’s Cody Cottom, the Dawgs were in a bind.
Facing a second and six the Forgan went deep when Matt Morris out-ran tight coverage to settle underneath a perfectly thrown pass from Rhett Radcliff for a 42-yard touchdown pass and 8-6 score with 3:16 remaining in the game. But the pressure was still there, and with the game on the line the Bulldogs couldn’t settle for anything less than a successful two-point conversion to tie the game up and stay alive. Again the Bulldogs went to Morris around the left end to find the end zone and knot the game at 8-8, but with time remaining on the clock. The defense stepped up when needed most of the night and did so again when the Trojans began the final drive of regulation at their own 42. The defense took a stand and Forgan gained the ball back with one second left in the game. After Radcliff took a knee, the game went to overtime.
Forgan lost the coin toss and took the ball with a first and goal at the 10 yard line. Radcliff ran for five, and on a second and five Forgan lined up in an eight-man version of the wildcat formation. With the snap going to Morris and a fake pitch to Radcliff, Morris ran up the middle untouched to put the Bulldogs up 14-8. The extra point attempt failed, so the Bulldogs left the fate of the game in the hands of the defense.
The Trojans had a false start on the opening attempt from the 10, setting up a first and 15. After stuffing the first down rush, on second and 15 Morris showed up again, intercepting the pass in the endzone and preserving a 14-8 win for the Bulldogs.
Most of Forgan’s problems came on first down through the night. Time and again the Dawgs found themselves in a first and 15, first and 20, and many times first and 25. Those situations were almost overcome only to end a yard or inches short of a first down. Forgan seemed destined to start drives in a hole throughout the night. At the end of the night penalty yardage would end up being not much different, but timing was everything.
Sharon-Mutual came to that field to play and are a team improving each and every week. The Trojans played perhaps their best game of the year, and Forgan really didn’t look like Forgan. Sharon was by far the most physical team the Bulldogs have played this year, and will continue to improve. Yes, more physical than Class B Canton, Waynoka, and even now No. 3 Shattuck. Forgan accomplished what it had to do — get out alive, undefeated, and remain on top of the Class C-1 District standings. With No. 1 DCLA coming to Forgan next week, it would be easy to consider that the Bulldogs might have been looking ahead, but one thing is clear, Sharon-Mutual was not looking ahead and stayed focused.
The Bulldogs did what good teams do, answered back even when things weren’t going quite as expected.
Tanner Jones had 16 tackles, Matt Morris accounted for 15 with Taylor Eagan and Ryan Radcliff pitching in 11 each. Rhett Radcliff ran for 128 yards rushing and passed for 81, with Morris accounting for 80 yards rushing and receiving.
Forgan (6-0, 5-0 District) will host No.1 DCLA next Friday night while the Trojans (3-3, 2-2 District) will travel to Goodwell.