By SHAWN YORKS
• Daily Leader
FORGAN, Okla. — Friday night’s Class C quarterfinal at Loepp Field was a battle of wills. It came down to who would get the first break and be able to capitalize on it.
Turned out to be the Forgan Bulldogs, who downed Helena Timberlake 40-6 to advance to next week’s state semifinals.
Forgan will face Deer Creek-Lamont in a rematch of a Week 7 game that DCLA won 46-8 at Loepp Field in Forgan. The Eagles beat Temple Friday night by a similar 40-6 score. The time and location of the game had not been announced as of Saturday morning.
The difference Friday night was Forgan’s offense establishing its running game, and the defense shutting down Timberlake’s pass-happy offense and shifty quarterback Coy Troutt.
“We just had to stay in our spots where we’re supposed to be, everybody’s got a responsibility,” said head coach Doug Bowles, who has his team in the state semifinals for the second consecutive season. “Everybody has to do their job on defense and take care of their spot. That quarterback, he’s shifty kid and a good runner and we had to try to contain him and the kids did a good job of that for the most part.”
Timberlake (9-3) moved the ball well on its first series of the game, driving from its own 30 to the Forgan 29, mainly thanks to Troutt. The junior QB passed 17 yards to Kedric Jackson to the Forgan 49, then tossed to Stetson Buller for 13 more.
But then the Forgan defense figured things out.
Troutt carried three times for a net gain of three yards, and tossed five yards to Logan Latta as the drive stalled at the Forgan 29.
Forgan (11-1) tried its standard offensive set on its first drive, gaining seven yards before punting it away.
The Tigers again moved the ball well but didn’t have anything to show for it, punting from the Forgan 45 after a 9-play, 35-yard drive stalled.
That’s when the Bulldogs drew first blood.
From their own 17, the Bulldogs picked up a quick 3-yard gain by Matt Morris. Then quarterback Rhett Radcliff took a keeper off right tackle and raced 80 yards to paydirt. His conversion run gave Forgan an 8-0 lead and the momentum, which it never gave up.
“The kids did a great job for the most part and the running game really helped us a lot,” Bowles said.
After Timberlake was in three and out, Forgan fumbled on its next drive when the ball got away from Morris after a nice 6-yard run.
The Forgan defense again stopped the Tigers, and Tanner Jones blocked the ensuing punt for Forgan, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Timberlake 36.
Three plays later, Morris made up for the fumble with a 33-yard touchdown run. Morris took the direct snap, which was a new wrinkle Bowles added to the offense.
“We got in the single wing a little bit and hurt them with the single wing a few times,” Bowles said. “We haven’t used that very often but sometimes when you have to shift over it just creates holes.”
Radcliff’s conversion run made it 16-0 Bulldogs, and the flood gates were opened.
Timberlake gave it up on downs ... one play later, Morris rumbled 75 yards for a touchdown. Andy Fox ran the conversion and Forgan led 24-0.
Timberlake punted ... four plays later, Radcliff raced 34 yards to the end zone. Another Fox conversion run, and Forgan was up 32-0.
That’s seven offensive plays turning into 24 Bulldog points.
The teams settled down in the second half, as Forgan went to a slower ball-control offense.
Timberlake scored on its first offensive series of the second half when Troutt scored from 4 yards out to complete a 64-yard drive.
Forgan’s lone second half score came with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter when Rhett Radcliff passed 29 yards to his brother Ryan.
Forgan gets a chance at some revenge next week against the team that handed the Bulldogs their only loss of the season.
“We’re really excited about it, but it’s going to be tough next week,” Bowles said.