By Patrick Kays | Images by Michael Kinney
EDMOND – The experience house for the Wagoner soccer staff from Cushing on Oct. seventh was a tough one.
Not a phrase was mentioned.
Prime-ranked Cushing had simply steamrolled the Bulldogs, 42-0, sending them house with a 3-3 document.
From that time on, within the minds of those who comply with Oklahoma highschool soccer, it was formally Cushing’s classification with Wagoner’s “get it again” motto (referencing their 2020 state championship) taking a again seat.
However 57 days later, Ethan Muehlenweg’s 36-yard discipline objective sailed via the uprights, giving Wagoner that gold ball again with a 24-21 victory towards the unbeaten and untested Tigers.
“It needs to be probably the most thrilling victory of my teaching profession,” mentioned Wagoner coach Dale Condict. “The underdog we had been coming into this recreation, realizing we misplaced the primary time 42-0 to beat that. …. I’d rank it proper on the high.”
Previous to the state championship recreation Saturday evening at Chad Richison Stadium, Condict knew they must depend on their 11 seniors. He credited them amidst the Bulldogs’ gold ball presentation surrounded by the Wagoner trustworthy.
“I credit score them a ton,” mentioned Condict. “They weren’t nice in junior excessive soccer. They had been stable, however they only saved preventing and getting higher.
“They’re powerful mentally.”
Psychological toughness was the swagger that Wagoner senior Muehlenweg carried as he gained Wagoner their sixth state championship along with his foot, unfazed by Cushing’s try to ice him.
“They iced me as a result of they knew that I used to be going to make it,” mentioned Muehlenweg. “They knew I used to be simply there.”
Senior operating again Gabe Rodriguez additionally carried that mantra.
With time operating out on Wagoner’s ultimate probability to attain earlier than the tip of regulation, Rodriguez broke free for an 18-yard rush to arrange the game-winner.
Because the staff huddled round Condict, they sang together with the lyrics, ‘And we’ll carry on preventing til the tip,” from Queen’s hit music, “We Are the Champions.”
They took these lyrics to coronary heart, as a result of they did combat till the tip. Even when all odds appeared towards them. For Rodriguez, it was all attributable to resilient teaching.
“Coach Condict was on us about grit,” mentioned Rodriguez. “He was on us continuously and we had been a special staff.”
That shut state of affairs within the fourth was precisely within the recreation plan, in line with Wagoner defensive coordinator Ryan Keenom.
“We talked about all of it week. Let’s simply get it to the fourth quarter,” mentioned Keenom. “This staff has plenty of grit. Lots of grit. We confirmed it (Saturday).”
Senior lineman Roman Garcia completed with two tackles for loss on the day and soaked all of it in with a crown on high of his head. Nonetheless, Garcia appeared to crown Keenom on the distinction from then and now.
“Shoutout to our defensive coordinator. We ran good schemes towards the primary offense in 4A and shut them down within the second half,” mentioned Garcia. “We simply rallied from that loss towards them and confronted the adversity.”
But, in Garcia’s thoughts it was the 42-0 loss that helped help the win on Saturday evening.
“I needed to win this recreation so dangerous due to the humiliation they put us via,” mentioned Garcia. “But when we wouldn’t have misplaced to them, we could not have gained (Saturday).
“We realized methods to repair our issues.”
Ending drives was an enormous problem the Bulldogs resolved between conferences.
That scoring drawback gave Wagoner a goose egg towards Cushing the final time, but it surely wasn’t a lot of a problem this time.
Down 21-7 on a fourth down deep in Cushing territory, a tipped cross that seemed to provide the Tigers possession on a turnover on downs fell into the arms of Bulldog receiver Brayden Skeen for the primary down.
A pair performs later, Wagoner’s sophomore quarterback Kale Charboneau discovered Witt Edwards within the nook of the tip zone with one second left to provide the Bulldogs a much-needed spark on the break.
“The momentum switched,” mentioned Edwards. “After that catch, everybody’s momentum switched. We simply needed to have that momentum change.”
Issues undoubtedly modified for Wagoner.
Not simply in that half, however all season.
Even the experience house.
No one will probably be quiet this time.
“It is gonna be a bunch of Britney Spears,” mentioned Edwards.
“It’s gonna be very loud,” mentioned Rodriguez. “No one will have the ability to sleep. We’re going to have enjoyable.”
Now, they’ll see if Edwards’ rendition of “Oops…I Did It Once more” is value a gold ball. I’m positive it will likely be. Perhaps simply as soon as although.