Lowe likes Sallisaw’s chances against No. 1 Wagoner Friday

Wagoner is the top ranked team in Class 4A football.

The 10-0 Bulldogs are Sallisaw’s second-round Class 4A football playoff opponent. The game will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Wagoner High School.

“When you go play the No. 1 team in Oklahoma, it’s not a special game plan. We aren’t going to take some magic pill and turn into Superman. We just have to go play better than we have been. We are capable of beating anybody,” Sallisaw coach Randon Lowe said.

The Black Diamonds, Lowe said, are a physical football team. The players need to be more physical than Wagoner. Sallisaw must be excited to play, win the explosive play battle and eliminate mistakes, Lowe said.

Wagoner had a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Sallisaw defeated Oologah-Talala 31-7 at Perry F. Lattimore Stadium in their postseason opener on Nov. 13.

The Black Diamonds rushed for 341 yards on 51 carries against Oologah. Running back Pason Dotson rushed for 148 yards and two touchdown against the Mustangs. One of the TDs came on a 41-yard run. Isiah Blalock run for 96 yards on 13 carries. Blalock missed the season finale against Stilwell with an injury. Ce’alm Kilpatrick moved to running back this fall. He rushed for 34 yards on three carries against Oologah.

“Pason has been our steady No. 1 all year. Isiah has been in-andout with issues. Ce’alm Kilpatrick is coming. He is a sophomore and had never played running back before. We needed some depth and put him back there. He is going right now. He is seeing it and starting to look pretty good doing it,” Lowe said.

Freshman Ashton Foster is improving, too, Lowe said.

“We have a freshman, two sophomores and a junior at running back. … I like the way all of them are carrying the football right now,” Lowe said.

Wagoner will be a test for the Sallisaw offense.

The Bulldogs defense has held opponents to an average of 47 yards rushing and 61 yards passing through 10 games. The defense also has held foes to an average of 4.6 points per game.

The defense has recorded 350 solo tackles — 61 for loss. It has 14 interceptions and scored seven touchdowns.

“They fly around on defense. Defensively, they run to the football with a great amount of effort. They can run,” Lowe said.

The defense is led by Texas Tech commit Isaac Smith. Nunu Clayton also makes a lot of tackles from his linebacker position.

Wagoner’s offense has scored 59 touchdowns in 10 games. The Bulldogs average 47 points per game.

They have rushed for 3,017 yards on 414 attempts. Wagoner has 77 pass completions for 1,185 yards.

Braden Drake is Wagoner’s leading rusher. In the season finale against Skiatook, Drake rushed for 110 yards on 19 carries.

Senior Sawyer Jones is a three-year starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs. He is a dualthreat quarterback. Against Skiatook, he completed 9-of-13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a TD.

Wagoner advanced to the Class 4A semifinals in 2019 before losing to eventual state champion Poteau.

The Bulldogs goal this season is a state title. Wagoner has recorded seven undefeated regular seasons in the past 11 years.

“They are really good football team,” Lowe said.

Wagoner isn’t invincible. “We have to be very comfortable in our game plan. We need to believe in our game plan and believe in all the work you put in to go make you succeed,” Lowe said.

Sequoyah County Times

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