Bethany de­feats Weather­ford in first round of Class 4A play­offs

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - BY JAMES POLING

BETHANY — Weather­ford and Bethany keep meet­ing in what has be­come an un­likely re­cur­ring matchup in the Class 4A play­offs first round.

And un­for­tu­nately for Weather­ford coach Rea­gan Roof, his for­mer quar­ter­back Fri­day kept him win­less in the se­ries.

Sam Brandt con­trolled both sides of the ball in the third con­sec­u­tive play­off meet­ing be­tween the two schools as Bethany de­feated Weather­ford 38-13 at South­ern Nazarene Uni­ver­sity on Fri­day.

Brandt fin­ished with five to­tal touch­downs and, from his safety po­si­tion, two sec­ond-half in­ter­cep­tions that killed any op­por­tu­nity Weather­ford had to re­gain mo­men­tum in what was a one-score game at half­time.

Fri­day po­ten­tially con­cludes a triad of play­off games be­tween the two schools. Bethany won at Weather­ford 35-21 in 2017, and Weather­ford de­feated Bethany 35-0 in 2016.

Roof coached Brandt and his se­nior team­mates as Bethany’s coach in 2016 be­fore he was hired as Weather­ford’s coach in 2017, adding to the back­drop of the ri­valry.

“It’s tough play­ing against him be­cause I still love him, and I know he still cares for me,” Brandt said. “He’s a great guy all-around. It’s tough to play him, but also nice to get a W against him as well.”

Brandt opened scor­ing with a 2-yard run on Bethany’s sec­ond pos­ses­sion. Weather­ford an­swered im­me­di­ately with the high­light of the night. Ethan Downs, a con­verted de­fen­sive line­man into a wild­cat-for­ma­tion quar­ter­back, rum­bled 63 yards in Mar­shawn Lynch-es­que style as he ran over four Bethany de­fend­ers and then broke the tack­les of two more as he ran down the far side­line.

Mo­men­tum swung in Bethany’s fa­vor im­me­di­ately be­fore half­time. Fac­ing third-and-goal with less than 10 sec­onds re­main­ing in the half, Brandt threw to an open Jor­dan Flin­ton for a 9-yard score. The touch­down, which gave Bethany a 13-7 lead, oc­curred a play af­ter a Bethany re­ceiver dropped a screen pass that would have been tack­led in bounds and ended the half with the clock run­ning.

Brandt, who threw for 179 yards, made the game-defin­ing pass early in the fourth quar­ter. Lead­ing 19-13 and fac­ing fourth-and-6 from the Weather­ford 31, Brandt ran play ac­tion, bought time in the pocket and threw a soft lob pass over the mid­dle to run­ning back Ja­cob Kyle, who ran un­touched for the touch­down.

“I was read­ing the safety and wait­ing to see what he would do,” Brandt said. “He tried to slow play me a bit, but I was able to drop it off to Ja­cob and make a play.”

Brandt, back on de­fense, then in­ter­cepted Weather­ford quar­ter­back Jaxon Rat­ter­ree on the next play from scrim­mage.

The win was Bethany’s first home play­off win since 2010. It will play Wagoner in next Fri­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal.

Bethany’s Sam Brandt leaps past Weather­ford’s Car­son Young to score a touch­down dur­ing Fri­day’s Class 4A foot­ball play­off game be­tween Bethany and Weather­ford in Bethany. Bethany won, 38-13. [PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

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