‘If we win ugly,we win ugly’
ANADARKO After sleepwalking through the first half with a 7-0 deficit on its back, it was time for Anadarko to wake up.
The Warriors shot up right out of bed to score a touchdown 90 seconds into the second half and did just enough to squeak out a 16-7 win over visiting Purcell Friday night.
"I told them we've been in this position before. We do just well enough to win," Anadarko coach Kent Jackson said. "At halftime, I could tell by our body language and by the things they said that they were fine. We just had to come out in the second half and execute."
And execute the Warriors did to a T no less.
In just four plays, Anadarko marched 74 yards down the field thanks to big back-to-back runs by AJ Davis (77 yards rushing) of 34 and 17 yards before quarterback Damon Teart bounced a run outside for a 22-yard score.
"We told each other in the locker room to keep our heads up and battle the adversity," said running back Cash Novotny, who had 18 carries for 116 yards and a 5-yard touchdown with 2:16 left to ice the game. "We got to start faster pistols firing."
Teart's big run, along with the two-point conversion, gave 'Darko an 8-7 lead its first of the night and the Warriors didn't look back as the defense took over en route to a second half shutout.
The Warriors defense tallied four second half sacks and forced three Purcell turnover on downs in the second half to hold onto a slim lead not extended until the final minutes.
"Our defense played really well tonight. That's about as well as we can play," Jackson said. "We've struggled the last couple games on that end. Defensive confidence is important and we needed some more. We've played well in spurts, but we just need to be more consistent."
Anadarko showed its consistency has improved when its biggest stop of the night came following the offense's touchdown in the third quarter.
The Dragons drove the ball down the field to answer, but on fourth and short, the Warriors stuffed a run for no gain at the 6-yard line to seize complete control of the game.
The win vaults Anadarko (7-2, 4-1 3A-3) into sole position of second place in the district heading into the regular season finale next week against cellar dweller Bridge Creek while shoving Purcell (5-4, 3-2 3A-3) down the district ladder.
"It sure beats fourth last year," Jackson said. "We are in the position we want to be in right now. We just have to stay on the right path. If we win ugly, we win ugly."
Regardless of the outcome, the Warriors have now clinched a home playoff game, one of their goals heading into the season.
"We faced a lot of adversity the first half," Novotny said. "We knew we needed to come out strong in the second half. If we didn't, we weren't going to get the two hole (No. 2 seed) and that's what we wanted."
Anadarko racked up 317 rush yards on 44 carries, good for 7.2 yards per rush, but squandered multiple scoring chances in the second half with a chance to put the game away.
One drive inside Dragon territory late in the third was washed away by back-to-back penalties. The next two offensive drives both resulted in fumbles with 'Darko knocking at the doorstep.