Run the ball, stop the run
MARLOW - Anadarko football is known for two things: stopping the run and pounding the rock.
The Warriors did both of those things well Friday night, but still had to overcome a disastrous start to the second half to fend off Dawson Huddleston and Marlow, 34-26.
"I told them it didn't have to be pretty tonight," Anadarko head coach Kent Jackson said. "We just needed to win. We'll take it. It's the biggest win that these guys have had in their careers because it's for two-hole in the playoffs."
It was pretty for the first 30 minutes of the game. Four times Anadarko had the ball and four times Anadarko scored in the first half.
Usually a 28-7 halftime deficit against Anadarko (5-2, 2-1) is "Goodnight, thanks for coming!"
Marlow (2-5, 1-2) wouldn't let that be the case thanks to a few breaks.
The first came on the opening kick of the second half. The plan was for the Warriors' Ryan Pollard to squib the ball, instead it went right into the arms of an Outlaw at his own 49. A 38-yard scramble by Will Coffman set Marlow inside Anadarko's 10. A couple plays later Coffman tossed a fade to 6-4 Dawson Huddleston for a TD to cut the lead. It was Huddleston's second of three TD grabs on the night.
Braeden Borden fumbled the ensuing kickoff after being crunched twice. Marlow recovered at Anadarko's 24. Two plays later, Tag Allen took an end around 22 yards to the house and Anadarko led by just seven.
"It was like we were snake-bitten," Jackson said. "We played so well in the first half and really only gave up one play. We didn't kick the ball off like we were supposed to, gave them a short field and then dropped the next kickoff. It was just something we needed to play through."
Finally feeling good about themselves, the Outlaws forced Anadarko's first punt of the night. That was the last break Marlow got. The returner was hit hard after catching the punt and fumbled. Marlow recovered at its own two, but quickly punted it back to Anadarko.
Facing 3rd and five, Anadarko's Damon Teart rolled to his right looking to pass. Feeling the heat, he dumped the ball out of bounds, which is intentional grounding in high school. That should have killed the drive, except that he was horse-collared during the tackle.
The offsetting penalties meant a new down, and Anadarko made the most of its second-chance as Teart hit Cash Novotny on a screen and the sophomore took it 42 yards for a touchdown. The Warriors were back up 13.
"That was a big (sequence)," Jackson said.
The teams traded punts before Marlow took over at its own nine and marched 91 yards in six minutes to cut the lead to six thanks to another fade to Huddleston for a touchdown. He caught it over Novotny, who had position. It was Huddleston's second highlight-reel catch of the drive as he made a leaping grab over two defenders on 3rd and long for 37 yards.
The senior caught six passes for 118 yards and three scores. Jackson had been worried about him before the season even started.