By Jon Watje
The Minco Bulldogs control their own destiny after a huge 22-20 win at Wayne on Friday.
Both Minco and Wayne came into the game undefeated in the district.
“This game had a playoff atmosphere and got a lot of attention,” said Coach Brock Wardlaw. “It was fun for our kids and they played very hard.”
Both teams failed to score any points in the first quarter.
Wayne scored first early in the second quarter to go up, 7-0.
Minco’s Tucker Halstead would break free for a 65-yard run later in the second quarter. The Bulldogs converted a two-point conversion to take the lead, 8-7.
“We have not been very good at kicking extra points this season,” Wardlaw said. “So we changed our philosophy and decided that we would go for two every time we scored now.”
Wayne would storm right back with two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-8 lead.
“They ran the ball right at us and did a very good job at it,” Wardlaw said. “We made some mistakes and turned the ball over to give them good field position.”
Minco turned the ball over twice with two interceptions that put Wayne in good scoring position and they would take advantage of it.
Wayne led Minco, 20-8, at halftime.
“At the half, I told my kids that we have been through this before,” he said. “We were in the exact same situation in our game against Wynnewood. I just told them to play with heart and to play
for each other.”
The Bulldogs came out and played much better on both sides of the ball. Minco got its passing game going in the second half, which was freed up by its strong running game.
“They started stacking guys in the box and we were able to pass the ball better than we usually have,” Wardlaw said.
Minco constructed some good drives and Halstead would score his second touchdown on a five-yard run in the third quarter. Minco converted another two-point conversion to make it a 20-16 game.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored again on 10-yard run from Halstead with six minutes left in the game to put Minco in the lead, 22-20. But the game was far from over.
Wayne drove the ball down the field, but was forced to punt to Minco. The Bulldogs wen three-and-out, leaving Wayne one more chance to score with about two minutes left.
Minco sophomore Jorge Carballo had the play of the game for the Bulldogs as he intercepted a pass to put the game away.
“Our defense played great,” Wardlaw said. “We forced three turnovers in the second half and that was big.”
Halstead finished the game with 20 carries, 128 yards and three touchdowns. Shannon Williams was 8 of 17 passing with 160 yards.
Minco is now 4-0 in district play and have two games left. They will host OCA on Friday, who is 3-1 in district play.
“OCA can still win district if they beat us and Wayne so the pressure will be on us to win on Friday,” Wardlaw said.