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Washington builds big halftime lead in win at Vian in showdown between 2A contenders

Warriors hold off late Wolverines rally to post 39-24 win.

By Patrick Kays  

VIAN — Focus and consistency seemed to be something that frustrated 2A No. 1 Washington as the Warriors fought off a clawing fourth-ranked Vian team in the second half.

In the Warriors' postgame huddle in front of a scoreboard that favored them 39-24, head coach Brad Beller gave a message to not be disappointed, but look to be better.

"I think it is the end result and not just the game," said Beller. "I wanted to make sure that we captured not playing well in the second half and say that needs to be our driving force to not let that happen again and we can be better."

With the help of a suffocating rush defense in the first half that limited the Vian rushing attack to only 25 yards on 18 carries, the Warriors mustered a 26-0 lead at the break.

Hayden Milner was huge in those efforts as he dominated the line of scrimmage and laid down some massive hits that got the crowd excited. He focused on the difference in execution in the two halves following the contest.

“In the first half, we were solid on defense. We were keeping them contained and not letting them get out because of their speed," said Milner. “They are fast guys; we had to keep them contained.

"We did a great job of that in the first half, but we came out in the second half in a lull."

Down 33 points following an opening drive for Washington that ended with a Major Cantrell touchdown pass to tight end Nate Roberts early in the third, Vian’s Desean Mays took advantage of that defensive lull and set up the Wolverines with a 62-yard run that went from one sideline to another. Gage Carlton got Vian on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run three plays later.

A few seconds after the Vian touchdown horn sounded, Washington’s Cage Morris took the kickoff 70 yards to make it 39-6.

However, that didn’t slow down Vian, which would score on the next three offensive possessions.

"We just need to get better on that," said Milner.

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The late Vian rally, led by the running back duo of Mays & freshman Masyn Wright, as well as the terrific three-sack performance from Carlton, got the score to 39-24 on a blazing-fast 60-yard touchdown pass to Mays from quarterback Diego Ramos.

Unfortunately, the first-half Washington rally was too much to overcome and Vian fell to 0-1, thanks in part to Cantrell and Morris.

After forcing Vian to punt on the third drive of the game, Cantrell opened the scoring on the first play of the Warrior drive when he found Morris wide open in the middle of the field, cashing in a 58-yard touchdown with 6:26 left in the first.

On the Warriors' next offensive possession, following a three-and-out from Vian, Cantrell found space and gashed the Wolverines with a 25-yard touchdown run, just outside three minutes to play in the opening quarter to give the Warriors a 12-0 lead.

"We really relied on our preparation," said Cantrell. "We came out excited and worked hard."

The Warriors added two more scores before the break in a 12-yard barreling touchdown run by Cole Scott and a 1-yard score from Kade Norman to head into the break.

Beller starts off his 2022 campaign 1-0. He discussed what it will take to get back to the state championship game, a season after the Warriors lost to Marlow for the 2A title.

"We have to be more consistent," he said. "More consistent offensively and defensively.

"Not give up the big play. Not have the busted blocking scheme or run play. If we do that, we will give us a chance to get right back there."

Cantrell is confident that will come.

"We are ready to fix it and we are ready for the challenge," said Cantrell. "That's what championship teams do."

Vian will hit the road to face Eufaula on Sept. 2, while Washington will play host to Sulphur that same night.