YUKON — Victories, not style points, get you into the playoffs.
Ugly as it might have been, Midwest City came out on top in a virtual must-win football game to keep its postseason hopes in good shape, defeating Yukon 12-9 Thursday night at Miller Stadium.
Midwest City's stout defense, which has given up more than 21 points only once all year, allowed 194 total yards, while the Bomber offense made just enough plays to close the door on the Millers.
Midwest City had 308 total yards, but nearly a third of it came on one big play, when receiver Anthony Barclay took a short pass in the flat, broke a tackle and raced 87 yards for a touchdown on the Bombers' first possession of the second half. Barclay finished with six catches for 130 yards, and his TD turned out to be the game-winner, with the defense shutting out Yukon the rest of the way.
“The defense has been outstanding all year,” Midwest City coach Darrell Hall said. “They've been the main point of our success. You look at our wins, and they've been ugly, but we've been able to win, and that's the key.”
While the defense was holding strong, Midwest City found the offensive spark it needed to churn down the field and eat up clock, even though it didn't produce anymore points. Senior KeSean Brown, typically used as a receiver, shifted to running back and had 83 yards on 15 carries, all in the second half.
“We have a couple packages where I go to running back, but not that much,” said Brown, who only recently returned from a sprained MCL. “It seemed like the line blocked 100 percent tonight. We needed this win. We're trying to make it to state, so we really needed this win.”
Midwest City improved to 3-2 in District 6A-3 play, currently holding the fourth spot in the standings with Putnam City North in third at 3-1. The Panthers face Norman North on Friday night.
Knowing they needed a win to avoid putting their postseason backs against the wall, the Bombers came into Thursday's game focused on getting turnovers to keep Yukon's offense off the field.
Midwest City had three interceptions, two by Will Sunderland and a crucial one by DeJuan Shaw at the goal line in the third quarter, with the Millers threatening to take the lead.
“Our approach was just to get turnovers, and we did that to win the game,” Sunderland said. “Our offense has struggled sometimes, but we knew if we put it on our defense, we could win the game. And that's what we did.”