EDMOND — If it was a race to make the most big plays, it would be hard to pick a winner between Edmond Memorial's defense or its star running back, Warren Wand.
But either way, the scoreboard showed the combination produced a 33-3 victory for the ninth-ranked Bulldogs over Choctaw at Central Oklahoma's Wantland Stadium Thursday night.
Wand worked his magic with highlight-reel runs, piling up 279 yards on 25 carries with touchdown runs of 25, 58, 7 and 37.
The closest Choctaw got to slowing down the elusive junior was tearing his jersey in the third quarter. He finished the game wearing No. 23 rather than his usual No. 6.
“It is gone. Never gonna wear that one again,” Wand said with a laugh. “We got off to a good start, and the line blocked really well. I tried to stay as patient as I could and hit the holes. The line led me very well. I went where they went.”
The Bulldog defense, which has now allowed 21 points or fewer to five of its seven opponents, came four minutes from its second shutout of the year.
The defensive front accounted for eight quarterback sacks, and with the help of a couple bad shotgun snaps by Choctaw, gave up only 25 rushing yards. Yellowjackets quarterback Jonah Llanusa threw for 226 yards, and the offense moved well at times, but couldn't get into the red zone.
Who was the star for the Bulldog defensive front? Take your pick. The secondary was solid in coverage, while the front seven stuffed the run and crashed the pocket around Llanusa all night.
You can't single one guy out,” Memorial coach Justin Merideth said. “Across the board, our defensive line played really well tonight. We knew coming into the year that our D-line could be a strength for us, and tonight, they definitely were. They were able to get a lot of pressure without us having to blitz a whole lot. Anytime you can do that, it's gonna help you out in coverage.”
The win improves Memorial's District 6A-4 record to 3-1 — and any victory in 6A's deepest district is valuable. Five teams from the district have been ranked in The Oklahoman's top 10 at one point this season, while a sixth (Mustang) hasn't been too far outside the poll.
“It's like the SEC,” Merideth said. “There are no easy wins. Every week, you better come ready to play. Our kids really understand what that means.
“In this district, any win is a good win — any win.”