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High school football: Crooked Oak's Sanardo Ballard comes through in the clutch

Ballard's game-winning extra point in triple overtime propelled the Ruf-Next past Luther, 59-58. He is The Oklahoman's Football Player of the Week.
by Jacob Unruh Published: October 7, 2013

Crooked Oak junior Sanardo Ballard was talking to himself on the sideline Friday night.

Not normally the place-kicker for the Ruf-Nex, Ballard wasn't enjoying himself against Luther, either.

He had missed a few extra points and even missed a field goal in overtime that could have won the game.

But he made the game-winning extra point in triple-overtime to propel Crooked Oak past Luther 59-58 and earn The Oklahoman's Football Player of the Week honor for his performance.

“He was overreacting,” Crooked Oak quarterback Shauntrel Skanes said. “I was sitting back there, and he was talking to himself. I was like, ‘Just calm down. You'll get this field goal.' But he just kept thinking too much and talking to himself.

“The last one, he pulled it through.”

Ballard finished with quite the night, catching six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, throwing a touchdown pass, scoring the two-point conversion that forced overtime and coming up with an interception in overtime.

But that was all overshadowed by his game-winning kick.

Ballard really shouldn't have even been on the field kicking, though.

The Ruf-Nex's kicking duties were muddied early in the season with two kickers quitting — including last year's place-kicker. Jose Zuniga then took over the placekicking duties, while Ballard handled the punting.

However, Zuniga injured his ankle early, and Ballard was forced into action.

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by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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