EDMOND — For a team that had allowed 90 points over the previous three games, Thursday's strong defensive performance brought some much-needed relief for Edmond Santa Fe.
The fourth-ranked Wolves allowed nearly 400 yards, but only two touchdowns in the 26-14 victory over Mustang at Central Oklahoma's Wantland Stadium.
“I think we're finally starting to listen to what our coaches say, and not just go out there and play football our own way,” said senior defensive end Michael Onwuchuruba, who had a crucial fumble recovery when Mustang had driven inside the Santa Fe 5-yard line. “We pulled together, and I'm starting to see more of the unity we had toward the end of last year.
“We're not fully there yet, but I saw the spark.”
Edmond Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen threw for 202 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Dade in the first quarter. Hansen rushed for three TDs as the Wolves improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in District 6A-4.
The 26 points was a season-low with Hansen at quarterback (the Wolves were shut out by Midwest City when Hansen was injured in Week 1), but the offense controlled the ball and helped keep Mustang off the field.
“We used up some clock, which is always nice,” Hansen said. “We didn't play our best game, but we made plays when we needed to.
“The defense got some stops, gave us a short field a couple times. We've got to take advantage of that more often.”
Using a committee of running backs, the Wolves rushed for 152 yards, with Hansen providing 58. Sophomore Darren Williams provided a late spark, rushing for 56 yards on five second-half carries, while both Ke'Marrie Carter-Hartfield and Michael Farmer provided some tough yards as well.
Farmer, who moved over from Edmond North last summer and has been working his way back from a torn ACL late last season, is gradually gaining more playing time. He had two sacks and a fumble recovery from the defensive end position.
Mustang (3-2, 1-1) found some success through the air, with sophomore Chandler Garrett throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-34 passing. But Santa Fe's defense came up big in clutch moments.
The Wolves picked off two passes, recovered two fumbles and forced three turnovers on downs with Mustang inside the Santa Fe 25.
“It's about pride for us,” Onwuchuruba said of the defense. “Not only was it homecoming, but it's another district game, and the momentum of beating a team that is such a good offensive team is just gonna boost us up that much more.”