EDMOND — Edmond Memorial defensive back Hunter Dawson made a new best friend at halftime Friday night.
The locker room trash can.
Thirty seconds before halftime, Dawson intercepted a Mustang pass 6 yards deep in the Bulldogs' own end zone. Weaving through traffic, Dawson took the pick all the way back for a touchdown that jumpstarted Memorial's 38-7 blowout of the Broncos in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs at Wantland Stadium.
Afterward, Dawson barely had the stamina to get back across the field to the Bulldogs' sideline.
"During halftime, I just sat by the trash can. Listening to coach (Justin Merideth) the whole time, just sitting by the trash can," Dawson said. "I normally wouldn't admit it, but I'm going to — I threw up a little bit. But that's what was needed. I felt great after that."
Dawson's interception return was the biggest of several big plays by the Bulldogs, who will travel to face No. 1-ranked Jenks in the second round next week. Edmond Memorial had three other first-half takeaways, including a fumble recovery on its own 1-yard line as Mustang's Daniel Farrow appeared to be heading in for a first-quarter touchdown.
Mustang's powerful offense was held to 250 yards and a season-low seven points.
"We knew they had a good defense coming in," Mustang coach Ty Prestidge said of the Bulldogs. "They got after us. Shut down just about everything we did. You've got to play with emotion, and we had zero tonight."
On the other side, the Bulldogs' emotions were peaking. Despite being the higher seed, they were viewed by many as an underdog.
"We heard all the news saying that their offense was better than our defense," Memorial linebacker Adrian Shoecraft said. "We came out here and held them to seven points — probably one of the best offenses we've seen all year. We did a good job containing them."
The Memorial offense can't be forgotten. Quarterback Kameron Doolittle had 105 rushing yards and three touchdowns. D'Juan Brooks added 111 yards rushing. While the 38 points — Memorial had scored 39 points combined the last three weeks — and 277 rushing yards might have been a surprise to Mustang, it wasn't to Merideth.
"We knew all year long that if we executed, didn't make bad mistakes and hit the hole where we were supposed to hit it, we'd have a chance to have a really good running game," Merideth said. "This time, it clicked and we did all those things."