For every step that Meeker made in Friday night's 22-20 homecoming loss to Okemah, the Panthers were one step ahead.
“We had a lot of opportunities to make a play tonight and we didn't do a good enough job ourselves of avoiding mistakes,” coach DJ Howell said. “When we had the opportunity to make plays, we missed some of them and we also didn't do a good enough job of not having self-inflicted things go wrong.
The Panthers earned good field position to start the game at Meeker's 36-yard-line and quickly went 36 yards on a pass from CD Harjo to Corey Ramsey for a touchdown and conversion on their first play, just 13 seconds into the game.
The play seemed like a one-off anomaly shortly after, as Meeker kept them from getting anything going and a bad punt put the Bulldogs at Okemah's 27. Five plays later, Jacob Martin scrambled 21 yards for Meeker's first touchdown of the game with 6:36 left in the first. A failed conversion kept them from tying.
A blocked punt finished Okemah's next drive to give Meeker the ball at the 35, and Martin connected with Dakota Gabbert for the Bulldogs' second touchdown of the game. Brett Roach ran in the conversion for a 14-8 lead that extended into halftime.
Things didn't go well for Martin to start the second half. The Meeker quarterback was picked off on each of his first two drives and The Panthers tied the game back up at 14.
Martin and Gabbert combined again for a 50-yard catch and run with 3:40 left in the third, but Okemah answered back with a touchdown and conversion to take the lead again and held it for the remainder.
The Bulldogs were never out of the race and had several shot to retake the advantage but were never able to capitalize.
“It's not like we didn't get looks that we wanted tonight, we just didn't do a good enough job on our end of executing. We knew what we were getting, we knew we had opportunities,” Howell said.
Martin finished the game 11-23 for 215 yards with three interceptions, led on the ground with 105 yards and was lead tackler with seven. Dawson Stanberry had five receptions for 97 yards and and Gabbert went 96 yards on four catches with two touchdowns.
Okemah spent the night using trick plays and spreading the ball around on the ground with only eight passes through the course of the contest and only two of those ending in completions. They rushed 34 times for 305 yards and fumbled the ball five times, losing it twice.
“That was their offense. We just didn't get enough stops,” Howell said. “We knew what was coming, bottom line is we didn't do a good enough job of executing and getting them off the field.”
Meeker (1-2) travels to Wewoka next week for a 7:30 kickoff in their final non-district contest.