VERDIGRIS - Wyandotte dominated Verdigris in every phase of the football game Friday night except the most important one.
In a cruel and misunderstanding twist of fate, the Bears end their 2007 high school football season after falling to the Cardinals 10-3 in first -round Class 2A football playoff action.
Heading into the game Wyandotte wanted to control the clock and keep from turning over the football. The Bears did that.
They also wanted to keep the spread passing offense of the Cardinals off the field by establishing a time consuming run game. The Bears did that.
But, you still have to put points on the board when you have the chance and the Bears did not do that.
Wyandotte outgained the Cardinals 303-226 in total yards and held a 18-10 advantage in first downs.
The Bear defense stuffed the Cardinals running game holding them to 36 yards rushing on the night.
They held high-powered Aarron Sunday and the Verdigris passing game to just 190 yards, which included a first quarter 88-yard touchdown pass (the only six-pointer scored on the night).
Wyandotte also dominated the game clock possessing the football nearly twice as much as Verdigris (31 minutes to 16).
But it was the first time all season the Bears did not cross the goal line.
Wyandotte had chances to score, but could not convert in the red zone (inside the Cardinals' 20-yard line).
The Bears marched from their own 21 to the Verdigris 12 in 16 plays on their first possession of the game, but a motion penalty and a 4-yard loss on fourth down ended the threat.
The Cardinals took the momentum from the defensive stop and looked to Sunday who threw a 88-yard TD strike on the game's next play for a 7-0 lead with 1:06 left in the opening quarter.
Wyandotte fumbled the kick-off return, giving the ball back to the Cardinals at the Bear 30. But the Wyandotte defense stopped the scoring opportunity when Jon Vandenburg pounced on a Cardinal fumble at the Bear 1-yard line.
Wyandotte moved the ball out from its goal line and was forced to punt. The Cardinals gained possession at the Bear 41 and moved the football down to the WHS 24, where the Cardinals connected on a 34-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead at the half.
The Bears had a nine-play opening second half drive stall on a fourth down try at the Cardinals' 49 before Brant Clapp stopped a VHS drive with a pass interception to get the ball back for the Bears with 4:51 to play in the third.
Wyandotte marched the ball down to the Cardinals' 31 in 10 plays, but again the Verdigris defense stiffened holding the Bears to another failed fourth down try with 18 seconds left in third period.
Following a Verdigris punt, Wyandotte closed the Cardinal lead to seven points as the Bears mustered a late game rally. Clapp capped a 5:28 drive with a 23-yard field goal at the 4:00 mark of the final quarter.
The Bears held the Cardinals to three-and-out and took over at their own 23 with 2:45 to play in the game.
Wyandotte quarterback Jeff Martin hit wide receiver Brandon Raple with a 31-yard gain to move the ball to the 49 before a 9- yard run by Tyler Buckallew and a facemask penalty moved the ball to the Cardinal 37 with just over a minute to play.
Martin scrambled for a 17-yard gain down to the VHS 20 on the next play giving the Bears a shot at finding the end zone and possibly tying the game.
With no time outs left, the Bears tried a running play with Lewis gaining four yards to the Cardinal 16. Martin followed with a pass to Clapp in the end zone and the wide receiver almost made a catch at the front of the end zone but the ball fell to the ground stopping the clock.
A screen pass to Lewis was stopped for a yard loss on third down and with the clock moving toward the 10 second mark the Bears had to get to the line of scrimmage and look at one last play on fourth down.
Martin got the snap and lofted a pass to Buckallew in the right end zone but the ball was just out of Buckallew's reach allowing the Cardinals to escape with the win.
Lewis had another strong running effort in the loss. The senior ran the ball 38 times for 203 yards, but was held out of the end zone for the first time this season. Lewis ended the season with 1,735 yards and 25 TDs.
Wyandotte closes the year with a 8-3 record after marks of 2-8 and 3-7 the previous two seasons.
Verdigris (8-3) moves on to second round play and takes on Class 2A No. 4 Henryetta Friday.