McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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September 20, 2013

Buffs run away from Zebras

McAlester returns two interceptions for touchdowns



After the Buffs turned back Dustin Basks on fourth-and-2 at their own 11, Wood took his team 84 yards — picking up 56 on one pass to Cade Harkins — downfield before rushing 6 yards for the touchdown and a 28-14 lead with 1:05 left in the first half. Wood finished as the team’s leading rusher, picking up 178 yards on the ground and averaging more than 8 yards per carry.

Wood regularly attacked the Zebras’ defensive line, using his size and strength to drag Claremore defenders behind him as he picked up extra yards. It usually took two or more Zebras to finally drag Wood to the turf.

“They were covering my receivers pretty well on a lot of plays,” Wood said.

“Our run game’s always been pretty good, but being able to work it like that always makes it stronger.”

The Buffs stopped the Zebras on the last drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half, then Smith broke off another 20-yard touchdown run for a 35-14 lead. Brown connected with Basks for a 70-yard touchdown pass late in the third, but Wood found Mason Bumphus for a 60-yard touchdown pass that made it 42-21 with 17 seconds left in the third.

Bumphus dropped the first pass thrown his way Friday night, missing what might’ve turned into a touchdown pass. But Wood went back to Bumphus on the next play and Bumphus hauled it in for 17 yards, converting a fourth-and-6 and setting up Smith’s game-tying first touchdown.

“I run a four-step out, then turn it up the field and go vertical,” Bumphus said of his touchdown reception. “After I dropped that (potential) touchdown pass, I just told myself I had to catch everything, and it was good from there.”

The Zebras moved the ball on the Buffs throughout the game, but they gave away too many possessions to really challenge the Buffs’ lead. Claremore had a third-and-2 situation at the McAlester 22 in the third, but Cade Harkins picked off Brown and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown.

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