EDMOND – As the clock flushed to 5 minutes left in the third quarter Friday night, it seemed that the last team to score would ultimately win the opening round playoff game between Oklahoma Christian Academy and Healdton.

EDMOND –  As the clock flushed to 5 minutes left in the third quarter Friday night, it seemed that the last team to score would ultimately win the opening round playoff game between Oklahoma Christian Academy and Healdton.

Just a minute later,  the Eagles extended their lead to 41-27 over the Healdton Bulldogs for the second two-possession score of the evening for either side.  

The Bulldogs never recovered from this deficit, allowing the Eagles to secure the 48-34 victory at Edmond Memorial High School in the opening round of the Class A playoffs

The Bulldogs finish the season with an overall record of 8-3.

OCA opened with a risky onside kick. 

Devin Chancellor fell on the kick and the Bulldogs took over near Eagle territory.  

Dalton Gillihan scored first for the Bulldogs on a 36-yard dash up the right sideline.  

OCA, however, responded quickly, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.

A missed extra point from the Eagles allowed Healdton to hold a 7-6 lead just two minutes into the game.

The Eagles scored again with 5:43 left in the first quarter and got the 2-point conversion for a 14-7 lead.

Gillihan and the Bulldogs scored again on a 6-yard push across the goal-line.  

The Eagles blocked Healdton’s extra point attempt this time to hold a 14-13 lead over the Bulldogs.

On the following drive, the Eagles picked up 32 yards on a pass play, their first of the game, to enter the redzone.  

Just a few plays later, OCA reached the end-zone on a 4-yard run.  

An unsuccessful conversion gave the Eagles a 20-13 lead with 10:43 remaining in the second quarter.

Again, Healdton answered.  

On their first play from scrimmage following the OCA kickoff, Gillihan took the ball 65 yards for the touchdown, leaving 11 Eagle tacklers behind him on the trip.  

Luis Buchwald’s extra point sailed between the uprights and the game stood at a stalemate at 20-20 with 10:30 left to go in the first half.

“It was a heck of a ball game, trading touchdowns in the first half just back-and-forth, back-and-forth,” Healdton coach Mark Barrett said. 

“We could just never get that lead or that two-touchdown pad that they had.”

Healdton attempted an onside kickoff  on the ensuing kick off, but it unforunately fell out of bounds, allowing the Eagles to take over at the 35.

“We knew that they had some good return guys, so we went for some of those onside kicks,” Barrett said.  “We knew they were going to return it to midfield.  We knew that if we did an onside kick, we’d at least have an opportunity to get on it and get the ball.”

The Eagles instead drove down the field again and scored on a quarterback draw from seven yards out.  

After the successful point-after, OCA was up 27-20 with nine minutes remaining in the half.

Healdton answered by driving the ball down the field again, this time with the aid of a 48-yard gain on the ground from sophomore Josh Harvey.  

The Bulldogs faced third-and-goal two plays later on the 10-yard line.  As quarterback Denton Miller attempted to pitch the ball into the backfield, he was struck on his side, causing the pitch to be mishandled, resulting in a fumble which was recovered by OCA.

“That’s killer.  You’ve got to score when you get in the redzone,” Miller said about the fumble.  

OCA would score on the following play on an 89-yard dash across the field to go up 34-20.

The Bulldogs persevered, however, driving down the field after the ensuing kickoff and scoring on a 38-yard run from Colton Pickelsimer.  

The Buchwald extra point put Healdton back within seven points of the Eagles at 34-27.

With 3:05 left in the half, OCA received the kickoff and went back to work.

The Eagles reached the redzone with under a minute in the half, but a sack from Matt Choate put the Eagles back 18 yards.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the brief momentum shift as Gilliham recovered an Eagle fumble and progressed to the OCA 12-yard line on the following play.  

Unfortunately, the Eagles defense wasn’t in a giving mood, as they picked off a pass from Miller to end the first half.

In the third quarter, both teams struggled to find the end zone.

A 70-yard punt from Gilliham pinned the Eagles on their own 5-yard line.  

OCA took its time to reach the endzone, eating nearly five minutes from the clock on a 95-yard scoring drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to put OCA up 41-27.

OCA would score again, going up 48-27 in the fourth quarter.

A 42-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Pickelsimer late in the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs a consolation score to end the game.

Gillihan finished with seven carries for 126 yards to lead the Bulldogs, while Josh Harvey ran the ball 10 times for 70 yards.

Miller finished 8-of-17 passing with two interceptions and one touchdown for 86 yards.

“I’m proud of the way these kids played,” Barrett said. “OCA has several good athletes with a lot of speed. For us to go in their backyard and play this type of game says a lot about this program.

“I’m going to miss these seniors,” Barrett added. “They’ve been with me since seventh grade and they are the foundation of this program.”