EDMOND — Wagoner kicker Ethan Muehlenweg had his chance to be the hero in the Class 4A state championship.
With the game tied in the final seconds, Wagoner had the ball on the Cushing 19 and turned to Muehlenweg to step into the spotlight and deliver.
The senior did just that.
Muehlenweg made a 36-yard field goal as time expired to give the second-ranked Bulldogs a 24-21 victory against No. 1 Cushing on Saturday night at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium. With the victory, Wagoner claimed its sixth state title and first since 2020.
Wagoner utilizes a two-kicker system.
Coach Dale Condict believed Muehlenweg could best handle the pressure and decided to lean on his veteran.
“He fought back from a really bad knee injury last year that he had the first game of the year,” Condict said.
“Had to have a couple of surgeries and go through a whole lot to rehab back to be able to play tonight. So I was just so proud as a senior and a great young man, great student that he was able to have that moment.”
Despite losing to Cushing 42-0 on Oct. 7, Wagoner showed up ready to play and wasn’t intimidated.
A close battle throughout, sophomore quarterback Kale Charboneau had a terrific game and finished 16-of-33 passing for 147 yards and two scores. He also ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
Senior Gabe Rodriguez, the younger brother of former Oklahoma State star linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, also played well for Wagoner (11-3). He had eight catches for 51 yards and 15 carries for 37 yards, playing a big role in helping the Bulldogs erase the memory of their lopsided loss against Cushing earlier in the year.
“I wouldn’t say we game planned more,” said Rodriguez, who plays multiple positions on offense and safety on defense. “We just wanted it more. I mean, a lot of grit, a lot of adversity. And then, we just came here and executed, and it paid off.”
Cushing (13-1) got on the scoreboard first Saturday as star senior quarterback and New Mexico State commit Blaze Berlowitz tossed a 26-yard touchdown to junior Brady Matheson with 2:30 left in the opening quarter.
Wagoner responded with a touchdown of its own on the first play of the second quarter as Charboneau hit senior Brayden Skeen on a 48-yard touchdown pass.
Cushing scored two unanswered touchdowns after that in the second quarter.
Senior Noah Jones ran for a two-yard score, and Berlowitz – who finished 17-of-25 passing for 162 yards, two touchdowns and an interception – tossed a 25-yard touchdown to his twin, Brody.
But Cushing was held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Wagoner ended the first half on a high note when Charboneau threw a six-yard touchdown to junior Witt Edwards with one second left, capping a 12-play, 72-yard drive that lasted five minutes.
Wagoner’s best drive of the night came in the third quarter. The Bulldogs marched 67 yards on 14 plays and took 7:33 off the clock. It ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Charboneau with 1:29 left in the third, and both teams were held scoreless until the game-winning field goal.
“There’s not many feelings that can be better than this,” Condict said. “Working together with a group of coaches and players and your community and school and come out and win a state championship on the last play of the game. That’s a feeling unlike any other.”
Reporter Nick Sardis covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @nick_sardis. Support Nick’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe or by using the link at the top of this page.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma HS football: Wagoner beats Cushing for Class 4A state title