By: Scott Emigh, Editor in Chief
#3 Sand Springs met with the #1 undefeated Booker T Washington Hornets Friday night and lost by a last-second field goal in a rainy knock-down drag-out at S.E. Williams Stadium.
The Sandites emerged to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but then the Hornets dominated the second quarter to tie things up shortly before the half. The rest of the game was a slow mover with lots of defense and very few big plays, and the victor wasn’t decided till there was only 14 seconds left in the game.
Surprisingly enough, it was the Charles Page Sandites who dominated both sides of the ball, despite the loss. Sandite Payton Scott led both teams in rushing yardage with 10 carries for 163 yards, followed by Oklahoma State-commit Justice Hill of the Hornets with 139, and Sandite Lane Lettich with 104. Hill surpassed the 1500 season mark in tonight’s game, while the Sand Springs runningbacks are still shy of 1000, though they’ll likely pass it by the end of the post-season.
The defense excelled for both teams, though Booker T came up with the most tackles-for-loss, sacking Sandite quarterback Hunter Greathouse 4 times for 25 yards. Greathouse didn’t get to do a whole lot of passing in tonight’s rain, but the two times he did connect were for major bombs totaling 91 yards to Trace Fleischman.
The Hornets offense took the field at their 35 after a Kasey Bales punt traveled out of bounds. Justice Hill managed to pick up one first down for the home team, but the Sandites excelled in the first quarter and quickly took possession at their 32.
On their first drive of the night, the Sandites needed only five plays for Greathouse to find Fleischman for a 63-yard touchdown reception. Bales kicked the PAT and the Sandites had a 7-0 lead barely four minutes into the game.
The next Hornet possession fell flat on 4th and 5 at the Sandite 32. Looking to put points on the board, QB Dakari Willis went for the keeper and was brought down at the line of scrimmage by Nathan Simonton and the ball was turned over to the Sandite Offense.
Once again, the visitors had little difficulty moving the ball.
Payton Scott picked up a first down, rushing for 11 yards, then Greathouse connected to Fleischman for a 28 yard bomb. Scott came back in for a single play and made it count, finding a hole and picking up 30 yards to give his team first and goal at the 10. Three plays later it was Lettich’s turn to find the endzone on a 2 yard run. The corresponding Bales PAT gave Sand Springs a 14-0 lead with 1:24 in the quarter.
It was the first time all season that Booker T had trailed by 14 points.
It didn’t take the Hornets long to respond, however, as they used seven plays to move the ball 46 yards, ending with a four yard touchdown run by Justice Hill, his 21st this season. Zachary Haney’s PAT brought the game to 14-7 with 10:14 in the half.
Sand Springs failed to convert on their next drive and punted it away to the Hornet 38. It looked like Booker T was going to score again as they found three first downs in nine plays and confronted Sand Springs at their 28.
The best defense in the state found an ally in Mother Nature, however, as the slippery conditions caused a fumbled hike and an incomplete pass and the Hornets were pushed back to fourth and 23 and had to punt.
The elements then turned on Sand Springs, as Greathouse had to fall on a fumbled hike for the Sandites for second and 17 at their own 7. A handoff to Scott picked the seven back up, but then Jason Harris II found Greathouse for his fourth sack of the season and nearly got a safety as the QB was brought down at the 2. Bales managed a 37 yard punt, but the Hornet offense was thirsty.
With 49.7 seconds left, Justice Hill found the endzone once again, this time on an 11-yard run. A penalty on the point-after had Haney repeating for a long PAT, but it didn’t stop him from tying up the game shortly before the half.
The third quarter belonged to the Sandites who picked up 93 yards on 19 rushes for 6 first-downs. Marching to the Hornet 16, it looked like Sand Springs was about to take the lead again, but a penalty and a sack pushed things back to 4th and 15 and Charles Page decided to try for a field goal. A 31-yard kick by Bales was dead center, but was nullified due to a penalty that pushed it back to the 26. This time the hike was fumbled and Jacob Taber was unable to find a receiver downfield and took a tackle-for-loss at the 40.
Sand Springs got the ball back four plays later at the BTW45, and used six plays spanning over into the fourth quarter to march to the Hornet 4 yard-line where Lettich gave the Sandites 1st and goal at the 1 yard-line.
The Hornet defense showed up, however, and Sand Springs found themselves 4th and 4 after three failed runs. Instead of kicking a field goal, the Sandites decided to try for a pass to Fleischman, but it was broken up by Daxton Hill.
Neither team scored on their next possessions and the home team ended up with the ball at the SS20. With 14 seconds left, Haney connected on a 35-yard field goal to give the Hornets the lead for the first time. Then, Haney found his first touchback of the night on kickoff, preventing the Sandites from a last-second touchdown return.
Sand Springs went down swinging, attempting a deep pass to Fleischman that fell short, then Greathouse was sacked to end the game 17-14.
It was a bit of déjà vu for both teams. Two weeks prior, Haney connected on a late field goal for a 17-14 win over Bartlesville. Last year in week 10 Sand Springs lost by a field goal at the #1 Bixby Spartans’ home field in a down-to-the-wire battle royale.
While Booker T may have succeeded in clinching the district title, the Sandites were far from losers. This was only Sand Springs’s second true loss of the season and both were away games to the #2 and #1 teams. The boys from the Springs proved that they could stand toe-to-toe with the best in the state and give them a run for their money. With the post-season now a certainty, Sand Springs still has a very legitimate possibility of making a major run at the state title.
- 7:52 63 yard pass to Fleischman from Greathouse. Bales PAT. 7-0 SS
- 1:24 2 yard carry by Lettich. Bales PAT 14-0 SS
- 10:14 4 yard carry by Justice Hill. Haney PAT. 14-7 SS
- 0:49.7 11 yard run by Justice Hill. Haney PAT 14-14
- No scores
- 0:14 Haney 35yd field goal. 17-14, BTW