By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The #3 Charles Page (5-4, 5-2) varsity football team had a huge night, handing the #4 Bixby Spartans (6-4, 4-3) their first shutout in seven years in a dominating 20-0 showdown at Memorial Stadium Friday night.
The team as a whole put up one of their best performances of the season, but several players in particular stole the show. Junior quarterback Hunter Greathouse was 5-8-0-109 in the first half that included a 63-yard touchdown pass to Kasey Bales.
Jaxon Starling, Jacob Taber, and Delvin Jordan tied for a team-high six tackles each. Starling had four tackles-for-loss totaling 41 yards, including 3 sacks. Jordan had three tackles-for-loss totaling 12 yards, including one 12-yard sack, as well as a fumble recovery. Taber had one tackle-for-loss.
The whole Sandite defense was incredible. Parker Taylor also picked up a fumble recovery and Cruz Desjarlais had three pass break-ups.
The game was clear Sandite domination from the get-go. The second play of the first Spartan drive resulted in a fumble recovered by the Sandites less than thirty seconds into the game.
The home team used a mere seven plays to move the ball 70 yards, ending in a 30 yard touchdown run by Payton Scott. Kasey Bales missed the first PAT of the night, but Sand Springs had taken an early 6-0 lead with 8:28 left in the first quarter.
Bixby never even reached Sand Springs territory before having the punt the ball away, and Sand Springs wasted no time in finding the endzone once again. Greathouse connected to Bales on a screen and the versatile receiver went 63 yards for the touchdown, then kicked his own point-after for a 13-0 lead with 2:39 in the quarter.
The following Bixby drive was pushed back for a loss of seven yards thanks to a two-yard tackle-for-loss by Jordan and a five-yard sack by Gage Fain, and the Spartans were once again forced to punt.
Lane Lettich took the handoff at the Sandite 41 and got behind the incredible Sand Springs O-line as they knifed through the would-be Spartan phalanx for a gain of six yards. Payton Scott found a hole on the next play and the home team was sitting pretty at 3rd and 1 at the 50 as the first quarter came to a close.
Ten plays later, Greathouse found his way into the endzone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak for his second touchdown of the night. Bales put up the extra point, and Sand Springs had a 20-0 lead with 7:39 left in the half. Now Sand Springs had to defend that lead for another 31 minutes.
Not much happened in the remainder of the first half, but the Spartans found their rallying cry at half-time and came out with all pistons firing for the third quarter.
It was the secondary’s time to shine as they prevented a fourth-down conversion attempt in their redzone early in the quarter, then got no rest as they were up against a Spartan possession that lasted more than four minutes and came down to the wire.
Bixby was first and goal at the Sandite 6 when Taber picked up a nice 4-yard TFL, then Jordan recovered a fumble to give the D a brief rest.
It wouldn’t last long, however. Four plays later, the Spartans were back at it with a 39-yard pass from Tucker Pawley to Conner Walker that put them right back at the Sandite 7. A pass attempt fell incomplete, then #33 Cole Dixon collided with #33 Nic Roller and proved himself the tougher of the two with a tackle-for-loss as the third period expired.
Next, Delvin Jordan sacked Tanner Griffin for a loss of 9, then Starling put the quarterback right back on the ground for a loss of 5 to hand the ball back over to the offense.
The remainder of the fourth quarter was a back and forth game of tug-a-war and once again Bixby threatened with 1st and 10 at the 11 with under a minute to play, but the game was finally wrapped up as Roller fumbled near the goal-line and Taylor recovered it to give the Sandites final-possession.
Despite the loss, several Bixby players put up impressive efforts. Griffin connected on 10 of 14 for 144 yards in the fourth quarter alone, for 218 overall.
Nic Roller is the #5 rusher in 6A with 1394 yards this season and 4425 career. Sand Springs held him to a meager 47 yards on 20 carries. The only other time this season he’s been held to such a low out-put was against Ponca when he only carried one time for twenty yards due to an injury.
This was the 24th meeting of the two teams, and Sand Springs was bloodthirsty after the Spartans beat them twice last season. This was only the second shutout of the series, the last time being 19-0 in 1997, also by Sand Springs. The series is split now with both teams sitting at 12 wins.
This win gave Sand Springs their first undefeated season at home in over a decade and their fourth consecutive winning record.
Next week Sand Springs will travel to #9 Stillwater (5-5, 4-2) for their fourth-consecutive playoff appearance. Sand Springs has a 10-28-1 record against the Pioneers.