Sandite Football drops season opener to Pulaski Academy

 Photo by: Morgan Miller

Photo by: Morgan Miller

SCORING SUMMARY

1Q 11:08 Hatcher 88 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt conversion failed. 6-0 Pulaski.
1Q 9:25 Greathouse 29 yard pass to Bales. Bales PAT. 7-6 Sandites.
1Q 8:59 Hatcher 23 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt conversion failed. 12-7 Pulaski.
1Q 2:14 Hatcher 80 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt run by Adams. 20-7 Pulaski.
1Q 0:15 Edwards 55 yard interception return. Bales PAT. 20-14. Pulaski
2Q 8:28 Hatcher 14 yard pass to Watkins. 2pt run by Hatcher. 28-14 Pulaski.
2Q 4:37 Hatcher 44 yard pass to McMillan. 2pt pass from Hatcher to Johnson. 36-14 Pulaski.
2Q 1:34 Anderson 33 yard run. Hatcher PAT. 43-14 Pulaski.
3Q 5:48 Hatcher 3 yard pass to Johnson. Hatcher PAT. 50-14 Pulaski.
4Q 9:46 Scott 7 yard run. Bales PAT. 50-21 Pulaski.
4Q 4:14 Titus 11 yard run. PAT failed. 56-21 Pulaski.

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The No. 4 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (0-1) bit off more than they could chew when they traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas Friday night. The 6A-II State Runners-Up played well against No.1 Pulaski Academy (1-0), but the Bruins rode a 27-game winning streak and back-to-back 5A State Championships. Their offense was machine-like, never punting, always going for fourth down, and racked up 614 offensive yards while holding the Sandites to 222.

Senior quarterback Hunter Greathouse was consistent with his performance last year, completing 12 of 25 passes for 110 yards and 1 interception. Junior running back Payton Scott led the Sandite ground game with 101 yards on 14 carries. Each scored a touchdown. Delvin Jordan led the defense with 11 tackles and a 7-yard sack. Josh Taber performed well in the secondary with 3 tackles and 3 pass break-ups, and sophomore Hayden Cramer impressed with 7 tackles.

The Sandites won the toss and elected to kick. The Bruins received the ball at their 27 and it looked like the Sandites would have little problem getting a turnover early-on. Gage Fain tackled Jaren Watkins for a loss of three, the Bruins had two passes fall incomplete, and a sideline interference call pushed Pulaski back to their 12. On fourth and 28 at their own 12 yard line, any normal team would have punted.

The Bruins aren’t any normal team.

Junior quarterback Layne Hatcher sent a screen pass to Tra Johnson and the receiver got the edge on the Sandite secondary for an 88 yard touchdown reception. Hatcher completed a pass to Johnson for a conversion attempt, but the receiver was laid out by Cramer.

Less than a minute into the game and the Sandites trailed 6-0.

The Bruins let off one of their notorious onside kicks, but Cody Motes downed it at the Sandite 49. Greathouse connected on his first pass attempt of the season to Kasey Bales for a gain of 4 and Scott picked up the first down with a 14-yard run. Scott only managed 1 yard on the next pitch, but on second down Greathouse let loose a 29-yard pass to Bales for a touchdown. Bales sent in the PAT to make it 7-6 in the Sandites’ favor and it looked like the game would be a shootout.

The Bruins scored on their next drive after picking up two first downs, each on a single play. Watkins ran for 30, Brett Lynch hauled in a pass for 16, and Johnson caught a 23-yard touchdown reception to regain the lead barely three minutes into the game. Once again the two-point conversion failed, but the home team led 12-7.

This time the Bruins’ onside kick was successful and they regained possession at the Sandite 48. Their drive fell flat, however, after Delvin Jordan picked up a 7-yard sack and three pass attempts fell incomplete.

Sand Springs picked up a pair of first downs, one on a fourth-and-short, before running out of steam. Isiah Woods tackled Scott for a loss of 4 and Blake Titus sacked Greathouse for a loss of 12. Bales punted and the Bruins took possession at their 20 after a touchback.

Hatcher’s first pass attempt was incomplete, but the second found its mark in Johnson for yet another massive touchdown. After receiving the screen, Johnson broke three tackles before clearing the Sandite secondary and running it 80 yards to score. This time the two-point conversion was good in the hands of Trey Adams and the Bruins took the 20-7 advantage with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.

The Sandites succeeded in downing the ensuing onside kick, but failed to convert a first down and gave up the ball at the Bruin 46.

Taber pulled down receiver Jacory McMillan who picked up 8 yards, and Tre Finch tripped up Watkins to hold the Bruins at third and 1. A pass attempt fell flat on third down, and a fourth down pass attempt found the open arms of Kris Edwards.

Edwards is a junior transfer from Okmulgee who had to sit out last season due to OSSAA eligibility rules. Edwards picked off the pass and returned it the full 55 for a touchdown with 15 seconds on the clock.

The Sandites began to plug the holes in their offense that allowed the long runs, but they couldn’t stop the Bruins from moving the ball all together. The next drive saw four first-downs for the Bruins before Hatcher connect on a 14-yard touchdown screen to Watkins. Hatcher punched in the two-point run and the Bruins doubled down on the Sandites, 28-14.

The Sandites’ next drive ended in a punt and once more the home team made quick work in driving 42 yards before connecting on a 44-yard pass to McMillan to score. Hatcher sent a two-point pass to Johnson for the 36-14 advantage.

Sand Springs punted once more on their next drive and the Bruins scored in six plays. RJ Anderson took a handoff and ran it 33 yards to score. Hatcher kicked the first point-after of the game for the Bruins and Sand Springs was down 43-14.

Sand Springs picked up 13 yards on a pass to Caleb Wash, then added another first down on a 12 yard reception by Mack Thompson. With 0:04 left Greathouse lobbed a deep ball downfield intended for Wash, but it was picked off by Hayden Henry and ran out of bounds to end the half.

The Sandites received the ball to start the second half and quickly picked up a pair of first downs before Henry broke up a pass attempt to Bales to force a turnover.

Pulaski went to work on a 91-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 3 yard pass to Johnson. Hatcher’s kick was good and the lead furthered to 50-14.

The Arkansas High School Activities Association utilizes a mercy rule adopting a “running clock” anytime a team reaches a 35-point lead after the first half. The Sandites were quickly running out of time.

Sand Springs quickly went to work on a 71-yard drive and Scott broke three tackles on a run before being piled into the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown. Bales sent in the PAT, but the Sandites still trailed 50-21 with less than ten minutes remaining.

The Bruins fielded an onside kick attempt at their 33 and made quick work with another march downfield. Titus took a direct snap 11 yards for a touchdown, but the extra point attempt was a miss.

The remaining few minutes quickly passed and the Bruins had secured their 29th-straight victory.

The Sandites will return to action on Friday, September 9th, when they travel to Choctaw. The Yellowjackets won their first game Friday night in a 52-42 shootout with Sapulpa.