By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The No.6 Charles Page High School varsity football team (2-2, 1-0) secured their first district win of the season with a dominating 35-7 victory over the No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (0-4, 0-1) Friday night, taking a 35-0 lead in the third quarter before their rivals got on the board.
This was the 90th year of Highway 97 Rivalry and the Sandites won their third-straight installment to bring the record to 41-45-5 with the Chieftains still leading overall. The two teams, which are separated by only a few miles of Highway 97, have met consecutively since 1930 and have hated each other ever since.
There's been a lot of bad blood over the decades and in past years fights were notorious and security was always heavier at the Sapulpa game than any other game of the year. Even this year saw an unsportsmanlike penalty on Sapulpa for an out-of-bounds shove. The week preceding the game is known as "Sapulpa Hate Week" in Sand Springs, and both schools take their rivalry trash talk to twitter where it can get pretty heated.
This year, however, the two teams were able to come together in solidarity to honor a Sandite who passed away shortly before the game. Swift Myers, who graduated in May of this year, was battling his seventh bout with cancer when it took his life Friday evening. His wife, Abbi Myers, tweeted that "Swift made it clear to us before he left that when he died, he didn't want people saying he lost his battle. He beat the shit out of cancer."
After seven long bouts with the condition, Myers is finally at peace in Heaven, and for this year, the two football teams put aside their rivalry and met in the field after the game to honor and remember him. Swift's classmate America Higgins tweeted "I honestly I can't even consider Sapulpa a rival after their support they showed tonight." Even before the game, Sapulpa students were hanging banners throughout the school bearing the #SWIFTSTRONG motto, and brought those banners to the game as well. Wrestling National Champion Daton Fix posted that "Heaven gained an amazing person tonight. One of the toughest guys I will ever know. A fighter and a winner. #SwiftStrong forever."
The game itself was a dominating performance by the Sandites, who rushed for over 300 yards and held the Chieftains to a mere 12 first downs and forced six turnovers. Hunter Greathouse led the Sandites in passing with 5 completions for 76 yards and a touchdown, while Payton Scott led the ground game for both teams with 29 carries for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dalton Morgan also played a significant factor on the ground with 11 carries for 100 yards. Sophomore Hayden Cramer led the defense with six solo tackles, followed by Tyler Delozier with five tackles and an interception.
Sapulpa quarterback Cameron Elder completed 8 of 13 passes for 53 yards and 1 interception. The ground game was fairly split between Elder and Dayton Vann with 59 yards each, but led by Marcus Henderson with 67 yards on 8 carries. Trevin Inks and Stanley White had four tackles each, and B.J. Dansby had the lone tackle-for-loss for the Chieftains.
Sapulpa got the ball to start but was held to fourth-and-two and had to punt less than two minutes into the game. The Sandites got on the board midway through the first quarter with a two-yard run from Scott to cap off a methodical 13-play, 72-yard drive. Kasey Bales kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Sapulpa's next drive ate up the rest of the first quarter and two minutes of the second as they drove 51 yards to the Sandites' 29 before a tackle for loss by Jerry Lyons and fumbled snap forced them back to fourth and nineteen and they had to punt. Less than three minutes later, Scott pushed in yet another touchdown on a one-yard run to make it 14-0.
The Chieftains had yet another drive end without a first down after a third-and-seven pass was nearly picked off by Cody Motes, but was dropped. The punt gave Sand Springs the field at their 36 and they needed only five plays to score. Scott picked up a first down on a ten-yard run, and an offsides penalty put the Sandites at the Sapulpa 49. Greathouse pitched the ball to Scott, who reversed it back to Greathouse for a 46-yard pass to Bales who was barely stopped by Aaron Sechrist at the three-yard-line. Two plays later, Greathouse punched in the touchdown on a 1-yard sneak to make it 21-0 after the Bales kick.
Dansby got a huge kickoff return to the Sandite 38, and a 37-yard run from Henderson put the Chieftains at first-and-goal from the one-yard line. An illegal procedure on the Chieftains, followed by a sack from Gage Fain pushed Sapulpa back to the 7, and Tyler Delozier picked off a pass from Elder and returned it to the 47 before being forced out by Inks.
Sapulpa nearly got the ball back as Greathouse nearly threw an interception in the endzone, but intended-receiver Kasey Bales managed to swat the ball away from the Chieftain defender. A few plays later, Greathouse connected from eleven yards out to Mack Thompson for the score. With 29 seconds left in the half, Bales sent in the point-after to make it 28-0.
The Sandites were only two minutes into the second half when they scored once more on a five-yard run from Scott to make it 35-0.
Sapulpa finally got on the scoreboard on the corresponding drive. Henderson picked up a fifteen-yard run, Elder connected with Dansby for thirteen yards, then went 36 yards on a keeper to score. Bobby Schmidt sent in the extra point to make it 35-7 where the score would remain for the duration.
The Sandites put together a big drive on their next possession, starting at their 15. Scott found a first down in a twelve-yard run, then Bales snagged a lateral and ran it eleven yards. A facemask penalty put the Sandites at the Sapulpa 42, and a run by Morgan took them to the 35. A handoff to Scott should have been a loss of two, but the running back was bolstered by offensive lineman Lincoln Adams who pushed it into a three yard gain and a first down.
Morgan picked up nine yards on a run and Bales hauled in a screen to put the Sandites at the 16. Morgan ran another seven yards while carrying four Sapulpa defenders before he went down, and Scott went five more for the first down at the four-yard line. Sapulpa brought the drive to an end, however, with an endzone interception by Sechrest who ran it all the way back to the Sandite 46 before being ran down by Cameron Lierly.
The two teams exchanged possessions from there and with five minutes left, the Sandite backups went in to play. Sophomore Caden Pennington took over at quarterback, but didn't get to make any plays. Sophomore running back Garrett McCallie picked up 14 yards on 4 carries before Sapulpa put a stop to the drive and took over possession shortly before time expired.
The Chieftains are still looking for a win this season and will host No. 2 Booker T Washington (3-2, 1-0) next Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Sandites will look to improve to a winning record as they host 6A-I Yukon (0-4) in a non-district home game Friday at 7:00 p.m.