By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The No. 5 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (3-2, 2-0) got the upper hand in a 56-35 shootout with the No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (1-5, 0-3) at Homecoming Friday night. The game was decidedly in the Sandites' favor by half time, but the visitors scored far more frequently than they should have in what was their highest offensive output of the season.
Sand Springs got a lucky break early in the game after Caleb Wash fumbled the opening kickoff return at the Sand Springs 20-yard line. The defense was able to stave off a scoring drive and Mitchell Wilson's 37-yard field goal attempt was a tad wide.
The Sandites fared no better than the Wildcats on their opening drive, ending up fourth and 21 at their 16 after a holding call and sack by Clayton Coomer. After the Sandite Offense failed to put points on the board, the Defense tried their hand at it and senior Cody Motes recovered a fumbled pass from Brice McDougal to Trevor Howey and ran it back 58 yards for the first touchdown of the game, just two and a half minutes in.
Ponca City had big plays of their own, however, and scored on the first play of their next possession with a 79-yard pass from McDougal to Howey to tie it up eighteen seconds later.
The next Sandite possession also fell short, and once more the Defense saved the day as running back Bradyn Pressnall disappeared into a mess of Sandite defenders and senior line backer Delvin Jordan emerged with the ball and ran it back 32 yards for a touchdown. Alejandro Hernandez sent in the point-after kick and the Sandites had the 14-7 lead.
Ponca's next offensive was a methodical 54-yard drive, capped off with a 13-yard pass from McDougal to Darrell Arita to tie things up near the end of the first quarter.
The Sandite offense found the endzone for the first time on their next possession, driving 73 yards behind junior running back Payton Scott for a five yard touchdown run shortly into the second quarter.
After giving up a first down on a pass to Wolfgang Flick, the Sandite defense rallied with a five yard sack by Gage Fain to force the Wildcats to punt. Sand Springs took possession at their own 18, but needed only one play to push it to midfield with a 27-yard run from Scott and a penalty at the end of the play.
A 20-yard pass to Dash Fleischman nearly got hairy as it appeared he may have fumbled the ball away, but it was ruled dead before the fumble and the Sandites were deep in Ponca territory at the 28. Scott picked up eleven more for a first down in the red zone, and a few plays later senior quarterback Hunter Greathouse found Mack Thompson at the 5-yard-line. After Kenny Buoy dragged down Scott for a loss of two, Greathouse connected with Wash for a 7-yard touchdown pass to double Ponca 28-14.
In the second half of the game, the Wildcats were held to fourth and fourteen after a 7-yard sack from Jordan, and Scott scored on the first play of the corresponding drive with a 58-yard run. Hernandez sent in the point-after and the Sandites led 35-14.
Ponca City got back in the endzone on their next drive, scoring on a 30-yard reception by Arita. The Sandites didn't waste any time in doubling up on their foes once again, as Greathouse connected with Bales from 26-yards out to make it 42-21.
Once again the dangerous duo of McDougal and Howey showed off their talents, scoring on a 55-yard pass to cut it to 42-28 just five plays after the previous Sandite score. And five plays later, Greathouse let loose a rocket of his own to find Thompson from 33 yards out to score.
With less than a minute in the third, senior Treyce Tolbert picked off the first interception of the night, setting up Dalton Morgan for a 57-yard run on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats tried to put together a drive from their 33 and picked up a pair of first downs before junior lineman Tre Finch found Arita with the ball and forced a turnover on downs. Sand Springs sent in the backups at this point with a little over six minutes to play, and the Sandites were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
Ponca took possession over briefly before giving up another interception, this time to Luke Bratcher. Once again the Sandites were pushed back to fourth and eighteen before giving up the ball on downs. Ponca scored on the final drive of the game with a 9-yard run from Pressnall and tried to get a turnover with an onside kick, but Jordan was quick to fall on the ball at midfield. Greathouse came back out to take a few knees and finish up Homecoming with a 56-35 victory.
Greathouse had a solid night passing, completing 11 of 14 passes for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. He split time between several receivers with Bales catching 2 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, Thompson catching 4 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, and Fleischman catching 2 passes for 48 yards. Wash had only 1 reception, and it was for a touchdown.
Scott led the run game with 18 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown, followed by Morgan with 5 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. Fain led the defense with 8 tackles, including 5 for losses totaling 18 yards and 3 sacks totaling 13 yards. Taber had 7 tackles on the evening, and Nathan Simonton and Jerry Lyons both had 5.
McDougal completed 25 of 40 passes for 348 yards for the wildcats with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His main receiver was Arita who hauled in 8 passes for 104 yards and also led the team on the ground with 12 carries for 39 yards.
The Sandites improve to 2-0 in district play and will return to action Thursday evening when they travel to Muskogee for a fall break game. The No. 1 ranked Roughers (6-0, 3-0) are undefeated after trouncing No. 2 Booker T Washington (4-3, 2-1) 23-7 Friday night.
Ponca City is still looking for a district win and will host No. 3 Bixby (3-3, 1-1) next Friday.
Alexis Keeling was named Homecoming Queen in the pre-game festivities and was crowned by Kissing Captain Kasey Bales. Keeling is the daughter of Charles and Crystal Keeling. She has been a member of the Varsity Cheer Team for three years. Her future plans include attending OU and majoring in Biology. Bales is the son of Jerry and Nancy Bales. He has been a member of the Varsity Football Team for three years. His future plans include attending the University of Tulsa for Computer Sciences.