By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The third ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (6-4, 4-2) will travel to Midwest City High School Friday evening for the first round of the Class 6A-II playoffs and aim to keep their season alive against the District One Champions.
While the Sandites gave up a hard loss to the No. 2 Bixby Spartans (7-3, 5-1) last week, the No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (7-3, 6-1) won a surprisingly close battle with No. 8 Stillwater (5-5, 3-4) to close the regular season with the District Once Championship.
This game will likely be a major defensive battle as Midwest City holds the best defense in the State when it comes to points allowed, by a significant margin. They allow only 3.413 yards per play, 2.165 yards per run, and 5.278 yards per pass. Sand Springs's offense is sixth on yards per carry, and managed an impressive 4.71 yards per carry against Bixby, who normally only allows 3.94. They also ran for 3.914 against Muskogee who normally allows only 3.023. Sand Springs is eighth in passing yards per play, so if they're to overcome the two-pronged Bomber defense, they'll definitely need to get creative.
The Bombers will have an equally difficult time against Sand Springs, as they have relied almost entirely on their defense this season. Midwest City is eleventh in offensive scoring and only eighth in yards-per-play. Sand Springs is tenth in points allowed, but third in defensive points scored and wins the turnover battle more often than not. While they give up more yards-per-play than a lot of teams, they're 71% on third-down stops this season.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Bixby vs Putnam West. Veterans will get free entry into tonight's game.
The pick: CPHS 24, MWC 23.
Players to watch
Junior tight end Dash Fleischman has been solid both blocking and receiving this season, often opening up paths for Payton Scott along the outside. He has also hauled in 9 passes for 143 yards, though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet.
Junior running back Payton Scott is the work horse for the Sandite offense with 267 carries for 1574 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. His career total is 2705 yards, but this is his first year as the starter. He's also a target for screen passes with 8 receptions for 142 yards this season.
Senior Kasey Bales is the all-purpose player for the Sandites. He holds 55 receptions for 792 yards and 9 touchdowns this season and sits at 1439 yards for his career. He's ran 6 times for 44 yards, mostly on laterals. He frequently handles kicking duties for the Sandites, and is 17 of 22 on extra points this season. He averages 42 yards per punt, and 21 yards per kick return.
Second-year senior quarterback Hunter Greathouse is 122 of 243 passing this season with 1833 yards and 16 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. He has already surpassed his record last season, and he's played three less games. His career total is 3668 and could easily pass the 4000 mark tonight if Midwest City shuts down the run game. He hasn't thrown a 300+ game yet, but certainly is capable of it if necessary. He's a break-even runner due to sacks, and technically has only 3 yards on 54 carries this season. But he has seven touchdowns on the ground and can be counted on to gain a few on a designed run. He also holds two punts this season for an average of 43 yards in case fourth-down conversion attempts fall apart.
Senior Alejandro "Alex" Hernandez is the primary kicker with 13 extra points on 15 attempts and 2 field goals on 5 attempts. He averages 45 yards per kickoff, but that's deceptive. He can easily drill it inside the ten-yard line, but the Sandites haven't done too well at return coverage this season and often have him send it high and short so they have more time to reach the ball.
Senior Dalton Morgan is in his first season on offense and has 42 runs for 247 yards and a touchdown. He also has one pass for 29 yards and a touchdown, and 9 receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns. His native spot is on defense where he has seventeen tackles over only two games this season. He also has a fumble recovery.
Senior Mack Thompson is in his first year of Sandite football and holds 19 receptions for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Senior Caleb Wash is also a first year receiver and has 17 receptions for 226 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Offensive linemen Danny Ropp, Lincoln Adams, Michael Carper, Ethan Hooper, Austin Rutledge, Caleb Mallory, and a few others don't have any stats to track, but they are crucial players and are always impressive to watch.
Sophomore Luke Bratcher has been a playmaker on the Sandite defense this year with two fumble recoveries and an interception to complement his 26 tackles.
Hayden Cramer has made an impressive debut his sophomore season with 41 tackles, five for losses, and a forced fumble.
Junior Gage Fain is one of the leading players on defensive line with 31 tackles, including an incredible thirteen for losses totaling 59 yards. Most impressive is his 6 sacks for 32 yards. He also holds a fumble recovery.
Tre Finch holds 28 tackles this season, mostly unassisted, with four for losses totaling 24 yards, including three sacks for losses of 19 yards. He holds one forced fumble.
Senior Tyler Delozier sits at 25 tackles this season with 2 for loss. He has hauled in two interceptions, one of which he returned for 40 yards. He also has a fumble recovery.
Senior Brett Freeman holds 27 tackles this season with 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery.
Senior Delvin Jordan, Jr. is Mr. Sandite Defense with 59 tackles this season, including 48 unassisted, 12 for losses totaling 64 yards, and 5 sacks totaling 37 yards. He has two forced fumbles this year and one recovery, which he returned for 32 yards to score. He also very nearly had a scoring fumble recovery in the last game on what appeared to be an incomplete lateral, but was ruled a forward pass after the play.
Senior Cody Motes holds 29 tackles, mostly unassisted, with 2 interceptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. He has one fumble recovery for 58 yards and a score.
Senior lineman Nathan Simonton sits at 33 tackles with 6 tackles for losses totaling 18 yards and 3 sacks for 7 yards. He also has two fumble recoveries.
Senior Josh Taber splits time between wide receiver and defense and holds 35 tackles this season, mostly unassisted. He has four receptions for 28 yards this season, but mostly plays defense.
Senior Treyce Tolbert has 30 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups.