CPHS Football: Sandite Homecoming spoiled by No. 6 Muskogee 40-34

 Members of the Sand Springs Homecoming Court before the game. (Photo: Morgan Miller).

Members of the Sand Springs Homecoming Court before the game. (Photo: Morgan Miller).

MHS 40 CPHS 34

1Q Tied 13-13
2Q MHS 3-0
3Q MHS 14-7
4Q CPHS 14-10

Passing: MHS 18-25-381-1, CPHS 9-21-151-0.
Rushing: CPHS 50-222, MHS 28-91.
Plays-Offense: MHS 53-472, CPHS 71-373.
First Downs: CPHS 16, MHS 10.
Penalties: MHS 10-75, CPHS 1-10.
Fumbles/Lost: MHS 5/4, CPHS 1/1.

Click here to view full photo gallery by Morgan Miller.

The No. 7 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (4-3 overall, 2-1 district) saw their four-straight win streak come to an end as the No. 6 Muskogee Roughers (3-4, 2-2) spoiled the Sandite Homecoming 40-34 in a wild turnover-plagued shootout. 

Sand Springs started out by doing what they do best: feeding the ball to Payton Scott. The 5'5" junior running back showed off the strength and resilience that made him a wrestling State Champion, carrying 8 times for 80 yards on the opening drive and scoring from 12 yards out. A fumbled hike prevented the point-after attempt but the Sandites had drawn first blood at 6-0. 

Hyatt Cartwright forced a fumble for Hayden Cramer to recover on the first Muskogee pass of the night. Two plays later junior quarterback Caden Pennington sent a 21-yard touchdown pass to Luke Bratcher. This time Jaden Weiser got to kick the ball and give his team a 13-0 lead.

The Roughers finally showed off their potent offense as Jacob Medrano hit Diante Crutchfield for a 79 yard touchdown reception. Manuel Espinosa's point-after kick was a miss, and the Sandites held the 13-6 lead.

After a quick three-and-out the Roughers got the ball back and marched 64 yards in five plays, scoring on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Crutchfield. This time Espinosa got the job done and tied the game with 2:10 in the first.

Sand Springs fumbled the ball away on their next possession, then Braden Askew recovered another Rougher fumble shortly before the end of the first. Another three-and-out for the Sandites, another fumble for the Roughers, and yet another three-and-out for the Sandites. Sand Springs would ultimately end up with seven turnovers and would only score on three of them. 

Both teams traded turnovers on downs late in the second quarter and Muskogee finally got back on the scoreboard with a twenty-yard field goal from Espinosa for a 16-13 halftime lead.

The Roughers got the ball to start the second half and wasted no time in scoring on a 25-yard pass to D.J. Mayes. A three-and-out from Sand Springs and Muskogee scored two plays later with another Mayes reception, this time from 34 yards out. 

Down 30-13, Sand Springs kicked it in overdrive and marched 80 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a sixteen-yard pass to Daren Hawkins.

The defense came in clutch with a forced fumble from Tre Finch and a recovery by Kris Edwards. The Sandites marched all the way to the thirteen-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Three plays later and Askew picked off a pass at the 38 and set up Garrett McCallie for a 35-yard touchdown reception. Weiser's PAT cut it to a one-score game at 30-27 with 11:07 to play.

Muskogee's next drive took them from their 20 to the Sandites' 14 before an offensive holding penalty and an incomplete pass gave them a turnover on downs at the 29-yard line. Sand Springs returned to their vaunted run game and fed Scott the ball seven times for 71 yards and a nine-yard touchdown run to reclaim the lead at 34-30.

The lead would only last 14 seconds, however. Kaiden Cox drilled the kick to the four-yard line where Crutchfield received it and took it all the way back to the house.

This time the Sandites went back to the passing game and saw three-straight incompletions turn over the ball at their own 28. The defense played well and prevented a touchdown, but they couldn't stop a 28-yard field goal from Espinosa to make it 40-34. 

With only a minute to play, the Sandites traveled 56 yards before the clock ran out. The final play was a twelve-yard screen to Scott who dragged three defenders several yards before finally being dragged down at the thirteen as time ran out. 

After starting the season 15-44-195-3 over the first three games, Pennington hadn't gotten to throw many passes over the past three weeks. When he did pass he was golden, throwing 13-16-155-0, but the Sandites mostly relied on Scott's seven yards per carry to get them through.

After Scott's impressive opening drive, the Roughers figured out how to shut down the Sandite run game and forced the inexperienced Sandites to learn on their feet. Not only are the Sandites utilizing a first-year quarterback, but an entirely first-year receiving team as well. Pennington finished the night 9-21-151-0 with three breakups and three dropped passes. By his own talents he was usually spot on and could have easily been 15 of 21. 

Scott was still the bread-and-butter of the evening, carrying 34 times for 199 yards, but most of those came in the first and fourth quarters. He was 12-25 for a two-quarter stent in the middle of the game, which is when Pennington did most of his damage.

Defensively, the Sandites were likely unprepared for the Roughers' passing game, simply due to not playing many passing teams this season. In the season opener they fell 59-21 to Pulaski Academy, who found 75% of their yards by air. In week two they fell 21-20 to Choctaw, who found 72% of their yards in the air.

Since then their past four opponents have passed about as much as the Sandites, giving them little real-life experience to prepare for Medrano's lethal skills. Every time they double or triple manned a receiver, Medrano would find a way to miraculously thread the needle. The defense smothered Muskogee on the ground, however, giving up only 91 yards in 28 plays.

Medrano finished the evening 18-24-381-1, putting him well over 2,000 yards for the season. He is also playing with an entirely first-year offensive line, and his numbers last season were even more staggering. 

The Sandites drop to third in the district with the loss, still ahead of Muskogee who has losses to No. 3 Bixby (4-3, 3-0) and No. 1 Booker T. Washington (6-1, 3-0). The Roughers will likely have an easy time next week when they host No. 15 Sapulpa (0-7, 0-4). Sand Springs will have a far tougher opponent next Thursday when they travel to the top-ranked Hornets at S.E. Williams Stadium.

The Sandites will likely need only one more win to make the playoffs and they should find it in week nine when they host No. 13 Bartlesville (1-5, 1-2). If they can manage to upset the Hornets or Spartans, they could position themselves for a home playoff game. 

Prior to the game, Olivia Silversmith was crowned Homecoming Queen and adorned with a crown and robe by Kissing Captain Payton Scott. The Sandites held their Homecoming Parade on Thursday in downtown Sand Springs. Those photos can be found here. 

Sand Springs Individual Statistics

Passing: Pennington 9-21-151-0, 3TD.
Receiving: McCallie 4-80, 1TD. Scott 2-24. Bratcher 1-21, 1TD. Hawkins 1-16, 1TD. Mock 1-10.
Rushing: Scott 34-199, 2TD. Pennington 15-23. Fleischman 1-0. 
PAT: Weiser 4/4.
Punting-Avg: Smith 5-24.
Kicking-Avg: Cox 3-49. Weiser 3-36. 
Kick Return: Denton 2-23. Bratcher 2-15. Millican 2-8.
Tackles: Cramer 13, Finch 8, Askew 6, Fleischman 5, Edwards 3, Cartwright 3, Fain 3, McCallie 3, Lyons 2, Adcock 2, Haley 1, Bratcher 1, Mock 1, Hunter 1.
Tackles For Loss: Finch 3-7, Fain 2-6, Cramer 1-2, Lyons 1-1.
Sacks: Fain 1-4.
Interceptions: Askew 1.
Break-Ups: Finch 1, Adcock 1.
Forced Fumbles: Finch 1, Cartwright 1. 
Fumble Recoveries: Edwards 2, Askew 1, Cramer 1.

Muskogee Individual Statistics

Passing: Medrano 18-24-381-1, 4TD. Cherry 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: Crutchfield 3-155, 2TD. Devin Hillmon 4-105. Mayes 4-74, 2TD. Cherry 7-47.
Rushing: Beasley 13-63. Kristian Hillmon 3-13. Crutchfield 1-9. Medrano 5-3. Cherry 5-2. Mayes 1-1. 
PAT: Espinosa 3/4.
Field Goals: Espinosa 2/2.
Kicking-Avg: Espinosa 7-48.
Kick Return: Crutchfield 1-96, 1TD. Mayes 2-29.