By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
It was a tough night for the Claremore Zebras at the Sand Springs Homecoming game as the Charles Page High School Sandites defeated them for the second year in a row, this time 27-7. The last time the two teams faced, Sand Springs sabotaged Claremore’s homecoming with a 17-0 shutout.
Sandite star running back Lane Lettich rushed for 64 yards and three touchdowns, meanwhile the Zebra’s star, Keegan Hisey was out due to an undisclosed injury. Hisey has 390 yards for the season while no other Claremore running back had more than 100 going into the game.
Several of Claremore’s starters were out after their 47-27 loss to Bixby last week, including their starting quarterback, Arron McCollough, defensive tackle Roger Starkey, and offensive lineman Hunter Nixon. Though most are expected to return next week, they were certainly missed Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Sand Springs defense was as spectacular as usual, holding the Zebras to only two red-zone penetrations and barely 200 yards of total offense.
Senior Jacob Fortune got his second start and first full game at kicker and averaged just shy of 54 yards per kickoff with one touchback. After a dropped kick attempt in a week one game against Tulsa Hale, Fortune was eager to prove himself. “I finally got my chance,” he said after the game, “and I nailed it.”
It took a little time for the home team to find their rhythm, needing ten plays to find the endzone, but they finally got on the board midway through the first quarter on a 1 yard carry by Lettich.
Claremore returned the favor on their first possession of the second quarter. Alex Moore intercepted a pass from Sandite quarterback Hunter Greathouse and five plays later the Zebras capitalized on it with a 28 yard pass from Noah Grimett to Paul Hoke. This was Grimett’s first varsity start at quarterback and third career touchdown. He ended the game just shy of 180 yards of total offense and completed more than half of his 11 passes.
It would also be the only Zebra touchdown, and Sand Springs scored on their next possession on a 3 yard carry by Lettich.
It took only three plays for the Sandites to travel 76 yards and score on a 60 yard pass from Greathouse to Trace Fleischman barely a minute into the half. A two point conversion attempt failed, but the Sandites drew blood again on a 5 yard carry by Lettich in the fourth quarter.
Kasey Bales was three-for-three on extra point attempts for Sand Springs and Payton Scott and Brett Freeman both grabbed key fumbles.
Homecoming Kissing Captain Jacob Taber had seven tackles for the Sandites, surpassed only by Junior Delvin Jordan, though he was probably more excited about his 1-for-1 record on kissing dancers.
Varsity Dance team-member Addy Lee was named Homecoming Queen and was stunning in a beautiful red dress.
Claremore (2-3, 0-2) will next take on Booker T Washington (4-0, 2-0) in week three of district play and will need to pull off a big upset to have a shot at the playoffs. The Sandites (1-3, 1-1) found their first technical win after having to forfeit their first two victories earlier this week due to an ineligible player.
With Bixby, Booker T Washington, and Bartlesville expected to win playoff spots from district 1, the rest of the district is vying for that fourth position.
Next week Sand Springs hopes to move a bit closer to that goal as they travel to Sapulpa (1-3, 0-2) to take on their long-time Highway 97 rivals.
*This article has been corrected to reflect that Grimett's touchdown against CPHS was his third career TD, not his 1st, as he scored two against Bixby as a mid-game replacement.
**The graphic at the beginning of this article has been corrected to attribute 3 fumbles to Claremore instead of Sand Springs.