By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Obviously, every player on the field is crucial in a football game. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, after all. But if I had to single out five names for you to remember, here they are.
Junior Hunter Greathouse, first year starting quarterback. Greathouse led the Sand Springs Sandites in a 44-10 rout of archrival Sapulpa Friday night in a blowout at the Chieftain high school. Completing 10 of 17 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, when Greathouse takes to the air, you better make sure his receivers are covered.
Who are his receivers?
The go-to man is Senior Trace Fleischman. Fleischman is the son of Coach Jay Fleischman and has 421 yards this season on only 18 receptions. That’s an average of 23 yards per pass. Tonight was a season-best for Fleischman with 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Next is Lane Lettich. Primarily a running back, Lettich did catch two screens against Sapulpa for 41 yards and a touchdown. Add to that his 116 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns and you can bet that the Chieftains wish he had stayed home. This game was also a season-best for Lettich.
Payton Scott will be a household name by the time he graduates. With 247 rushing yards this season and 326 yards total offense, you wouldn’t believe this kid is just a sophomore. As the only freshman to regularly start last season, he’s already established himself as a major threat.
Now that you’ve got your cast, here’s your story.
The Highway 97 rivalry is one of the longest running, most passionate rivalries in the state. Fights are almost a guarantee at every game and tonight was no exception. Sapulpa has the edge on overall wins with a 45-41-3 record against the Sandites, but the Minutemen have won the last two meetings 79-23 and are 7-3 over the last decade.
It was clear going into the game who the favorite was, but in a rivalry matchup, you just never know what might happen.
It didn’t take the Sandites long to prove this game would be far from an upset. On the second play of the game, less than 20 second in, Greathouse connected with Fleischman on a 56 yard pass and kicker Kasey Bales sent home the point-after to establish the lead.
Sapulpa threatened immediately, however, and it looked like the game might very well be shoot-out. It wouldn’t be the first time the two teams went total offense against each other. In 2013 the Chieftains won a home game 49-32 against the Sandites and in 2009 the Sandites trumped Sapulpa 49-45.
Sophomore wide-receiver Gerquan Sanders caught a 9-yard pass from Sapulpa quarterback Jarrett Dilley for a first down, then on the next play caught a pass for 40 yards and was barely pushed out of bounds at the Sand Springs’ one yard-line. Penalties pushed the Sapulpa offense back to the Sandite 27, but they kept bringing the heat up until your fifth key player stepped up.
Enter junior Treyce Tolbert with an endzone interception to squelch the Sapulpa heat and remind the Chieftains why Sand Springs is known to have the best defense in the state.
Twelve plays later, Sapulpa showed some defense of their own and finally put a bit of a stop up against the Sandites on third and 16. They couldn’t, however, put up a stop against a 26 yard field goal by Bales and the visitors took a 10-0 lead.
The Cheiftains took possession at their 25 but were unable to convert a first down and sent the ball right back to their rivals.
Sand Springs converted two first downs before the first quarter reached its end and barely two minutes into the second period Lettich found the endzone on a 16 yard run. After a failed 2pt conversion, the Sandites led 16-0.
Sapulpa could barely even keep their hands on the ball and fumbled it on the very next play. The Sandites capitalized on it with a 7 yard carry by Lettich and an extra point by Bales for the 23-0 lead and a first half shut-out.
Sapulpa received the ball to start the second half and finally got on the board after what began as a successful drive finally sputtered out. The Chieftains were held from the endzone, but Senior Paige McCracken was able to connect on a career-long 38 yard field goal.
Eight snaps later, Greathouse found Lettich for a screen that resulted in a 34-yard touchdown and a 30-3 lead.
Once again, the greatest defense in the state struck on an interception by Cole Dixon before the Sapulpans had even moved the ball three yards. Greathouse connected with Fleischman for a 31 yard touchdown and the Bales PAT was good for a 37-3 lead.
Bales kicked off and I’m starting to feel like I’m repeating myself. Treyce Tolbert right away with a fumble recovery on the first play of Sapulpa’s drive. Two handoffs to Payton Scott later and it was time to send in the JV crew after Sand Springs led 44-3.
Sapulpa finally set foot in the Sand Springs end zone after an 8-play 70-yard drive with less than four minutes in the game on a 16-yard run by Dae Williams. The McCracken PAT brought the game to a final score of 44-10.
Running back Dae Williams was the stand-out player for Sapulpa with the lone touchdown and 112 yards of total offense.
Sapulpa drops to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in district play with their lone win being a 55-0 shutout of 5A Nathan Hale. Sapulpa will travel to Bixby next Thursday.
Sand Springs is 2-3 overall and 2-1 in district play after having to forfeit two pre-district victories due to an ineligible player. Sand Springs will next take on Ponca City at home on Thursday night.