By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Sand Springs has had a lot of big names in the running back position, but not often have they had to share the spot. In the past, the Charles Page varsity football team would have one really talented running back who did 90% of the lifting. This season has been a lot different.
Had Lane Lettich and Payton Scott arrived at different times in school history, it wouldn't be unbelievable for each of them to have well over 1500 yards per season. As it is, the two combine for nearly 2000 yards and nearly 91% of the Sandite ground game.
Lettich is a senior and is the starter at tail back. He's currently sitting at 207 carries for 1059 yards and 17 touchdowns, not to mention his 12-231 and 2 touchdown receiving record this season.
Lettich is a powerhouse, and is resilient against sturdy defenders. Averaging just over 5 yards-per-carry, the bulk of his carries are head to head against the D-line and battles of strength. Lettich is the go-to guy on 4th and short conversions and goal-line-to-go touchdowns. His longest carry this season came against Stillwater. He needed about 60 yards that game to cross the thousand-mark, and he did it the first time he touched the ball--rushing for 70 yards before getting dragged down in the Pioneer redzone.
Scott is only a sophomore, and one of the only freshman to play last season. Not only did he play, he played well with over 200 rushing yards--the fourth best on the team. This season he has 861 yards on only 112 carries for 8 touchdowns.
The kid is a juggernaut. He's only 5'6", but once he gets some momentum going, he's gone. Not only is he fast, but he's crafty, and finds the tinniest of holes to blow through and pick up first downs in single plays. He frequently breaks tackles and often drags two or even three defenders for 5+ yards after contact.
Lettich led the ground-game for Sand Springs last season too, but was held to only 823 yards and 5 touchdowns on 169 carries. Not only did Lettich and Scott have to split time with each other, but they also had dual threat QB Conner Sitton and all-purpose Davey Thayer to share the ball with. Those two combined for another 669 yards.
The problem with having so many great runners to share time with is you don't get your fair shot at breaking records or recording huge games like some runners have in the past when they were the solo threat on the ground.
Lettich has led the ground game in 10 of 12 games this season, and 9 of 12 games last season. His biggest single-game record was last season when he brought 143 yards against Muskogee. This year he got close against Sapulpa when he ran for 133, but it was Scott with the biggest single-game record this season.
Scott has led the run game twice this season. Once against Guthrie--a game that was cancelled for lightning shortly before the half. Then, in week 7, he hit 200 against Ponca City, the first time a Sandite RB has done so since Terrance Dixon walked all over Tulsa Memorial in 2009 for 334 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Dixon rushed for 1597 yards his senior year and went on to play for Northeastern State University where he ran up a career record of 1945 all-purpose yards for 18 touchdowns over three seasons.
Raymond McLaurin came close to the 200-mark in 2012 when he ran up 191 yards against Sapulpa and over 1100 for the season.
Both Lettich and Scott will be going into Friday's State Championship game with high hopes as they have the opportunity to bring home the school's first title in 49 years.
The last time the Sandites played Bixby was in week 10 when they dealt the defending state-champs their first shut out since 2007 in a 20-0 rout at Sand Springs. Lettich shouldn't have too hard of a time crossing the 1100 mark and Scott should easily cross 900, but he will need to pull out his second-largest performance of the season if he hopes to cross 1000. The two combined for only 145 yards on 36 carries in the week 10 game.