For the third week in a row the Charles Page High School football team blew a halftime lead and gave up a down-to-the-wire heart-breaker. The 29-27 Homecoming loss to Bartlesville dropped the Sandites to 1-5 on the season and likely knocked the Sandites out of playoff contention.
Technically they could still qualify for the post-season, but they would need to win out and upset the two top teams in the district. A win over Bartlesville was desperately needed.
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The Sandites racked up three first downs on a methodical first drive to the Bruin 37 yard line. Joel Mackey took a handoff on a crucial third-and-eleven. He suffered a hard hit around the first down marker, but recovered with a pirouette and a drunken pirate stumble into the endzone for the first score of the game. Jaden Weiser’s point-after kick sailed true to make it 7-0 at the 8:40 mark.
Both sides of the ball were effective for the Sandites in the next few minutes as the defense forced a quick three-and-out and the offense scored in only four plays. Senior quarterback Caden Pennington hit sophomore standout Daren Hawkins from 38 yards out for the 13-0 lead, but a two-point play was no good.
The Bruins found their footing from there, scoring four plays later on a 49-yard pass from Ben Winters to Nicolus Tessier. Dylan McCoy’s kick cut it to 13-7 with 4:54 in the first quarter, but Pennington restored the two-score lead with a 34-yarder to Hawkins and Weiser put back another kick to make it 20-7.
Then came Bartlesville’s long climb back.
Laken Clowdus scored on a 24-yard run on the opening drive of the second quarter, though the extra-point was no good. The Bruins made a fourth-down stand at their own 25 and marched to the Sandite red zone, but Sand Springs held them to fourth-and-goal from the five and a field goal attempt from McCoy sailed wide.
The Sandites took a knee with a 20-13 halftime lead that would soon evaporate.
Luke Bratcher forced a fumble for freshman Kaden Glass to recover on the Bruins’ first possession of the second half, but Mackey fumbled the ball right back on the very next play.
Bartlesville returned to the red zone soon after and Taton Hopkins took over kicking duties with a 34-yard field goal.
The Bruins got another turnover on the Sandites’ next possession as Elijah Williams ripped the ball from Pennington’s arms and almost took it to the house. Only one Sandite stood between Williams and the end zone, but tailback Trey Wilkerson made the tackle to save the score. It wouldn’t matter, however, as the Bruins scored four minutes later on a one-yard keeper. The Bruins had their first lead of the night at 23-20.
After trading off punts the Sandites got back out in front with 3:29 to play, scoring on a nineteen-yard pass from Pennington to Braden Foster. Weiser’s kick made it 27-23.
An explosive performance from Clowdus marched the ball to the one yard-line, setting up Winters for the game-winning score. Mackey blocked the extra point and Pennington made a 29-yard pass to Foster, setting up a Hail Mary scenario at the 48-yard line with five seconds left. Shane Simpson ended the game with an interception to seal the victory.
Pennington ended the night 6-13-138-1 passing and led the ground game with thirteen carries for 95 yards. Winters was 16-22-221-0 for the Bruins. Hayden Cramer led the defense in total tackles with twelve, but Bratcher led in unassisted takedowns with eight, including a five-yard sack.
Sand Springs Football (1-5, 0-3) will return to action Friday at 7:00 p.m. with a road game in Ponca City (0-6, 0-3).
OSSAA 6A-II District 2 Standings
3-0 Bixby (44 district points)
2-1 Booker T. Washington (16)
2-1 Sapulpa (-9)
2-1 Muskogee (23)
2-1 Shawnee (-9)
1-2 Bartlesville (-18)
0-3 Sand Springs (-18)
0-3 Ponca City (-29)