Final Season rankings and State Championship analysis/prediction

Bixby's Tucker Pawley ran for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Semi-Finals. Photo: Morgan Miller

Bixby's Tucker Pawley ran for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Semi-Finals. Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

No. 1 Bixby Spartans (Last week No. 2, preseason No. 1) vs No. 2 Lawton Wolverines (Last week No. 5, preseason No. 8)

The State Championship Semi-final games came to a close Friday with a big upset for Lawton, setting the Wolverines up for a rematch of their 2014 State Finals game. The two-time defending State Champions from Bixby defeated the Sandites for the third-straight year in a nail-bitter and will now take on their toughest offensive opponent since losing to Muskogee in week five. 

Bixby has the more explosive record against mutual opponents, winning by an average score of 44-18, compared to Lawton's 29-22, however, Lawton is 4-0 against mutual opponents while the Spartans are 3-1. Muskogee topped Bixby 45-42 in a week-five shootout after winning the turnover battle, while the Wolverines topped the Roughers 35-28 by winning the turnover battle. 

This season has seen an unprecedented amount of parity and circular losses as the Division-II teams that never had a shot in 6A-I are revitalizing their programs in a highly competitive year with numerous newcomers to contention. Choctaw upset Midwest City and Lawton; Lawton upset Muskogee; Putnam West upset Sand Springs; Stillwater upset Edmond Memorial and Mustang; Deer Creek upset Stillwater; Muskogee upset Bixby; Sand Springs upset Muskogee; Booker T. upset Sand Springs. In a season this wild, anything could happen.

That being said, Bixby is still the clear favorite to win--for many reasons. Bixby doesn't lose without major mistakes and miracle plays. They have three losses this season, and two were to annual powerhouse teams. 6A-I No. 1 Jenks was ranked as high as 23rd in the nation by MaxPreps before they lost in a 45-21 upset to No. 3 Union. The Trojans topped the Spartans in a close 38-34 come-from-behind battle in week two in their closest match of the season. The next Spartan loss was 44-34 to Arkansas 7A No. 4 Bentonville (10-2). Bixby's loss to Muskogee came on the heels of three turnovers in a game that the Spartans dominated offensively. 

Lawton has battled through a slightly weaker schedule with bigger losses and closer wins. They lost 56-41 to 5A No. 3 Carl Albert (11-1), 35-28 to 5A No. 1 MacArthur (12-0), and 20-17 to Midwest City (7-4). Though those were all respectable losses to quality teams, they have several other blights on their schedule. They gave up 37 points to Eisenhower (2-8), only beat Putnam City (4-6) by a close 26-14, and Stillwater (5-6) 21-14. They then gave up a massive 52-26 loss to Choctaw (5-5). Though their four-straight wins since then have been of solid quality, they simply don't match up to Bixby.

Bixby owns the number-two scoring defense, while Lawton comes in at fifth. Bixby is sixth in offensive points allowed, Lawton is seventh. Lawton has a slight edge on Bixby defensively when it comes to yards per play, both rushing and passing, but the Spartans have the most dominant scoring offense in the State, by a significant margin. While the Wolverines are fourth in scoring, the Spartans are first with 41.5 points per game. Lawton has the edge in the air, but Bixby has the top run game in the State.

Their overall records indicate a close game, but when you limit it to their four mutual opponents, Bixby emerges as the clear favorite. Lawton has actually under-performed their foes offensively, while winning on turnovers. Bixby out performs their opponents by nearly 200 yards, while also winning the turnover battle every time.

The Spartans are back-to-back defending State Champions with an 8-0 post-season record over the last three years. Lawton is 0-2 against the Spartans over the last two seasons, falling 35-21 in the 2014 State Title game to end the season 11-2. Last year the Wolverines lost to Bixby in the quarterfinals 36-6 to finish the year 8-2.

Wolverines (8-4, 5-2)

defeated Putnam City 26-14
defeated Booker T. 21-20
defeated Putnam West 35-28
defeated Muskogee 35-28

Average score: 29-23
First downs: 15
Allowed: 17
Fumbles-lost: 7-2 (total)
Recoveries: 3 (total)
Interceptions thrown: 3 (total)
Interceptions caught: 8 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 7-62

C-A-Y: 9-17-146
Average: 8.58
Allowed: 16-28-200
Average: 7.14

Rushes-Yards: 37-166
Average: 4.48
Allowed: 37-115
Average: 3.1

Plays-Yards: 54-312
Average: 5.77
Allowed: 65-315
Average: 4.84

Spartans (9-3, 5-1)

defeated Putnam City 56-20
defeated Booker T. 28-0
defeated Putnam West 49-7
lost 45-42 to Muskogee

Average score: 44-18
First downs: 23
Allowed: 10
Fumbles-lost: 6-3 (total)
Recoveries: 4 (total)
Interceptions thrown: 2 (total)
Interceptions caught: 9 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 10-92

C-A-Y: 24-38-256
Average: 6.73
Allowed: 14-30-220-2
Average: 7.33

Rushes-Yards: 44-196
Average: 4.45
Allowed: 21-40
Average: 1.9

Plays-Yards: 82-452
Average: 5.51
Allowed: 51-260
Average: 5.09

The Pick: Bixby 30, Lawton 24.

No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites (Last week No. 3, preseason No. 2)

The Charles Page High School Sandites (7-5, 4-2) don't have the record or the stats to indicate a top-four team, but they have the kind of Sandite magic that ends up on ESPN Sportscenter and upsets number-one ranked teams. The Sandite Defense is tenth in points allowed and ninth in yards per play allowed, but second in scoring. Offensively they were only eighth in yards per play, but fifth in scoring. The Sandites had several big wins, including a 35-7 rout of Highway 97 rival Sapulpa, a 56-35 shootout with Ponca City, a 26-25 upset of top-ranked Muskogee, and a 23-14 win at Midwest City.

No. 4 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 1, preseason No. 4)

Muskogee may not have won their first State Championship in thirty years, but they did finish with a District Title and their first winning record since 2008 at 9-2, 5-1. The Roughers boast the number one yards-per-play offense in the state and won several notable games. They bested District One Champion Midwest City 16-12, upset Bixby 45-42, dominated Booker T. Washington 23-7, and shut out Ponca City 48-0. Their offense was second in scoring, fifth rushing, and first passing. Their defense also played lights-out all season and are first in scoring and second in offensive points allowed with the second-best pass coverage. 

No. 5 Midwest City Bombers (Last week No. 4, preseason No. 5)

Midwest City finished an impressive season with a 7-4, 6-1 record and the District One Title, after being knocked out of playoff contention by the Sandites. High points included a 20-17 win over Lawton, and a 35-0 shutout of Deer Creek. The Bombers can boast one of the most talented defenses in the state with first place in points allowed and yards per play allowed against both passing and running offenses. They also hold the fifth-best passing offense in the division.

No. 6 Booker T. Washington Hornets (Last week No. 6, preseason No. 3)

The Hornets finished the season with a 6-5, 4-2 record that could likely have been much better with a healthy quarterback in the end of the season. High points included a 21-14 win over District One Champion Midwest City, a 47-0 shutout of Ponca City, a 45-0 shutout of Sapulpa, and a 17-12 upset over then-No.1 Sand Springs. Their season came to a close with a close 21-20 loss at Lawton. The Hornets hold the number four scoring defense and were fourth in points allowed. Their run-coverage was second only to Midwest City.

No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (Last week No. 7, preseason No. 14)

The Patriots may not have made it past the first round of the playoffs, but they had their best season in decades and were unfortunately paired with the top-scoring team in the State. The Pats finished 7-4, 5-2, with the number five defense in the state in points allowed, and second in yards-per-play allowed. Offensively they were seventh in scoring, and sixth in yards-per-play. High points included winning the Putnam rivalry with a 16-5 win over North and a 42-10 win over Putnam City. 

No. 8 Stillwater Pioneers (Last week No. 8, preseason No. 10)

Stillwater finished the season 5-6, 3-4, but were a much better team than their record indicates. Starting QB Jace Brownlee has struggled all season with a shoulder injury and has missed several games. Even when he could play, the team was rarely able to pass. High points included a 24-7 upset of Edmond Memorial and 34-26 upset of Mustang. The defense was third in the division in offensive points allowed, and their offense was second in rushing.

No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (Last week No. 9, preseason No. 9)

The Yellowjackets finished a hit-or-miss season with a 5-5, 3-4 record and just barely missed the playoffs. High points included a 45-41 upset over Sand Springs, a 14-7 upset over Midwest City, and most impressively, a 52-26 upset over Lawton. Choctaw holds the number three offense in the State in scoring, and is fifth in yards-per-play. They struggled defensively, however, and finished ninth in points-allowed with almost every game being a shootout.

No. 10 Putnam City Pirates (Last week No. 10, preseason No. 7)

Putnam finished 4-6, 2-5. High points included a 16-7 win over in-town rival Putnam North and a 52-6 blowout of El Reno. They also upset Choctaw 36-32 and finished the season on a strong note with a 42-21 victory over Enid. They finished eleventh in offensive scoring and ninth in total offense and were sixth in the air. Their defense was solid at eighth in points allowed and fifth in yards-per-play allowed.

No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (Last week No. 11, preseason No. 12)

Enid managed only three wins, but two were quite impressive, upsetting Choctaw 43-39 and dominating Deer Creek 45-17. They finished the season 3-7, 2-5 with a 42-21 loss to Putnam. They finished with the number ten offense and number twelve defense and were sixth in yards per rush.

No. 12 Bartlesville Bruins (Last week No. 12, preseason No. 6)

The Bruins struggled off and on throughout the year, but finished strong despite three-straight losses. They gave it their all against Sand Springs and Booker T. and legitimately challenged both. They finished 3-6, 2-4 with wins of 42-20 over Ponca City and 51-28 over Sapulpa. They held the number six offense in points scored, but were actually fourth in yards-per-play with the number three passing record in the division. Defense was their struggle and they finished fourteenth in points allowed, eleventh in yards per play, but an impressive fifth in yards per pass.

No. 13 Deer Creek Antlers (Last week No. 13, preseason No. 11)

The Antlers had a rough start to their 6A debut season, finishing 2-8, 2-5 with wins of 21-14 over Stillwater and 20-14 over Putnam. They were shutout 49-0 in the finale at Lawton and finish with the number fourteen offense and number thirteen defense.

No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (Last week No. 14, preseason No. 13)

Sapulpa has been in a rebuilding year under new head coach Robert Borgstadt, but the Chieftains (1-9, 1-5) have shown promise. They only won a single game, 31-27 over Ponca City, but lost close ones of 24-21 to Duncan, and 52-42 to Choctaw. They finished thirteenth in running, scoring, and total offense, and tenth in the air. Defensively they were fifteenth in points allowed, run coverage, and total defense, and thirteenth in pass coverage.

No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (Last week No. 15, preseason No. 15)

The Wildcats finished 2-8, 0-6, but had several solid performances. They lost 42-31 to Enid, defeated Guthrie 9-0, and posted 35 points against Sand Springs. They barely lost 31-27 to Sapulpa and defeated Norman 10-6. Ponca finished the season fifteenth in total offense and tenth in offensive scoring. They were eleventh in points allowed, fourteenth in yards per play allowed, fifteenth in pass coverage, and eleventh in ground coverage.

Sandite of the Week: Delvin Jordan records three sacks against No. 4 Midwest City

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Charles Page High School senior Delvin Jordan is one of the most explosive line backers in recent memory for the No. 3 ranked Sand Springs Sandites (7-4) and leads his team this season with fifteen tackles for loss totaling 91 yards. 

The 6'0" 224-pound wrestler has also been awarded Sandite of the Week once before after winning the Regional Championship last winter. This is his first recognition on the gridiron and it comes on the heels of a 23-14 playoff victory over District One Champion No. 4 Midwest City, that can be credited majorly to the defense. 

Jordan was second on his team in total tackles, recording six, but led in tackles for loss with three sacks for 27 yards, a personal best for the young star. The Midwest City game brings his season-total to eight sacks for 64 yards. Last season he managed eight sacks (over thirteen games) for 36 yards and had fifteen tackles-for-loss totaling 64 yards. With at least one more game before him, possibly two, he has easily surpassed his already incredible record. He also recorded his third forced-fumble of the season.

His first tackle of the night came on a seventeen-yard kickoff return by Declaudio Irvin. Next he stopped a six-yard run by Tyree Young, followed by a seventeen-yard run by Young. He picked up his first sack in the third quarter, laying out Preston Colbert for a ten-yard loss on third down to force a punt. He found Colbert again on the Bombers' next possession, this time for a loss of twelve, to set them up at third and 32. The Bombers would punt again soon-after. Colbert just couldn't keep away from Jordan, who hit him once again for a strip sack on their next possession and a loss of five with ten minutes to play. 

Ultimately the Sandites prevailed over the home team thanks to turnovers, despite under-performing offensively. 

Jordan's father, Delvin Jordan Sr., was also a star on the Sandite football team when he was quarterback from 1993-1994. The Sandites went 7-4 during Jordan Sr.'s junior year and fell 24-7 in the playoffs to the eventual State Champion, No. 1 Jenks (13-1). 

The Sandites will take on No. 2 Bixby (8-3) this Friday night at Sapulpa in their third-straight State Semi-final appearance. They met Bixby in the semi-finals in 2014 and were defeated, then lost to Bixby last year in the State Championship.


Sandite of the Week is a weekly recognition given to any one person with significant ties to the Sand Springs community who accomplishes remarkable achievements during the Sunday through Saturday week preceding the award. Prior achievements may be noted in the article, but do not bear direct influence on the selection committee which only considers prior week accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by anyone by emailing SanditePrideNews@gmail.com. The award is not given to anyone in consecutive weeks, but any recipient may be nominated and awarded again in the future, so long as the weeks are not consecutive. Final selection is made by a majority vote of the Sandite Pride Editorial Board.

Businesses or organizations seeking to sponsor the Sandite of the Week award may contact the above email for inquiries.

Week 12 6A-II Rankings and Playoff predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

The first round of the playoffs came to a close Saturday with some surprisingly close games, but no upsets, and the Sandite Pride post-season picks are perfect thus far. 

No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites (Last week No. 3) vs No. 2 Bixby Spartans (2)

Sand Springs (7-4) beat the spread to win a defensive showdown against District One Champion Midwest City (7-4) on the Bombers' turf, for the second time in three years. Midwest City has got to be getting frustrated with the Sandites by this point, but they'll have to wait till next year for payback as the Sandites advance to the semi-finals for a rematch of last year's State Championship game. 

Sand Springs executed well on both offense and defense and won the game though consistency and discipline. The Bombers slightly outperformed on both offensive yards per play, and defensive yards-per-play allowed, but gave up 89 yards on 11 penalties, with four of those committed in their own redzone. The home team gave up multiple first downs on penalties, and gave up a safety with a block-in-the-back in their own endzone. The Sandites also won the turnover battle with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. QB Hunter Greathouse completed 9 of 18 passes for 140 yards, but this was the first game of the season without a passing touchdown after multiple endzone attempts were dropped by the receivers. Payton Scott ended with 36 carries for 139 yards and two scores. 

Bixby (8-3) absolutely steamrolled their opponents in Putnam City West for the most dominating playoff performance in the division at 49-7. QB Tanner Griffin completed 15 of 30 passes for 254 yards and five scores. The Spartans were mildly stymied on the ground with 34 carries for 134 yards, which is below their average, but still impressive considering the Patriots hold the number three run defense in the division. 

Sand Springs and Bixby already met once this season and the Spartans prevailed 35-19 to remain undefeated at home and spoil the Sandites' district title. Bixby had the home field advantage in the game, and the two teams have a habit of splitting wins. Last year Bixby lost to both Sand Springs and Bartlesville in the regular season, then beat both in the playoffs, while the Sandites lost to Booker T. Washington in the regular season and won in the playoffs. The parity of the division means anything is possible, and Sand Springs already has a win over Muskogee, who beat Bixby. 

Bixby boasts the top scoring offense in the State with 45 points per game, while the Sandites are fifth with 28 points per game. Sand Springs, however, has a habit of playing to their opponents' skill level. The Spartans have the number one run game and number two passing offense in the state, while the Sandites are only ninth in run coverage and eleventh in pass coverage. The two teams are tied for defensive scoring with both teams holding 28 total points this season. The Sandite offense is fifth in scoring, seventh in yards-per-play, and sixth in yards-per-rush. The Spartan defense is nearly identical to the Sandite defense in all areas but pass coverage, where they're significantly better. 

The two teams will meet at Sapulpa High School Stadium Friday at 7:00 p.m. where the Sandites upset Booker T. Washington in last year's semifinal game. 

The pick: Bixby 26, CPHS 24.

No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (1) vs No. 5 Lawton Wolverines (6)

Muskogee (9-1) has been heavily favored throughout the season, and was picked by a 31-point margin over the Stillwater Pioneers (5-6), leaving things very uncertain after barely coming from behind for a 24-22 win. 

The Pioneers took a 14-0 lead at the Indian Bowl before the Roughers scored three straight to reclaim the lead. Stillwater made a gutsy two-point conversion on their next play to take the lead, but Trent Dennis sent a 28-yard field goal through the uprights for the final score with 0:05 remaining. Stillwater utilized a run-only offense, racking up 403 yards on 66 rushes without a single pass attempt. Muskogee was 24 for 91 yards on the ground, and QB Jacob Medrano completed 23 of 30 passes for 309 yards and three scores. 

Lawton (7-4) was caught off guard by the return of Booker T. Washington (6-5) QB Phillip Wheatley who was expected to be out for the season, and barely pulled off a 21-20 victory in a game that they were picked to win by twelve. They took an early 14-0 lead with a pair of touchdown passes from Zack Hanna to Dominick Neal, but Wheatley responded with a 66-yard throw to DJ Jones and another pass to Trace Linn. A missed PAT proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Lawton managed only 27 yards on 32 carries against the Hornets who hold the number two run coverage in the state. Hanna was prolific in the air, however, managing 220 yards on 22 pass attempts.

Overall the Wolverines are fourth in offensive scoring with 33 points per game, while the Roughers are second with 39.5 points per game. The Roughers are also third in defensive scoring with 24 total points this season and second in points allowed, while Lawton is seventh in both defensive scoring and points allowed. Lawton will likely be able to run slightly better than in their last game, but will have a far tougher foe in the air as the Roughers are second in pass coverage.

The pick: Muskogee 31, Lawton 21.

No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (4)

Midwest City finished an impressive season with a 7-4, 6-1 record and the District One Title, after being knocked out of playoff contention by the Sandites. High points included a 20-17 win over Lawton, and a 35-0 shutout of Deer Creek. The Bombers can boast one of the most talented defenses in the state with first place in points allowed and yards per play allowed against both passing and running offenses. They also hold the fifth-best passing offense in the division.

No. 6 Booker T. Washington Hornets (5)

The Hornets finished the season with a 6-5, 4-2 record that could likely have been much better with a healthy quarterback in the end of the season. High points included a 21-14 win over District One Champion Midwest City, a 47-0 shutout of Ponca City, a 45-0 shutout of Sapulpa, and a 17-12 upset over then-No.1 Sand Springs. Their season came to a close with a close 21-20 loss at Lawton. The Hornets hold the number four scoring defense and allowed and were fifth in offensive points allowed. Their run-coverage was second only to Midwest City.

No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (7)

The Patriots may not have made it past the first round of the playoffs, but they had their best season in decades and were unfortunately paired with the top-scoring team in the State. The Pats finished 7-4, 5-2, with the number three defense in the state in points allowed, and second in yards-per-play allowed. Offensively they were seventh in scoring, and sixth in yards-per-play. High points included winning the Putnam rivalry with a 16-5 win over North and a 42-10 win over Putnam City. 

No. 8 Stillwater Pioneers (8)

Stillwater finished the season 5-6, 3-4, but were a much better team than their record indicates. Starting QB Jace Brownlee has struggled all season with a shoulder injury and has missed several games. Even when he could play, the team was rarely able to pass. High points included a 24-7 upset of Edmond Memorial and 34-26 upset of Mustang. The defense was fourth in the division in offensive points allowed, and their offense was third in rushing.

No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (9)

The Yellowjackets finished a hit-or-miss season with a 5-5, 3-4 record and just barely missed the playoffs. High points included a 45-41 upset over Sand Springs, a 14-7 upset over Midwest City, and most impressively, a 52-26 upset over Lawton. Choctaw holds the number three offense in the State in scoring, and is fifth in yards-per-play. They struggled defensively, however, and finished ninth in points-allowed with almost every game being a shootout.

No. 10 Putnam City Pirates (10)

Putnam was just one win short of a winning season, finishing 4-6, 2-5. High points included a 16-7 win over in-town rival Putnam North and a 52-6 blowout of El Reno. They also upset Choctaw 36-32 and finished the season on a strong note with a 42-21 victory over Enid. They finished twelfth in offensive scoring and ninth in total offense and were fifth in the air. Their defense was solid at seventh in points allowed and fifth in yards-per-play.

No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (11)

Enid managed only three wins, but two were quite impressive, upsetting Choctaw 43-39 and dominating Deer Creek 45-17. They finished the season 3-7, 2-5 with a 42-21 loss to Putnam. They finished with the number ten offense and number twelve defense.

No. 12 Bartlesville Bruins (12)

The Bruins struggled off and on throughout the year, but finished strong despite three-straight losses. They gave it their all against Sand Springs and Booker T. and legitimately challenged both. They finished 3-6, 2-4 with wins of 42-20 over Ponca City and 51-28 over Sapulpa. They held the number eight offense in points scored, but were actually fourth in yards-per-play with the number two passing record in the division. Defense was their struggle and they finished fourteenth there.

No. 13 Deer Creek Antlers (13)

The Antlers had a rough start to their 6A debut season, finishing 2-8, 2-5 with wins of 21-14 over Stillwater and 20-14 over Putnam. They were shutout 49-0 in the finale at Lawton and finish with the number fourteen offense and number thirteen defense.

No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)

Sapulpa has been in a rebuilding year under new head coach Robert Borgstadt, but the Chieftains (1-9, 1-5) have shown promise. They only won a single game, 31-27 over Ponca City, but lost close ones of 24-21 to Duncan, and 52-42 to Choctaw. They finished thirteenth in running, scoring, and total offense, and fifteenth on the ground. Defensively they were fifteenth in points allowed, run coverage, and total defense, and thirteenth in pass coverage.

No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (15)

The Wildcats finished 2-8, 0-6, but had several solid performances. They lost 42-31 to Enid, defeated Guthrie 9-0, and posted 35 points against Sand Springs. They barely lost 31-27 to Sapulpa and defeated Norman 10-6. Ponca finished the season fifteenth in total offense and eleventh in points allowed. They were tenth in points allowed, fourteenth in yards per play allowed, fifteenth in pass coverage, and tenth in ground coverage.

 

Sandite of the Week: Josh Taber tears up the Bixby offense and the classroom

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

Charles Page High School senior Josh Taber was selected as Sandite of the Week for his outstanding performance both on the football field and in the classroom. 

The 5'11" 160 pound defensive back and wide receiver led his team in unassisted tackles this past week in the regular season finale at Bixby and was also recently given commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Taber hasn't spent much time in the receiver slot this season, holding four receptions for 28 yards. Last season he hauled in five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. He seems to have found his niche in the secondary where he's sitting at 35 tackles for this season, with only three assisted. He has recorded one tackle for a loss of two yards and also holds five breakups for the season. 

Last Friday Taber recorded a career-high ten tackles, all unassisted, including the one for loss and one for no gain. All but two of his tackles stopped the ball carrier short of the first down. In the final stanza, as the Sandites definitely needed a turnover, he was stride for stride with the carrier on his last three tackles trying to wrestle the ball away. Though he wasn't able to force a fumble, he fought hard to try and give his offense another shot and played near-perfect defense. 

Taber was also one of two Charles Page High School students to receive commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program as a result of his performance on the PSAT-National Merit Qualifying Test.

In addition to football, he is a talented athlete on both the Sandite basketball and baseball teams. He finished last spring with a .363 batting average with 34 singles, 3 doubles, 21 RBI, 31 runs, and 7 sacrifices on 102 at bats. He was 23 of 28 stealing bases. Last winter he finished the basketball season with 33 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block. He will likely see increased action this year as a senior.

This is his first time being named Sandite of the Week, though he has been a finalist many times. His older brother, Jacob, was also named Sandite of the Week last December, and his younger sister, Jacie, was named Sandite of the Week in August. Josh is the son of Amy and Ronnie Taber. Ronnie is a member of the Sandite football coaching staff.

SEE RELATED: Sandites of the Week for August through September
SEE RELATED: Sandite of the Week: Jacob Taber


Sandite of the Week is a weekly recognition given to any one person with significant ties to the Sand Springs community who accomplishes remarkable achievements during the Sunday through Saturday week preceding the award. Prior achievements may be noted in the article, but do not bear direct influence on the selection committee which only considers prior week accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by anyone by emailing SanditePrideNews@gmail.com. The award is not given to anyone in consecutive weeks, but any recipient may be nominated and awarded again in the future, so long as the weeks are not consecutive. Final selection is made by a majority vote of the Sandite Pride Editorial Board.

Businesses or organizations seeking to sponsor the Sandite of the Week award may contact the above email for inquiries.

Week 11 6A-II Rankings and Playoff predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Scott Emigh.

Photo: Scott Emigh.

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

The regular season has come to a close with few surprises. All four of Sandite Pride's pre-season top four picks from District Two have made the playoffs. We only picked two of four post-season qualifiers from District One accurately, but with the circular losses in that district, it's not surprising. Here's our season review for those who have finished play for the year, and our picks for the post-season.

No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (Last week No. 5) vs No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites (2)

While the Sandites (6-4, 4-2) gave up a hard loss to the Spartans, the Bombers (7-3, 6-1) gave up a surprisingly close battle with Stillwater to close the regular season with the District Two Championship. 

This game will likely be a major defensive battle as Midwest City holds the best defense in the State when it comes to points allowed, by a significant margin. They allow only 3.413 yards per play, 2.165 yards per run, and 5.278 yards per pass. Sand Springs is sixth on yards per carry, and managed a surprising 4.71 yards per carry against Bixby, who normally only allows 3.94. They also ran for 3.914 against Muskogee who normally allows only 3.023. Sand Springs is eighth in passing yards per play, so if they're to overcome the two-pronged Bomber defense, they'll definitely need to get creative.

The Bombers will have an equally difficult time against Sand Springs, as they have relied almost entirely on their defense this season. Midwest City is eleventh in offensive scoring and only eighth in yards-per-play. Sand Springs is tenth in points allowed, but third in defensive points scored and wins the turnover battle more often than not. While they give up more yards-per-play than a lot of teams, they're 71% on third-down stops this season. 

The winner of this game will take on the winner of Bixby vs Putnam West.

The pick: CPHS 24, MWC 23.

No. 2 Bixby Spartans (3) vs No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (8)

The Spartans (7-3, 5-1) upended the Sandites (6-4, 4-2) Friday night 35-19 at Spartan Stadium to secure a home playoff game and will host the Putnam West Patriots (7-3, 5-2). 

The Sandite defense performed well, holding the Spartans to their closest win of the season, giving up only five scores on twelve possessions, forcing two turnovers on downs, and three punts, as well as recovering a fumble and an interception. 

Bixby was one step better, however, giving up only three scores on twelve possessions, forcing two turnovers on downs with four punts, a fumble, and an interception. The Spartans split time between land and air as Tanner Griffin passed 24 of 33 for 254 yards and an interception. All four offensive touchdowns came at the hands of Tucker Pawley who carried 36 times for 248 yards and four scores, while Clayton Barbour added a fifth touchdown on a 95-yard kick return. 

Putnam City West pulled off an impressive 40-37 double-overtime win against Choctaw Friday, sabotaging the Yellowjackets' last ditch effort for a playoff berth. The Patriots ran 38 times for 204 yards and attempted 20 passes for 202 yards. 

The Spartans boast the number-one scoring offense in the division, while the Patriots own the number three defense in points-allowed. Bixby also holds the number-one scoring defense and the number-six defense in points-allowed. Putnam West has relied heavily on its defense this season and is only sixth in offensive scoring.

The pick: Bixby 44, PCW 22.

No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (1) vs No. 8 Stillwater Pioneers (9)

The Roughers (8-1, 5-1) finished the season with the best record in the division and the District Two Championship, thanks to the Spartan's defeat of Sand Springs. They sealed the deal with a powerful 48-0 shutout of Ponca City. 

Stillwater (5-5, 3-4) closed out the regular season with a loss and made the playoffs on head-to-head with Choctaw (5-5, 3-4). The Pioneers fell 26-17 to Midwest City in what was actually an impressive battle in spite of the loss. The Pioneers have been hit-or-miss this season majorly due to the health of starting QB Jace Brownlee. Brownlee has been recovering from a pre-season shoulder surgery, and his once stellar arm has seen little use. In spite of that loss, the Pioneers have ran miles on the turf and won games without even attempting a single pass. 

Muskogee's number-two scoring offense and number-one offense in yards-per-play will take on Stillwater's number-four defense in points allowed. The Pioneers have made it on their defense this season, holding only the number-nine offense in the State, and will have their work cut out for them against Muskogee. The Roughers are number two in the division in points-allowed as well as defensive scoring. 

The winner of this match will face the winner of Lawton vs Booker T.

The pick: Muskogee 45, Stillwater 14.

No. 6 Lawton Wolverines (6) vs No. 5 Booker T. Washington Hornets (4)

Lawton (6-4, 5-2) settled for second in their district this year, but ended the regular season with a powerful 49-0 victory over Deer Creek. The Hornets (6-4, 4-2) barely scraped together a 57-39 win over Bartlesville that wasn't decided till the final few possessions. 

Lawton QB Zach Hanna was nearly perfect against Deer Creek, completing 12 of 14 passes for 226 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The run game was also alive and well where the Wolverines rushed 35 times for 201 yards and a pair of scores. 

Booker T. has been scrambling to figure out a success formula that doesn't include injured QB Phillip Wheatley. They were flying through their opponents before losing Wheatley and since then have barely gotten by. They should have lost 12-10 to Sand Springs but got a miraculous fumble recovery on a bad-hike at the Sandite two-yard line late in the fourth quarter to avert the loss. They suffered their first shutout in years 28-0 at the hands of Bixby, then closed the season with Bartlesville 

Booker T.'s defense is fifth in points allowed, fourth in yards-per-play, and tied for fourth in scoring. Lawton's offense is fourth in points scored, and third in yards-per-play, so if Booker T. wants to find a win, they're going to need to come up with something new on offense. Overall the Hornets are only seventh in offensive scoring and twelfth in yards-per-play, and that's including when they still had Wheatley. Without him, they'll have their work cut out for them against Lawton's defense which is eighth in points allowed and sixth in yards-per-play allowed. 

The pick: Lawton 36, BTW 24.

No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (7)

The Yellowjackets finished a hit-or-miss season with a 5-5, 3-4 record and just barely missed the playoffs. High points included a 45-41 upset over Sand Springs, a 14-7 upset over Midwest City, and most impressively, a 52-26 upset over Lawton. Choctaw holds the number three offense in the State in scoring, and is fifth in yards-per-play. They struggled defensively, however, and finished ninth in points-allowed with almost every game being a shootout.

No. 10 Putnam City Pirates (10)

Putnam was just one win short of a winning season, finishing 4-6, 2-5. High points included a 16-7 win over in-town rival Putnam North and a 52-6 blowout of El Reno. They also upset Choctaw 36-32 and finished the season on a strong note with a 42-21 victory over Enid. They finished twelfth in offensive scoring and ninth in total offense and were fifth in the air. Their defense was solid at seventh in points allowed and fifth in yards-per-play.

No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (11)

Enid managed only three wins, but two were quite impressive, upsetting Choctaw 43-39 and dominating Deer Creek 45-17. They finished the season 3-7, 2-5 with a 42-21 loss to Putnam. They finished with the number ten offense and number twelve defense.

No. 12 Bartlesville Bruins (13)

The Bruins struggled off and on throughout the year, but finished strong despite three-straight losses. They gave it their all against Sand Springs and Booker T. and legitimately challenged both. They finished 3-6, 2-4 with wins of 42-20 over Ponca City and 51-28 over Sapulpa. They held the number eight offense in points scored, but were actually fourth in yards-per-play with the number two passing record in the division. Defense was their struggle and they finished fourteenth there.

No. 13 Deer Creek Antlers (12)

The Antlers had a rough start to their 6A debut season, finishing 2-8, 2-5 with wins of 21-14 over Stillwater and 20-14 over Putnam. They were shutout 49-0 in the finale at Lawton and finish with the number fourteen offense and number thirteen defense.

No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)

Sapulpa has been in a rebuilding year under new head coach Robert Borgstadt, but the Chieftains (1-9, 1-5) have shown promise. They only won a single game, 31-27 over Ponca City, but lost close ones of 24-21 to Duncan, and 52-42 to Choctaw. They finished thirteenth in running, scoring, and total offense, and fifteenth on the ground. Defensively they were fifteenth in points allowed, run coverage, and total defense, and thirteenth in pass coverage.

No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (15)

The Wildcats finished 2-8, 0-6, but had several solid performances. They lost 42-31 to Enid, defeated Guthrie 9-0, and posted 35 points against Sand Springs. They barely lost 31-27 to Sapulpa and defeated Norman 10-6. Ponca finished the season fifteenth in total offense and eleventh in points allowed. They were tenth in points allowed, fourteenth in yards per play allowed, fifteenth in pass coverage, and tenth in ground coverage.

Sandites secure fifth-straight playoff berth, travel to Midwest City Friday

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The No. 2 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (6-4, 4-2) took on the No. 3 Bixby Spartans (7-3, 5-1) Friday night in a District Championship showdown at Spartan Stadium. The Sandites battled valiantly in their regular season finale, but fell 35-19 to take the number four seed going into the playoffs. 

It was a defensive showdown from the very beginning as the Spartans drove only 27 yards in 10 plays and the Sandites got a turnover on downs at their own 38 with some great pass defense.  They were unable to capitalize however, despite a pair of impressive third down conversion runs from Payton Scott, as receiver Kasey Bales gave up a fumble to Coby Tillman.

This time the Spartans wouldn’t be stymied as they pushed 69 yards to score in only six plays. Quarterback Tanner Griffin let loose a deep pass to Eric Calton-Watkins who was stopped by his own feet at the one yard line for a 51 yard gain. Tucker Pawley was stopped once on the run by Delvin Jordan, but found the endzone on his second attempt to take the lead. Jason Campbell sent in the point-after and the home team was off to a good start.

The Sandites started off their drive well with a 23 yard run from Scott, aided by stellar stride-for-stride blocking from tight-end Dash Fleischman. Scott nabbed another first down on an eleven yard run, but was brought to a stop for a loss of one on his next play. Two incompletions later and Greathouse punted away possession.

The Spartans picked up a first down with a 22-yard pass from Griffin to Sam Sherman to end the first quarter, then grabbed 18 yards on a Pawley run, who was barely brought down with a shoe-string tackle from Cody Motes. They drove the final fifty yards in seven plays, capped by a thirteen-yard run from Pawley to score and make it 14-0 shortly into the second quarter.

The Sandite offense found their legs on the next possession. Scott went down for a loss of three to start, but Greathouse connected with Mack Thompson for twelve and Scott tacked on the extra yard for the first down. Scott grabbed the next conversion as well with a 25 yard run before being brought down by Cade Cannon. Greathouse found Bales from forty yards out for the first Sandite score and Alex Hernandez tacked on the point-after to cut the deficit to 14-7.

Unfortunately for the Sandites, Clayton Barbour laid in wait for a 95 yard kickoff return to regain the two-score advantage.

Both teams exchanged possessions from there and the Sandites were next to strike. Caleb Wash hauled in a ten-yard screen from Greathouse, capped by a facemask penalty, and Scott ended the drive out with a 36-yard run to score. The point-after was blocked by Brendon Evers, and the Spartans had 1:40 to work with.

They made the most of it, driving 64 yards in nine plays, but a fourth and short fumble in the redzone saw Luke Bratcher come up with the ball to enter the half 21-13.

The third quarter didn’t start pretty for the Sandites as Greathouse barely recovered a fumbled hike, just to launch it ten yards short of his intended receiver and into the arms of Colton Tafoya. The Spartans capitalized, moving 76 yards on three runs, a pass, and a personal foul, to score on an eleven yard run by Pawley to make it 28-13.

The Sandites pushed 24 yards to midfield on their next possession and punted it away to Kordel Tyler who fumbled. The Sandites nearly had it but the ball squirted out and Drake Allen secured it for his team.

Delvin Jordan and the Sand Springs sideline thought they had a fumble recovery after what appeared to be a Tanner Griffin lateral fell incomplete, but it was ruled to be a forward pass.

The two teams traded punts from there until finally the Sandite offense found momentum late in the quarter. Greathouse hit Bales for 43 yards and nearly scored on the next play. The quarterback found Mack Thompson from 28 yards out, but the receiver was just a tad out of bounds in the back of the endzone. A pass interference call soon after put the Sandites in the redzone where Scott picked up another first down on a ten-yard run to end the third at the Spartan five.

On second and goal at the five, Scott managed to recover a fumbled handoff for no gain, then moved it up to the three but couldn’t find the endzone. On a fourth down the running back was stuffed and the Spartans got the ball.

They wouldn’t have it for long, however, as an interception from Tyler Delozier gave the Sandites a fresh set of downs, once again at the three. This time it Greathouse with the run and he scored from two yards out to cut the lead to 28-19. The extra point was no good, and the Sandites had 9:06 to score twice.

The Spartans pushed it to a three-score lead on their next possession, driving 65 yards in eleven plays, capped by a five-yard run from Pawley. The next Sandite drive made it to the Spartan 39 before giving up a turnover on downs. On the Spartans final possession they pushed as far as the Sandite 16 before they were able to drain the clock and secure the win.

Greathouse finished the evening 15 of 33 passing for 179 yards, a touchdown, and one interception to surpass the 3,500 mark of his career. He also had one score on the ground with 7 yards on four carries. Scott led the ground game with 26 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown and surpassed 1,500 yards for the season. Bales was the leading receiver with six receptions for 98 yards and a score. Defensively the Sandites were led by Dalton Morgan with 12 total tackles, followed by Josh Taber with 10 tackles, all unassisted. Hayden Cramer, Delvin Jordan, and Cody Motes all had eight tackles each.

On the Spartan side of the ball, Griffin finished 24 of 33 passing for 254 yards and an interception. Seminole State-commit Nic Swanson was his leading receiver with 11 receptions for 93 yards. Pawley was the man of the night with 36 carries for 248 yards and all four offensive touchdowns. Tillman led the defense with eight tackles.

Sand Springs finishes fourth in the district for the regular season and will return to action Friday when they travel to District One Champion No. 5 Midwest City (7-3, 6-1) for the first round of the playoffs. The Spartans come in second in District Two and will host a game against No. 8 Putnam City West (7-3, 5-2).

Four meetings in two years, the Sandite-Spartan rivalry continues Friday in the District Title game

Sand Springs takes on Bixby in the 2015 6A-II State Championship game at Union Stadium. (Photo: Austin Evans).

Sand Springs takes on Bixby in the 2015 6A-II State Championship game at Union Stadium. (Photo: Austin Evans).

Sand Springs vs Bixby History
Year, Coach, QB, Result

1922 A.R. Bateman, Sixkiller, 14-19 loss
1926 30-12 win
1927 20-6 win
1980 Gary Quimby, Eric Haines, 10-7 win (A)
1981 Gary Quimby, Eric Haines, 12-14 loss (H)
1982 Chris Thurmond, 32-6 loss (H)
1983 LD Baines, Brad Johnson, 4-21 loss (A)
1984 LD Baines, Shawn Morand, 5-3 win (H)
1985 LD Baines, Shawn Morand, 14-3 win (A)
1992 LD Baines, Mike Quimby, 17-20 OT loss (H)
1993 LD Baines, Delvin Jordan, 26-20 win (A)
1994 LD Baines, Delvin Jordan, 33-7 win (H)
1995 LD Baines, Dustin Morrow, 10-17 loss (A)
1996 LD Baines, Keith Hooks, 28-7 win (H)
1997 Archie Loehr, Keith Hooks, 19-0 win (A)
1998 Archie Loehr, Keith Hooks, 30-6 win (H)
1999 Archie Loehr, Ryan Summers, 7-23 loss (H)
2010 Dustin Kinard, Darrack Harger, 35-48 loss (H)
2011 Dustin Kinard, Darrack Harger, 23-43 loss (A)
2012 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 21-7 win (H)
2013 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 21-35 loss (A)
2014 Dustin Kinard, Conner Sitton, 31-34 loss (A)
2014 Dustin Kinard, Jacob Taber, 14-41 loss (BA)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 20-0 win (H)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 28-38 loss (Union)

Overall Record: 12-13-0

Longest Streak: CPHS 3
Longest Streak: Bixby 3

Shutouts: CPHS 2
Shutouts: Bixby 0

Road wins: CPHS 4
Road wins: Bixby 5

Biggest win: CPHS 33-7
Biggest win: Bixby 41-14
 

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The High School football season still has a month left, but the regular season will come to a close this Friday as the No. 2 Sand Springs Sandites (6-3, 4-1) travel to No. 3 Bixby (6-3, 4-1) to try and earn their first district title since 1997. In the last two seasons the teams have met four times, including two playoff games and a State Championship. High-stakes games are all these two teams know.

In 2014 the Spartans lost their season-opener at Jenks (11-2), then won twelve-straight with an average margin of victory of 27 points. Sand Springs, meanwhile, was the sleeper with a 7-2 record prior to their first meeting with Bixby. Two of those wins were by a touchdown or less and their average win was by 17 points. Bixby was heavily favored throughout the season, but that didn't stop the Sandites from coming within a field goal in their last visit to Spartan Stadium. Sand Springs posed the closest threat to the Spartans all season in a 34-31 loss to end the regular season. Bixby got payback two weeks later, however, ravaging the injury-plagued Sandites 41-14 at Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium.

The Sandites were without starting quarterback Conner Sitton and leading wide-receiver Davey Thayer due to concussions sustained in a quarterfinal playoff game against Midwest City. University of Houston-bound kicker, Blake Boyles, had an injured leg from the last game with Bixby. The starting nose-tackle was out due to disciplinary issues, and a smattering of other players were either out all-together, or nursing mild injuries and well below 100%. Also, one of their leading defensive linemen, Jacob Taber, was filling in at quarterback. 

Last season the Spartans started with the number one ranking, despite a season-opening 58-24 loss to Jenks (11-1), then won three straight, including a 71-7 murder of East Central (0-8) before falling 50-33 to No. 4 Bartlesville (10-2). From there they had less than impressive wins against Ponca (3-6) and Sapulpa (2-7), then were blown out 52-7 by Booker T. Washington (10-1). They nearly even gave up a loss to Muskogee (3-7) before holding on to the 48-41 overtime win. Sand Springs had realistically earned a 7-2 record by the time of their meeting with the Spartans, but had to forfeit two wins due to an ineligible player, and a third game was cancelled at half time due to weather, despite the Sandites having a significant lead. While the Sandites were dominated 24-7 by Bartlesville, their only other loss was a close 17-14 to Booker T., who annihilated Bixby. 

When the two teams met in the regular season finale at Memorial Stadium, the Spartans were utterly dominated by the Sandite defense, and gave up their first shutout since 2008. Sand Springs managed only 255 yards of total offense against the Spartans' 268, but pulled off four fumble recoveries and 13 tackles for loss, totaling 74 yards, including five sacks for 51 yards in the 20-0 win.

Bixby went on to dominate Lawton 36-6 in the quarterfinals and Bartlesville 67-21 in the semis, while the Sandites defeated Stilwater 49-14 in the quarterfinals and Booker T. 30-23 in the semis. 

In the Sandites' first State Championship appearance since they won it in 1966, Bixby played the role of spoiler. The Spartans took a quick 16-0 lead before the Sandites came from behind with three-straight touchdowns to make it 21-16. The teams exchanged scores from there, but Bixby got the last two to win it 38-28. 

If the Sandites fall to Bixby, they'll need a miracle upset from Ponca City over Muskogee in order to remain in the top-two of the district. The current class of Sandites are 16-4 on their home turf and only 12-9 on the road. If the Sandites can clinch a home playoff game, it'll be a big step in the direction of a State Title. Sand Springs hasn't seen a State Title since 1966, and a 50th anniversary win would make it even more special.

The Spartans still have a possibility of a District Title if they win over Sand Springs and Ponca upsets Muskogee, but realistically they're in the same boat of looking for a home playoff game. Over the past four seasons, the Spartans are 15-5 at home and 14-7 on the road, but it's less important for them as they're 6-1 in the playoffs and defending back-to-back State Titles. 

Sandite Pride News has picked Sand Springs as the victor of this weekend's game by a narrow 32-30. Stay tuned for the pre-game analysis, exclusively from Sandite Pride.

Payton Scott rushes for five touchdowns in 47-28 rout of Bartlesville to clinch playoff berth

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Charles Page High School junior Payton Scott scored a career-high five rushing touchdowns in only three quarters of play Friday night at Custer Stadium, leading the Sandites to a dominating 47-28 district win over Bartlesville.

No. 2 ranked Sand Springs (6-3, 4-1) clinched a playoff berth for the fifth-straight year with the victory over No. 13 Bartlesville (3-5, 2-3), and notched their first win at Custer Stadium since 2008. Despite a close loss to No. 3 Booker T. Washington (5-4, 3-2) last week, the Sandites still have a chance at the district title if they can defeat No. 4 Bixby (6-3, 4-1) next week on the road. Bartlesville still has a game left at Booker T., and will have to win to make the playoffs. 

The game started out fairly close as the Bruins rallied shortly before the half to close the deficit to 25-21. Sand Springs rattled off 22 unanswered points in the third quarter, however, and sent in the backups to finish out the game. 

The home team struck first with a seven-play, seventy-yard drive that scored on a four-yard run by Deandre Young. The visitors didn't need long to tie it, however, driving eighty yards on seven plays to score on a three yard run from Scott. Alejandro sent in the point-after to tie things up with 7:06 in the first.

The Sandite Defense was brutal throughout the evening, and held the Bruins' next possession to fourth and three to force a punt. The offense needed only three plays, all of them through Scott, to take the lead once and for all. Scott picked up seven yards on a run, and after failing to connect with a screen pass from Hunter Greathouse, ran another 54 yards for the score. Hernandez's kick was blocked, but the Sandites lead 13-7.

The two teams traded punts, then Tre Finch forced a fumble that was recovered by Nathan Simonton to give Sand Springs possession to close the first quarter. Scott scored shortly into the second period on a seven yard run. Kasey Bales faked a point-after kick and Greathouse attempted a two-point pass to tight-end Dash Fleischman, but the ball sailed high out the back of the endzone. 

Bartlesville hit pay-dirt on their next possession, hustling sixty yards on six plays to score on an eleven-yard pass to A.J. Archambo. Andre Johnson sent in the kick and cut the score to 19-14.

The Bruins attempted an onside kick, but Caleb Wash secured the ball and returned it eleven yards to set up a 68-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard pass to Dalton Morgan for a touchdown. Morgan was also the intended target for a two-point pass attempt that fell flat. With 2:18 the Sandites were sitting comfortable at 25-14, but the home team wouldn't go down without a fight.

Bartlesville drove 75 yards to score on their next possession in nine plays. After back-to-back sacks from Finch and Gage Fain pushed the Bruins back to third and 26 from the 36, it looked like Sand Springs would hold them. That's when Bartlesville brought out the big play. Garrett Meidl sent a sixteen-yard pass forward to Archambo, who lateraled to John Cone. Cone picked up ten yards, then pitched the ball to Young who took it to the house. The point-after cut the deficit to 25-21 with only seconds remaining, and the Bruins went to the locker room feeling good.

It was Sand Springs who came out of the half with renewed vigor, however. On the first drive of the second half, Scott picked up his fourth touchdown of the evening on a six yard run. The Bruins fumbled the opening handoff their possession and Luke Bratcher got the recovery, setting up Sand Springs for yet another scoring drive.

This time it was Bales who found the endzone on a 22-yard reception from Greathouse. He sent in his own extra-point and the visitors lead 38-21. 

The next Bruin possession failed to convert a first down and the Sandites got the ball at their 31. Scott picked up 62 yards on that possession and ended with a 33-yard run to score his final points of the evening.

On the next Sandite possession they settled for a 23-yard field goal after being held to fourth and six, and Hernandez put them up 47-21 with under a minute in the third quarter.

By the fourth quarter the Sandites were running second and third string and Scott didn't see any further action. Greathouse took a few snaps, but only attempted one pass before sophomore Caden Pennington came in. Tyler McCallie took over for Scott.

The Sandites held off the Bruins till there were just moments to play when they finally gave up a twelve-yard run to Lard with 0:19 left. Greathouse returned to take a knee for the final play and end the game 47-28.

Greathouse finished the evening 12 of 23 for 102 yards passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Bales was his leading receiver with five receptions for 48 yards. Scott racked up 221 yards on 31 carries, the second-highest performance of his career. 

Meidl lit up the air for the Bruins, completing 19 of 32 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Archambo was the leading receiver with 11 receptions for 119 yards, while Lard led the ground with 8 carries for 72 yards.

The Sandites have one game left in the regular season, and it will be a tough one as they travel to No. 4 Bixby (6-3, 4-1), who just shutout Booker T. 28-0. If they win that game, they'll get their first district title since 1997. Win or lose, they're headed to the playoffs for the fifth-straight year, the longest streak in Sandite history.

 

Week Nine 6A-II Rankings and Predictions; a look at this weekend's games

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By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

The 2016 season has seen more parity than any year in recent memory. There is no longer a single team in Class 6A-II without a district loss. To make matters more difficult, there are teams with multiple losses to low-ranking teams and multiple wins over high-ranking teams. Looking at you, Choctaw. The number one team has fallen for the second week in a row, and now we'll try to sort out the mess.

No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 2) vs No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (15)

Muskogee (6-1, 3-1) has the worst of their schedule behind them now and, after taking a bye week to recover from their 26-25 loss to Sand Springs, they'll close out the regular season with the bottom two teams. 

Sapulpa (1-7, 1-4) picked up their first win of the season with a 31-27 upset over Ponca City (1-7, 0-5). The Chieftains dominated the Wildcats offensively, doubling them on total yardage, but gave up a pick six to keep the score close. 

The pick: Muskogee 56, Sapulpa 10.

No. 2 Sand Springs Sandites (1) vs No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13)

Charles Page High School (5-3, 3-1) may have lost to Booker T. Washington on the field, but on paper they destroyed the Hornets 267 yards to 124 and 15 first downs to 9, forcing 7 punts. The Hornets got lucky with 9:32 in the fourth quarter when Sandite QB Hunter Greathouse was unable to haul in a bad hike and the Hornets got the recovery at the 3 yard line. From there the Booker T. defense was able to stop three Sandite possessions for the win. Were it not for that one mistake, Sand Springs would still be undefeated in the district. 

The Bartlesville Bruins (4-4, 3-2) had a tough road match at Bixby (5-3, 3-1) and were throttled 63-14. They tried to keep up offensively and posted 342 yards on 79 plays, but the Spartans were explosive for 504 yards on 53 plays. 

The pick: Sandites 43, Bartlesville 32.

No. 3 Booker T. Washington Hornets (4) vs No. 4 Bixby Spartans (3)

The Hornets won their battle with Sand Springs on a fumble, and lost their game with Muskogee on turnovers after matching them offensively. The Spartans actually outperformed Muskogee offensively, but gave up two interceptions and a fumble. Against mutual opponents, the Hornets have the better defense and the Spartans have the better offense. Theoretically, this game should be fairly equally matched with the winner being decided on turnovers. 

The pick: Bixby 37, BTW 35.

No. 5 Midwest City Bombers  (5) vs No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (8)

The Bombers (5-3, 4-1) won an important district game Friday against Putnam City (3-5, 1-4) to continue to their quest for the district title in the district with the most parity. It was a low-scoring 7-0 affair made possible by the incredible Bomber defense.

The Plainsmen (3-5, 2-3) are coming off a 35-10 loss to Stillwater (4-4, 2-3). They gave up five turnovers, but forced three of their own. 

The pick: MWC 28, Enid 7.

No. 6 Putnam City West Patriots (7) vs No. 7 Lawton Wolverines (6)

The Patriots (6-2, 4-1) may not be the indisputable head of the district any more, but they're still in contention for the Title after a 27-17 win over Edmond Deer Creek (2-6, 2-3). The Pats have given up only two losses this season, 29-24 to the Sandites, and 21-16 to Midwest City. They have another big test at Lawton.

The Wolverines (4-4, 3-2) rode three straight wins with three close losses to quality teams. That changed Thursday with a 52-26 beat down from Choctaw (4-4, 2-3) to seriously damage their shot at a district title. With the incredible amount of upsets in the district, they're not out of contention yet, but they can't afford a loss. A win over Putnam will put them second only to Midwest City. 

The pick: PCW 26, Lawton 24.

No. 8 Choctaw Yellowjackets (12) vs No. 12 Deer Creek Antlers (10)

It's beginning to look like Choctaw (4-4, 2-3) can only win games they're picked to lose. The Yellowjackets have three wins against top-tier teams in Sand Springs, Midwest City, and Lawton, and upset losses to Enid, Putnam, and Stillwater.  

After their most recent 52-26 stunner over Lawton, they'll be looking to bring down Deer Creek and Putnam West to clinch a playoff berth. The Yellowjacket's high-powered offense averages 34 points per game while Deer Creek averages only 19 and gives up 35. The Antlers (2-6, 2-3) most recently went down 27-17 to Putnam City West.

The pick: Choctaw 42, Deer Creek 20.

No. 9 Putnam City Pirates (9) vs No. 10 Stillwater Pioneers (11)

The Putnam City Pirates (3-5, 1-4) put up a valiant effort against Midwest City before falling 7-0 while the Pioneers (4-4, 2-3) picked up a 35-10 win over Enid. Stillwater holds two-straight wins and all four of their losses were by a touchdown or less. A potential playoff berth is on the line and they're unlikely to leave their A game at home.

The pick: Stillwater 33, Putnam 23.

No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (14) vs 6A-I Norman Tigers

Barring a miracle, the Ponca City Wildcats (1-7, 0-5) are unlikely to get a win against Muskogee (6-1, 3-1) in week ten, so their last real shot at padding their record comes in their home-finale against 6A-I Norman (1-7, 1-4). The same can be said for the Tigers.

Ponca gave up a 31-27 upset to Sapulpa (1-7, 1-4) last week, while Norman went down 35-7 to Broken Arrow (4-4, 3-2). The Wildcats have been competitive all season, averaging 17 points per game, while the Tigers have scored 15. Norman gives up an average of 44 points and Ponca gives up 40, but Norman plays in a far tougher division and district. 

The pick: Norman 28, Ponca 26. 

Sandite of the Week: Hunter Greathouse leads Sandites to victory over Muskogee

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

Charles Page High School quarterback Hunter Greathouse has been selected as this week's Sandite of the Week for his outstanding performance in last week's district win over the previously undefeated No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (6-1, 3-1).

The No. 4 Sandites (5-2, 3-0) traveled to the Muscogee Indian Bowl last Thursday and outscored the host team 20-8 in the fourth quarter for a spectacular come-from-behind victory that Greathouse was a crucial component in.

Muskogee took an early 7-0 lead before the 6'3" 180 pound senior got on the field, but he quickly went to work, completing 3 of 7 passes for 39 yards to drive to the Rougher redzone before a fourth and nine pass fell incomplete giving Muskogee the ball shortly before the end of the first quarter.

After Muskogee added another touchdown the Sandites regained possession midway through the second quarter. Greathouse picked up seven yards on a pass to Kasey Bales, then picked up four more on an run. From there he sent an 11 yard pass to Caleb Wash. That drive mustered out like the first, but they got another try after a short four-play Rougher possession gave them the ball with 1:09 left in the half.

In exactly 60 seconds, the Sandites drove 88 yards to draw blood. Greathouse was two of five passing, picking up 16 yards for a first down, then sending a 43 yard touchdown pass to Wash.

After Muskogee started the second half with a field goal, Sand Springs took possession with 2:55 in the third and used the rest of the quarter to drive 67 yards to the two-yard line. Greathouse completed three of three passes for 33 yards plus a two yard run, setting up Payton Scott for the score on the opening play of the fourth quarter.

The Sandite defense held Muskogee to a three-play possession and Greathouse got the ball back with 10:37 to play, trailing 17-12. The first Sandite possession failed, but the defense saved the day with a forced fumble and recovery, and this time the visitors got the go-ahead score. 

Greathouse picked up a first down on a four-yard sneak, then capped off the drive with a seven-yard pass to Wash to take the lead 18-17 after a failed two-point conversion with 3:35 left.

The home team didn't go down without a fight and quickly marched 77 yard in 8 plays to regain the advantage. A two-point conversion made the score 25-18 with only 0:47 to play.

Greathouse sent a 25 yard pass to Scott to start off the possession, then sent an 18 yard pass to Mack Thompson. After his first pass attempt from the 18 yard line failed, he connected on his second attempt and found Bales for the score.

Trailing 25-24 with 0:06 to play, the Sandites had to choose between kicking their first PAT attempt of the game and playing for overtime, or attempting a two-point conversion for the fourth time after the first three failed. 

They went for two, and the play quickly fell apart after Greathouse tried to send a pass to Bales in the endzone, but was broken up by 6'6" lineman Keondre Davis. The pass traveled high enough into the air that it took a full two seconds to come back down, and Greathouse was ready for it. He hauled it in at the 11 yard line and ran it out of harms way, dodging a tackle, and ran an arc back to the 25.

As he was working his way forward, he had three defenders closing in on him at the 14. He had a pair of receivers open downfield, but was clear-headed enough to know he couldn't attempt a second forward pass. He made the heads up play to pitch a lateral to Josh Taber, who ran it in for the score, and the rest is history. 

Greathouse finished 16 of 32 for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns for the evening and accounted for more than 60% of the team's offense. It was his highest single-game passing yardage of his career and tied the most passing touchdowns of his career. 

This is his third time being name Sandite of the Week. He was recognized in November of 2015 for a 7-14-171-0 passing record with 3 touchdowns to defeat Booker T. Washington in the playoff semifinals. He was recognized again in March of this year for an outstanding batting performance and pitching record at the Best of the West baseball tournament. 


Sandite of the Week is a weekly recognition given to any one person with significant ties to the Sand Springs community who accomplishes remarkable achievements during the Sunday through Saturday week preceding the award. Prior achievements may be noted in the article, but do not bear direct influence on the selection committee which only considers prior week accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by anyone by emailing SanditePrideNews@gmail.com. The award is not given to anyone in consecutive weeks, but any recipient may be nominated and awarded again in the future, so long as the weeks are not consecutive. Final selection is made by a majority vote of the Sandite Pride Editorial Board.

Businesses or organizations seeking to sponsor the Sandite of the Week award may contact the above email for inquiries.

No. 4 Booker T Washington at No. 1 Sand Springs: game preview

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

Sand Springs vs. Booker T History
Year, Coach, QB, result

1986 LD Baines, Blair Culley, 21-42 loss (A)
1987 LD Baines, Blair Culley, 15-12 win (H)
1988 LD Baines, Blair Culley, 14-28 loss (A)
1989 LD Baines, Brett Pennington, 0-35 loss (H)
1990 LD Baines, Brett Pennington, 17-31 loss (A)
1991 LD Baines, Brett Pennington, 15-14 win (H)
1992 LD Baines, Mike Quimby, 7-48 loss (H)
1993 LD Baines, Delvin Jordan, 14-21 loss (A)

2012 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 21-7 win (A)
2013 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 42-38 win (H)
2014 Dustin Kinard, Conner Sitton, 35-42 loss (H)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 14-17 loss (A)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 30-23 win (N)

Overall record: 5-8-0

Longest Streak: BTW 3
Longest Streak: CPHS 2

Shutouts: BTW 1
Shutouts: CPHS 0

Road wins: BTW 3
Road wins: CPHS 1

Biggest win: BTW 48-7
Biggest win: CPHS 21-7

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

By now just about everyone has heard of "The Play 2pt.0." The famous two-point conversion scramble utilized by Hunter Greathouse and Josh Taber to win a 26-25 upset at the Indian Bowl over previously undefeated No. 1 Muskogee. The ESPN SportsCenter Number One Play of the Day has seen national attention and received more than 13,000 views on the Sandite Pride Facebook page.

The play was very similar to a touchdown score by the Sandites in last year's State Championship loss to Bixby. That year Taber's big brother Jacob picked off a Tanner Griffin pass and pitched a lateral to Cruz Desjarlais for the score. This year it was Greathouse who received his own pass after it was batted fifteen feet up into the air. The QB scrambled and dropped back to his right to look for an option, then made the pitch to Taber as he was closed in on by a trio of Rougher defenders. Taber broke a pair of tackles and dove for the endzone like an arctic fox for the win.

While the end play received the headlines, the whole game, and the fourth quarter in particular, were marked by incredible Sandite athleticism and numerous outstanding plays. 

Greathouse was 16 of 32 for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns with only 1 interception, marking the first time this season the Sandites have relied on the pass game for more than 60% of their total offense. That's not to say the infamous Sandite run game wasn't still prevalent as junior Payton Scott finished his seventh straight game with 100+ yards. 

While the offense was salty as always and ultimately won the game with their quick thinking and adaptive play-making, it was made possible due to what was possibly the most exceptional performance of the season by the defense. The Sandites were coming off a high from the previous week when the defense scored the first two Sandite touchdowns of the game against Ponca City, both on forced fumbles and recoveries for big returns. They also had two interceptions.

The Sand Springs defense has been notorious on the ground for some time, but struggled both last season and this year when it comes to aerial assaults. Last year they were able to shut down the run game from both Bixby and Booker T, but were dominated by Bartlesville's air raid. That struggle carried over into this year as they gave up an upset to Choctaw and allowed Ponca to rack up more yardage and points than the Wildcats have managed all season. 

When the Sandites lost co-defensive coordinator Robert Borgstadt to Sapulpa and graduated the majority of their State Runner-Up starters, the future of the Sand Springs defense was in question. It didn't take long for the team to prove they still had what it takes, however. The unit has been steadily improving all season and made a huge statement against Muskogee.

Booker T. also graduated a lot of players from last year's team that split with the Sandites. Starting QB Dakaria Willis graduated, but newcomer Philip Wheatley has been an improvement in the air, throwing 122-202-1222-3 with eight touchdowns this season. The Hornet aerial game will be a huge obstacle for the Sandites as Wheatley has already completed as many passes this season as Willis even attempted. 

The Hornets are a whole different beast from last season when they ran 44% of their offense through now-Oklahoma State freshman running back Justice Hill. Last season a mere 27% of Booker T's yards came through the air, as opposed to 52% this season. Wheatley isn't quite the double threat that Willis was, but he still is third in his team on the ground with 26 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown. Rylan McQuarters and Tyler Holmes split the bulk of the running with over 700 yards between them and five touchdowns each. Six running backs have scored this season as well as six receivers, meaning the Sandites won't be able to focus their coverage on any single player.

Booker T's defense is equally stout, bringing in seven interceptions for two touchdowns this season, plus six fumble recoveries. They've also racked up 29 sacks this season. 

Here's how the two teams matched up against their three mutual opponents.

No. 1 Sandites (5-2, 3-0)

defeated Sapulpa 35-7
defeated Ponca 56-35
defeated Muskogee 26-25

Average score: 39-22
First downs: 18
First downs allowed: 15
Fumbles-lost: 2-1 (total)
Fumble recoveries: 3 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 4-29

C-A-Y-I: 11-20-157-1
Average: 7.85
Allowed: 17-26-181-1
Average: 6.96

Rushes-Yards: 39-233
Average: 5.97
Allowed: 32-148
Average: 4.63

Plays-Yards: 59-391
Average: 6.62
Allowed: 58-329
Average: 5.67

No. 4 Hornets (4-3, 2-1)

defeated Sapulpa 45-0
defeated Ponca 47-0
lost 24-7 to Muskogee

Average score: 34-8
First downs: 15
First downs allowed: 12
Fumbles-lost: 6-6
Fumble recoveries: 2
Penalties-Yards: 7-90

C-A-Y-I: 16-26-180-0
Average: 6.92
Allowed: 9-22-92-1
Average: 4.18

Rushes-Yards: 39-223
Average: 5.71
Allowed: 30-82
Average: 2.73

Plays-Yards: 65-403
Average: 6.2
Allowed: 52-174
Average: 3.31

The pick from Sandite Pride is Sand Springs 29-24. The Hornets will likely get a few interceptions, but the Sandites haven't given up a pick-six this season and I don't expect that to change. I would be surprised if the lead doesn't get exchanged a few times. Booker T. will likely find most of their offense in the air, and if they don't limit their turnovers they'll be hard pressed to overcome Sand Springs's phenomenal defense.

On paper, the Sandites have the better offense and the Hornets have the better defense, but in actual application we'll likely see it go the other way. The Hornets aren't as disciplined as the Sandites and will likely give up a lot of penalties and turnovers that the Sand Springs defense will more than capitalize on.

While Booker T. and Muskogee were nearly perfectly matched offensively, the Roughers had the decisive win thanks to turnovers. If both Sand Springs and Booker T. play the same way against each other that they did against Muskogee, Sand Springs will win. There is a lot of parity between the two, however, and when it comes down to the field anything can happen. If stats on a page won games, then Muskogee would have dominated the Sandites. Sand Springs has always had a fourth quarter magic, however. Sand Springs has the home field advantage, but the number one ranking often puts a monkey on your back. 

No matter who wins, it's likely to be every bit as exciting as last week's game against Muskogee, and it should be a packed house, especially with it being Senior Night. The Church That Matters tailgate crew will be hosting their weekly fundraiser for the athletics department before the game and will be selling hot dogs, burgers, and chicken sandwiches with chips and a drink, so come early and come hungry! 

Week Eight 6A-II Rankings and Predictions; a look at this week's games

Photo: Scott Emigh

Photo: Scott Emigh

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

No. 1 Sand Springs Sandites (Last week No. 4) vs No. 4 Booker T. Washington Hornets (3)

While last week's game was against the number one team, this week could arguably be even bigger for the Sandites (5-2, 3-0) as they set out to prove whether their upset over the Roughers (6-1, 3-1) was a fluke or a sign of the season to come. By now, just about everybody in the country has heard of the Sandites' SportsCenter #1 play on a two point conversion scramble to top the previously undefeated Roughers in the final seconds of a Thursday night game in the Indian Bowl. 

Sand Springs proved their aerial game was every bit as good as their ground game as they utilized Hunter Greathouse's arm for 221 yards and three touchdowns, marking the first time they've used the pass for more than 60% of their offense this season. That's not to say they were stopped at all on the rush as Payton Scott finished his seventh straight game in triple digits. Their defense put up their second-straight remarkable game, forcing multiple turnovers, racking up nearly thirty yards in tackles for loss, and registering half a dozen pass break-ups.

Booker T. (4-3, 3-1) is coming back from a bye-week after recovering from a 23-7 beatdown by Muskogee. That game couldn't have been any closer offensively if they had been playing themselves. Both teams completed 11 first downs, both teams were within three yards of each other in both passing and rushing. The difference-maker was turnovers, as the Roughers pulled out four fumbles and an interception.

The Hornets clearly have the high powered offense that should make for an interesting showdown against the stout Sand Springs defense, and the Sandites will need to force turnovers if they're to hold on to their undefeated district record. 

The Pick: Sand Springs 29, Booker T 24

No. 2 Muskogee Roughers (1) 

The formerly undefeated Muskogee Roughers (6-1, 3-1) will take a bye week after their upset loss to the Sandites to regroup before finishing out the season with what should be a pair of easy wins against Sapulpa and Ponca City, respectively.

No. 3 Bixby Spartans (2) vs No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13)

The Spartans will no doubt be reinvigorated after a dominating 60-6 win over Ponca and the Sandites' upset over Muskogee has put a district title back within reach for the two-time back-to-back State Champions.

The Bruins (4-3, 2-1) are riding a three-game win streak after a 51-28 win at Sapulpa (0-7, 0-4). They split the game equally between air and ground with Garrett Meidl at QB throwing 16-32-222-1 for three touchdowns. Meidl added another score on the ground while Joe Lard led with 105 yards and two scores and Deandre Young tacked on another. 

Bixby had zero difficulty in limiting the Wildcats to a mere 11 first downs and 42% passing rate while picking off a pair of passes and a fumble recovery. Tanner Griffin was 17-22-317 with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Tucker Pawley and Braden Roller combined for a pair of scores and just under 200 yards on the ground. 

The Pick: Bixby 62, Bartlesville 12

No. 5 Midwest City Bombers (6) vs No. 9 Putnam City Pirates (9)

Midwest City (4-3, 3-1) won a crucial battle last week to remain in contention for the District One title, pulling off a 21-16 win over Putnam City West (5-2, 3-1) in come-from-behind fashion. The Bombers outscored Putnam West 21-6 in the second half for the win. 

Putnam City (3-4, 1-3) isn't out of playoff contention yet. With all the circular losses in District One, it's still anybody's bet on who will make the final four. However, after a 20-14 overtime loss to Deer Creek last week, the Pirates desperately need to find a win against the Bombers. They barely broke 200 yards as a team in their last game, completed only 42% of passes, and didn't register a single interception or fumble recovery.

The Pick: Midwest City 24, Putnam City 13

No. 6 Lawton Wolverines (7) vs No. 12 Choctaw Yellowjackets (10)

Lawton (4-3, 3-1) made a huge statement Friday against Enid (3-4, 2-2) with an incredible 51-3 victory, showing they not only have the infamous District One defense, but are able to perform at the Distict Two offensive level as well. 

QB Zach Hanna was 12-13-226-0 with four touchdowns while the ground game was split between Stephen Silas with 10 carries for 151 yards and Tre Curry with 9 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. 

Their defense will be far more pressed to stop Choctaw (3-4, 1-3), however, as the Yellowjacket air raid has picked apart some of the best teams in the State, including Sand Springs and Midwest City. 

Choctaw is coming off a 28-21 upset by Stillwater (3-4, 1-3) that saw two pick-sixes to shut down their onslaught. The Yellowjacket run game is practically nonexistent, leaving the offense held to their third lowest output this season. 

The Pick: Lawton 36, Choctaw 22

No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (5) vs No. 10 Edmond Deer Creek (11)

The Patriots lost their seat at the top of the District One hierarchy after a 21-16 battle with Midwest City (4-3, 3-1), but it wasn't the kind of loss that makes their season any less impressive. Last season saw Sand Springs lose to Booker T in the regular season and beat them in the semifinals, while Bixby lost to Sand Springs in the regular season and beat them in for the State Title. The Patriots are still on their best season in decades and are still putting out impressive performances. 

Deer Creek (2-5, 2-2) continues to be hit or miss, and this week they were hit. The Antlers secured their second win of the season with a 20-14 overtime upset of Putnam City (3-4, 1-3). QB Hunter Freese continues to lead his team well through the air, completing about 60% of passes. 

The Pick: Putnam West 27, Deer Creek 16

No. 8 Enid Plainsmen (8) vs No. 11 Stillwater Pioneers (12)

These two teams were headed in opposite directions last week as Enid (3-4, 2-2) secured wins over Choctaw and Deer Creek, while Stillwater (3-4, 1-3) dropped three-straight to Deer Creek, Putnam West, and Lawton. After Friday though, it's either team's ball game as the Plainsmen were decimated 51-3 by Lawton and the Pioneers secured their first district win 28-21 over Choctaw. 

The Pick: Enid 27, Stillwater 20.

No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (14) vs No. 15 Sapulpa Chieftains (15)

At long last for both teams, one of them will walk away with their first district win of the season. For the Chieftains it would be their first win all-together. 

Ponca (1-6, 0-4) hasn't seen a win since a 9-0 victory over Guthrie (4-3, 2-2) in week three, while Sapulpa (0-7, 0-4) hasn't had a win since week nine of last year. Ponca is coming off a 60-6 beatdown by Bixby, while Sapulpa fell 51-28 to Bartlesville. 

Double threat QB Cameron Elder leads Sapulpa in the air and on the ground and completes 62% of passes, but holds as many interceptions as he does aerial touchdowns. He's been responsible for all fourteen offensive touchdowns of the season for Sapulpa. 

Ponca QB Brice McDougal is about 50% passing with twelve scores and ten interceptions from 1400 yards. The run game is nearly nonexistent in Ponca with four running backs combining for less than 300 yards and only one touchdown. 

The Pick: Ponca City 40, Sapulpa 37. 

Week Seven 6A-II Rankings and Predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

The 6A-II rankings just got a whole lot weirder as District One continues to duke it out with no clear top-dog, save for Putnam City West. With the exception of the Patriots, every team in District One has a loss to someone they shouldn't have, causing a big confusing circle. Even District Two isn't immune to the mess. 

In week two, the Sand Springs Sandites were defeated by Choctaw, and that's their only in-state loss to date. In week three, the Sandites defeated Putnam City West, and that's the Patriots' only loss to date. While the Patriots are the only team out West without a district loss, Choctaw has sustained a pair of district losses to Putnam City and Enid. This Friday Choctaw upset Midwest City, who was previously undefeated in the district with wins over Lawton and Deer Creek. Lawton has wins over both Putnam City and Stillwater. Oh, what a tangled web they weave.

With every team out there having some claim over each other, there's bound to be some disagreement with the rankings, but nevertheless we shall try to make some sense out of it all.

No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 1) vs No. 4 Sand Springs Sandites (5)

It's the marquee matchup for the whole division as the only two undefeated teams in District Two go head-to-head. The Muskogee Roughers (6-0, 3-0) are a powerhouse team once again behind four-time State Championship winning coach Rafe Watkins, formerly of Guthrie. 

Muskogee and Sand Springs (3-2, 2-0) are fairly matched in the air, with both Hunter Greathouse and Jacob Medrano completing just over 50% of passes for right at 1,000 yards this season. Both teams employ a mess of solid multi-purpose players who can easily adapt to either the run or pass game as needed. Muskogee's stars include University of Tennessee commit Kamren Curl.

Sand Springs will need to rely heavily on their defense, who scored two touchdowns in their 56-35 win over Ponca City, to put up stops and force turnovers against the explosive Rougher offense. Muskogee has their own powerful defense though, with nine interceptions this season. They forced five turnovers against Booker T Washington Friday night. The two teams were perfectly matched on offense, but four fumbles and an interception paved the way for a 23-7 victory for Muskogee. 

The pick: Muskogee 45, Sand Springs 31.

No. 2 Bixby Spartans (3) vs No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (14)

The two-time defending State Champions (3-3, 1-1) had a rough start to district play, falling 45-42 to Muskogee, but got in the win column Friday in a 62-17 beat down against Sapulpa. The Spartans ran up 646 yards while holding the Chieftains to just over 200, and never once punted. QB Tanner Griffin is sitting around 1500 yards passing this season with 20 touchdowns by air. The Spartans also have a talented running back in Tucker Pawley who is just under 1000 yards this season. They also have a talented defense highlighted by Oklahoma State commit Brendon Evers. 

The Ponca City Wildcats (1-5, 0-3) proved Friday that they can hang with some of the best defenses in the State, passing for over 300 yards against the Sandites. They also struggled with turnovers, however, giving up two fumble returns for touchdowns and threw two interceptions. 

The pick: Bixby 66, Ponca 12.

No. 3 Booker T Washington Hornets (2) 

The powerful Booker T (4-3, 2-1) offense was stymied by Muskogee Friday night, and scored only once despite racking up nearly 300 yards of offense. They were plagued by penalties amounting to more than 100 yards. That, coupled with four fumbles and an interception were insurmountable. The Hornets will have a bye week before returning to action against Sand Springs.

No. 5 Putnam City West Patriots (7) vs No. 6 Midwest City Bombers (4)

This matchup would have been a lot bigger if the Bombers (3-3, 2-1) hadn't given up an upset to Choctaw last Friday, but regardless of district standings the two teams should still put on a quality show. The two teams boast the top two defensive squads in the district with each allowing less than 15 points per game. 

The Patriots (5-1, 3-0) are coming off a huge 42-10 rivalry win over Putnam City while Midwest City just dropped their first district game of the season to Choctaw. Putnam West has suffered only one loss this season, 29-24 to Sand Springs, and splits their offense pretty evenly between air and land. They hold one division one commit in Memphis-bound WR Nick Robinson. Midwest City has some impressive talent of their own in 6'2" safety Evan Fields, who's fielding offers from numerous Division One programs including several Big 12 schools. 

Midwest City's defense held tight against Choctaw, giving up only 14 points to a team that averaged 36 points per game going into the match. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they were plagued by penalties, miscues, and offensive inconsistency. They made three trips into the red zone and racked up 272 yards of offense while holding Choctaw to only 141, despite the loss. 

The pick: No consensus. Scott picks Midwest City 24-21, Virgil picks Putnam West 24-21.

No. 7 Lawton Wolverines (6) vs No. 8 Enid Plainsmen (10)

These two teams hold the same record both in and out of district, and their strength of schedule is still hard to determine. Enid's offense is coming in a lot hotter than in recent years, averaging 28 points per game.

Lawton (3-3, 2-1) isn't executing as well as they have in recent years, but they still boast some high powered athletes in QB Zach Hanna and RB Tre Curry. Friday saw the Wolverines gain the upper hand on Stillwater 21-14 in a low performance game that saw only 95 yards by air. The ground game was dominant for both teams and Curry racked up 121 yards on 13 carries.

Enid (3-3, 2-1) started off the season with a 22-19 loss to a Guthrie team that has long since ceased to be ranked. A 42-31 victory over Ponca City and a pair of losses after that pushed Enid towards the bottom of the rankings, but the Plainsmen have found their mojo for two straight district wins to prove they're not out playoff contention yet. After going down 35-10 to Putnam West, Enid got the edge on Choctaw in a 43-39 shootout and scored a major victory this week in a dominating 45-17 beat down of Deer Creek. The Plainmen picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown, presenting just the kind of defense that could give Lawton fits. 

The pick: Lawton 27, Enid 21.

No. 9 Putnam City Pirates (8) vs No. 11 Deer Creek Antlers (9)

A crucial match for both teams, Putnam (3-3, 1-2) started off the season with a series of big wins before giving up two straight to Lawton and Putnam West. Deer Creek (1-5, 1-2) started the season with a tough pre-conference schedule including three-straight losses to high-ranked 6A-I teams. They were expected to be a big contender for the district, but after a close 21-14 win over Stillwater they were blown out 35-0 by Midwest City and 45-17 by Enid. Both teams need a win this week to stay alive in playoff contention.

Putnam has struggled through the air this season, racking up over 1,000 yards but at a 38% completion rate. The defense has been effective, however, averaging 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery per game.

The Antlers employ a solid QB in Hunter Freese, who sits at 51% passing for over 1,200 yards. The run game is nearly nonexistent with the whole team accounting for less than 500 yards.  

The pick: Putnam West 23, Deer Creek 17.

No. 10 Choctaw Yellowjackets (11) vs No. 12 Stillwater Pioneers (12)

Stillwater (2-4, 0-3) has lost four games this season, all by a touchdown or less, and they have two quality wins over 6A-I talent. While the playoffs are looking more and more unlikely for the team, they're not out of reach yet. Clearly the Pioneers have talent, especially in RB Josiah Castleberry who holds over 700 yards this season on 7 yards per carry. But they have struggled in the air, doing the quarterback shuffle after their starting senior missed the first half of the season. 

Choctaw (3-3, 1-2) has been hit or miss all season, relying on a powerful air raid offense that has rarely been stymied. After netting a pair of close shootout wins over Sapulpa and Sand Springs to start the season, they lost three-straight, all by a touchdown or less, to Putnam City, Putnam North, and Enid, before getting in the win column with a 14-7 upset of Midwest City. QB Dylan Weaver is right at 50% for nearly 1400 yards this season, but was held to under 100 for the first time against Midwest City. The run game has always been a factor with Choctaw, but they really proved how good it could be when they took on Enid and ran up 321 yards on 38 carries. 

The pick: Choctaw 42, Stillwater 21.

No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13) vs No. 15 Sapulpa (15) 

This is a bigger game for Bartlesville (2-3, 1-1) than it is for Sapulpa (0-6, 0-3). While the Chieftains are technically still in playoff contention, they only have three district games left and don't stand much chance against undefeated Muskogee. Bartlesville, on the other hand, has the kind of aerial offense that could present an upset over Sand Springs. But first they need to get past Sapulpa. 

The Chieftains have a double-threat quarterback in Cameron Elder who is throwing 63% this season for right at 1,000 yards and also leads his team on the ground. They have six losses this season and only two could be described as close.

Bartlesville won a close one in their season opener then dropped three straight before getting back in the win column with a powerful 42-20 win over Ponca City two weeks ago. The Bruins are coming off a bye week and look to AJ Archambo, Garrett Meidl, and Deandre Young to lead them to victory.

The pick: Bartlesville 38, Sapulpa 17. 

Sandite of the Week: Kasey Bales scores two touchdowns in 30-14 defeat of Yukon

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

Charles Page High School senior Kasey Bales was selected as this week's Sandite of the Week for his outstanding performance in the Sandites' 30-14 victory over Yukon this past Friday. 

The 5'10" 165 pound all-purpose player has seen all kinds of action in all kinds of positions over his career and has been a crucial member of both this year's team and last year's State Finalist team. 

As a wide receiver he has hauled in 25 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns this season, with 123 yards and two touchdowns coming on eight receptions in the game against Yukon; a personal best. Bales has also carried twice this season for 27 yards. While he hasn't been called on to pass yet this season, he was two of four on trick plays last year for 77 yards.

Bales is a talented kicker, completing sixteen of eighteen extra-point attempts this season, though he handed over kicking duty to Alejandro Hernandez against Yukon. He did punt twice in the game for an average of 41 yards and also handed a kick return for ten yards. 

He was in on the first offensive play of the evening for the Sandites, hauling in a fourteen yard pass for a first down to start things off. He followed it up two plays later with a twelve yard pass for another first down, and ultimately capped off the drive with a 25-yard touchdown reception. 

His next reception was for nineteen yards and he followed that up with a six yarder. Early in the second quarter he hauled in a pass for 25 yards, turned the ball over to the running backs for a few plays, then finished the drive off with a fourteen yard reception to make the game 17-7. 

He nearly had a fifteen yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter, but the ball just barely slipped out of his grasp and the drive resulted in a failed field goal attempt.

The Sandites (3-2, 1-0) will return to action this Friday at 7:00 p.m. for their homecoming game against Ponca City (1-4, 0-2).


Sandite of the Week is a weekly recognition given to any one person with significant ties to the Sand Springs community who accomplishes remarkable achievements during the Sunday through Saturday week preceding the award. Prior achievements may be noted in the article, but do not bear direct influence on the selection committee which only considers prior week accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by anyone by emailing SanditePrideNews@gmail.com. The award is not given to anyone in consecutive weeks, but any recipient may be nominated and awarded again in the future, so long as the weeks are not consecutive. Final selection is made by a majority vote of the Sandite Pride Editorial Board.

Businesses or organizations seeking to sponsor the Sandite of the Week award may contact the above email for inquiries.

Week Six 6A-II Rankings and Predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 3) vs No. 2 Booker T Washington Hornets (2)

Rafe Watkins's Muskogee Roughers (5-0, 2-0) came into the season highly ranked, but it wasn't high enough for them. Friday night on their home turf, the Roughers upset the top-ranked two-time defending State Champions from Bixby (2-3, 0-1) 45-42 in a wild aerial shootout. Muskogee quarterback Jacob Medrano finished 20-33-377-1 for four touchdowns, and running back Molijah Gilbert carried 20 times for 99 yards.

The Hornets (4-2, 2-0) completed their second-straight shutout of the season with a powerful 45-0 victory over Sapulpa (0-5, 0-2). QB Phillip Wheatley has accounts for the bulk of the Hornet offense and surpassed 1000 yards for the season Friday night. The run game is stacked with Rylan McQuarters, Tyler Holmes, and Garrick Jackson all in triple digits for the year.

The Pick: Muskogee 43, Booker T 35

No. 3 Bixby Spartans (1) vs No. 15 Sapulpa Chieftains (15) 

The Spartans (2-3, 0-1) may have lost their battle with the Roughers, but it wasn't due to poor performance. QB Tanner Griffin was 33-49-318-1 for four touchdowns and Tucker Pawley ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Spartans have had a tough schedule thus far in the season, but should have an easy time getting their first district win Friday night in Sapulpa (0-5, 0-2).

Sapulpa posted a mere 54 yards passing and 67 yards rushing in their sixth-straight loss Friday against Booker T.

The Pick: Bixby 60, Sapulpa 3

No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (4) vs No. 11 Choctaw Yellowjackets (10)

The Midwest City Bombers' (3-2, 2-0) first four games this season were decided by a touchdown or less, but they broke that streak Friday night at Deer Creek, scoring their first shutout since mid-2014. Astin Anderson finished with 130 yards on 23 carries, but it was the defense that starred, giving up an incredible 3 first downs and 78 yards of total offense in the 35-0 rout.

Choctaw (2-3, 0-2) led the Enid Plainsmen with a minute and a half left last week before giving up an interception deep in Enid territory and allowed their opponents to score a touchdown with 17 seconds left for the 43-39 win.

The Pick: Midwest City 31, Choctaw 14

No. 5 Sand Springs Sandites (5) vs No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (14)

The Sandites (3-2, 1-0) secured their third-straight win Friday night at home in a non-conference matchup with Yukon (0-5) and dominated the entirety. The visiting Millers scored before either offense ever stepped foot on the field, returning the opening kickoff 95 yard for a touchdown. That would be their last score till the fourth quarter as the Sand Springs defense drilled the Millers with seven tackles for loss totaling 35 yards, as well as two sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. While the run-game has dominated the Sand Springs offense this year, QB Hunter Greathouse had his time to shine, throwing 13-24-192-0 for two touchdowns, and secured his career-best run game with eight carries for 58 yards and a touchdown. Payton Scott netted his fifth-straight triple digit run game with 22 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Ponca City (1-4, 0-2) lost their second-straight game to Bartlesville (2-3, 1-1) Friday night, despite a solid passing performance from Brice McDougal. The Wildcat QB finished 19-37-176-1 with two touchdowns, but the run game amounted to a mere 29 yards as a team with no touchdowns. Kicker Mitchell Wilson sank a pair of field goals. The return game was strong, averaging about 14 yards per punt return and 16 yards per kickoff return. The Sand Springs special teams have had a hard time stopping returns this season, so the Wildcats will likely look to capitalize on that.

The Pick: CPHS 40, Ponca 17

No. 6 Lawton Wolverines (7) vs No. 12 Stillwater Pioneers (11)

Lawton (2-3, 1-1) got back in the win column with a big district battle against Putnam City (3-2, 1-1) last week, racking up a 20-0 lead in the first half. Sophomore backup QB Kyler Jenderseck replaced Zack Hanna who tore his MCL in practice this week. He completed 5 of 12 passes for 48 yards and scored on touchdown on the ground. The defense was the MVP of the game, making several big plays including a tipped pass in the endzone by Kejuan Neal to prevent a touchdown. Miles Davis recovered a muffed punt at the Putnam 22, leading to a touchdown run on the next play by Tre Curry. Curry carried the offense with 29 runs for 168 yards and two touchdowns. 

Stillwater (2-3, 0-2) made a big case for themselves early in the season, going 2-1 against ranked 6A-I opponents. Since then, they've given up two-straight district losses, 21-14 to Deer Creek (1-4, 1-1) and 10-7 to Putnam City West (4-1, 2-0). The Pioneers traveled to Putnam Friday and trailed 10-7 with 3:34 left and a fourth and goal conundrum. They went for the touchdown instead of the field goal and were stuffed. The Stillwater defense was stout through the game, giving up only ten rushing yards till the final minutes when the PC QB scrambled 81 yards and nearly scored. The Pioneers rallied for turnover on downs deep in their red, but QB Garrett Leming threw an interception three plays later. Leming only completed 2 of 12 passes for 10 yards with 3 interceptions. The run game was strong with the Pioneers, however, with a little over 200 yards between three carriers. 

The Pick: Lawton 23, Stillwater 10

No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (8) vs No. 8 Putnam City Pirates (6) 

A rivalry game with major district implications; Putnam City (3-2, 1-1) and Putnam West (4-1, 2-0) are both top dogs in their district and both have a lot to play for. The Patriots look to continue their undefeated district winning streak and hold themselves to a one-loss season. The Pirates need to reassert themselves after going down 26-14 against Lawton.

The Patriots won a close one over Stillwater (2-3, 0-2), only coming up with a 10-7 victory, but it was a victory nonetheless. They're one of only two teams left without a district loss and are shaping up to possibly make their first playoff appearance of the twenty-first century. They have already matched their record from last season, their best since 2000, and can only go up from here. QB Trey Gooch and Memphis commit WR Nick Robinson have brought heavy offense all season until they encountered Stillwater, and hope to build momentum before their crucial match up against Midwest City next week.

The Pirates have only two losses this season, both to solid opponents in Bixby (2-3, 0-1) and Lawton (2-3, 1-1). QB A.J. Newsome was 12-28-168-0 passing against Lawton and led on the ground with 20 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. The special teams were impressive, averaging fifteen yards per kick return and 29 yards per punt return. 

The Pick: Putnam West 23, Putnam City 21.

No. 9 Deer Creek Antlers (9) vs No. 10 Enid Plainsmen (12)

Deer Creek (1-4, 1-1) has had a hell of a schedule this year, starting the season with three straight losses to top-ten 6A-I opponents before finally finding a win against Stillwater. In week two of districts they went up against Midwest City and were shutout 35-0, their first shutout loss since 2011. The Antlers were held to a mere 78 yards of total offense and three first downs. QB Hunter Freese completed only 6 of 18 passes for 45 yards and was sacked three times. With the exception of the last game, the Antlers have actually played fairly well this season, averaging 24 points per game in their first four encounters, before being smothered by the powerful Bomber defense.

Enid (2-3, 1-1) secured a big upset over Choctaw (2-3, 0-2) last week, coming from behind for a 43-39 win. The Plainsmen averaged 5 yards per carry for 236 total, and first-time starting QB Mason Skrimager was 31 of 41 for 233 passing with no interceptions.

The Pick: No consensus. Scott Emigh says 28-14 Deer Creek, Virgil Noah says 28-14 Enid.

No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13) 

The Bartlesville Bruins (2-3, 1-1) will take a bye week after winning a district match against Ponca City (1-4, 0-2) Friday night. QB Garrett Meidl was 16-26-294-1 with three touchdowns; two by air and one on the ground. 


District Two Standings

2-0 Booker T Washington
2-0 Muskogee
1-0 Sand Springs
1-1 Bartlesville

0-1 Bixby
0-2 Ponca City
0-2 Sapulpa

District One Standings

2-0 Putnam West
2-0 Midwest City
1-1 Lawton
1-1 Putnam City

1-1 Deer Creek
1-1 Enid
0-2 Choctaw
0-2 Stillwater


Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief Record: 18-8, 69.2%   

Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Record: 18-8, 69.2%

 

Virgil Noah, Staff Writer Record: 14-12, 54%

Virgil Noah, Staff Writer
Record: 14-12, 54%

Week Four 6A-II rankings and predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board

No. 1 Bixby Spartans (Last week No. 1) vs. 6A No. 4 Westmoore Jaguars

The 6A-II back-to-back defending State Champions (1-2) bit off the second-toughest pre-conference schedule in the division and paid the price, starting with an 0-2 record. They also reaped the reward of experience and dolled out that experience on the Putnam City Pirates (2-1) Friday night. The Pirates stood little chance and what few scores they managed were the result of opportunistic slips in the Spartan defense. The whole of their offense was ineffective against the Spartans and the Bixby tide rolled to a 56-20 victory. Bixby held Putnam to a mere six first-downs and 187 yards against twenty-nine first downs and 473 yards of total offense. QB Tanner Griffin connected on 31 of 44 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns and the run game was alive and well with Tucker Pawley who needed only two quarters to run 28 times for 167 yards and four touchdowns.

Westmoore (3-0) received a nice bump in the 6A-I rankings after upsetting in-town rival No. 3 Southmoore 34-28 in overtime in week two for their second ranked win after beating rival No. 10 Moore (2-1) 51-41 in week one. This past Friday they handled unranked Edmond North (0-3) 21-7. Their offense was slow and only scored one touchdown with five drives ending on downs. The defense saved the game with a pick six and a forced fumble, and the third touchdown came on a punt return.

The Pick: Bixby 38, Westmoore 34

No. 2 Booker T. Washington Hornets (2) vs No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (15)

Booker T Washington (2-2) has had two close ones and two blow outs this season. They lost a close one to 6A-I No. 8 Edmond Santa Fe (2-1) when the Wolves were still ranked No. 3, and followed it up with a close 21-14 win over Midwest City (1-2) in week two. The next week they played the number two team in the country and it might as well have been a college team. IMG Academy (4-0) features 29 NCAA Division One-commits and the Ascenders topped the Hornets 49-7. This past weekend it was time for the Hornets to bring the rain, powering through 5A Shawnee (1-2) 43-6.

Ponca City (1-2) took a bye week after netting their first win 9-0 over 5A Guthrie. The first two weeks weren't nearly as pretty as Edmond Memorial and Enid both hung 42 points on the Wildcats. Enid was somewhat close at 42-31, but Edmond was a 42-6 blowout.

The pick: BTW 54, Ponca 9

No. 3 Muskogee Roughers (3) vs No. 11 Bartlesville Bruins (9)

The Muskogee Roughers (3-0) are the only undefeated team remaining in the division and look to continue that streak into district play. They've only notched one win against a ranked opponent, 16-12 over Midwest City, but scored blowouts in the following games. After topping McAlester (1-2) 51-13, they did even worse to Bentonville West (0-3). The Wolverines are the bottom-ranked team in Arkansas Class 7A, and the Roughers had little difficulty in a 62-13 victory. 

The Bruins (1-2) are in a rebuilding year after graduating most of their top performers in last year's powerful season. They won a close one 27-24 over McAlester in week one and were blown out 59-14 and 27-7 by 6A-I No. 7 Owasso (1-2) and 4A No. 4 Cascia Hall (2-1), respectively. 

The Pick: Muskogee 43, Bartlesville 18

No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (4) vs No. 5 Lawton Wolverines (7)

The marquee matchup of the week in 6A-II, the Bombers (1-2) and Wolverines (1-2) will kick off district play with much to prove. The Bombers have held their top-five ranking thanks to strength of schedule after falling 16-12 to Muskogee and 21-14 to Booker T. Last week they notched their first win 28-21 over 5A No. 6 Del City (2-1) while the Wolverines got in the win column with a 1000+ yard total offensive beat down on 5A Eisenhower (0-3). Lawton has also had a tough season thus far with some of the top dogs in 5A. They dropped a 56-41 shootout with 5A No. 3 Carl Albert (3-0) and 5A No. 1 Lawton MacArthur (3-0).

Lawton's pass game has been average at best, but Tre Curry is already at 589 yards rushing with only 79 carries for 6 touchdowns. The Bombers, however, are well prepared for the run game after holding Booker T to under 100 yards on the ground. 

The Pick: No consensus. Scott Emigh calls it 24-21 to MWC, Virgil Noah calls it 27-21 to Lawton.

No. 6 Sand Springs Sandites (6) vs No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)

One of the greatest rivalries in Oklahoma football is renewed this Friday in Sand Springs. The Chieftains (0-3) lead the Highway 97 Rivalry 44-42-3, but the Sandites have won the past two years by substantial margins, including a brutal 44-10 beat-down last season. The series is tied at 8-8 since 2000.

The Sandites are coming into the game with a lot to prove after dropping their first two games and barely winning the third. Last years' State Runners-Up scheduled a big dog in 5A Arkansas State Champions Pulaski Academy and were handily defeated 56-21. In week two they were unable to shut down the Choctaw air raid and gave up a 45-41 come-from-behind upset. They struggled offensively against Putnam West, but key defensive and special teams plays gave them the close 29-24 win.

The Pick: Sand Springs 46, Sapulpa 22

No. 7 Putnam City Pirates (8) vs No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (5) 

After scoring a surprising upset over the Sandites (1-2) in week two, the Yellowjackets were in-turn upset in week three. 6A-I Putnam City North (1-2) lost both in-town rivalry games 16-7 to Putnam City and 16-5 to Putnam City West, but got in the win column with a huge upset 17-14 over Choctaw. 

Choctaw relied on its powerful air-raid offense to win close 90+ point shootouts with Sapulpa and Sand Springs, but when it met Ryan Laverty's newly established Panther defense, they were useless without a substantial ground game. The Panthers forced seven turnovers, including six interceptions for the win.

Putnam City (2-1) already proved themselves against the Putnam North defense, then steamrolled El Reno 52-6 in week two. They suffered their first loss last week to the top-ranked Spartans, but still managed to score 20 points on big home-run plays. The Pirates have a versatile offense, transitioning smoothly to the ground after the Putnam North pass-defense held them to 90 yards, but managed to throw well against both El Reno and Bixby. 

The Pick: Choctaw 33, Putnam 32. 

No. 8 Putnam City West Patriots (11) vs No. 13 Enid Plainsmen (10)

The Patriots (2-1) gave the Sandites a run for their money last weekend, falling 29-24, but still hold solid wins over 5A Duncan 43-14 and 16-5 over in-town rival Putnam North (1-2). QB Trey Gooch was 16-25-1-172 passing against the Sandites and also carried 14 times for 72 yards and was in on every touchdown. 

The Plainsmen (1-2) won a 42-31 shootout with Ponca City in week two, but were edged out by Guthrie 22-19 in week one and were utterly floored 44-14 by 5A No. 7 Bishop McGuinness (2-1) last week. 

The Pick: PCW 26, Enid 17.

No. 10 Stillwater Pioneers (13) vs No. 12 Deer Creek Antlers (12)

The Pioneers (2-1) made a big statement last week with a 34-26 upset of 6A-I No. 9 Mustang (2-1). The Broncos had previously won 42-20 over Yukon and 44-3 over Norman, so if Stillwater's victory is any indicator of their season to come, they could be a serious contender for at least the district title, if not the State Championship. 

The Antlers (0-3) had strength of schedule boosting their ranking the first two weeks, but after losing 48-31 to unranked Edmond Memorial, they're going to have to put in work against Stillwater to prove themselves at the 6A level. That Memorial is a rival and rivalry games are often unpredictable lends the Antlers some credibility still, but going into districts 0-3 doesn't look good for the team's first year out of 5A. 

The Pick: Stillwater 37, Deer Creek 19

Former classmates Betts and Sigmon go head-to-head in MSU vs SW College

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Two Charles Page High School graduates found themselves at odds recently in a matchup between Southwestern College and Missouri State University.

Class of 2014 grad Jacob Sigmon started in the Southwestern College season opener two weeks ago. The Moundbuilders (0-1) dropped the first game of the season to Missouri State 57-0. Sigmon was the number two receiver for his team, hauling in three catches for twenty-seven yards. Southwestern returns to action Saturday at McPherson College (0-2).

On the other side of the ball was former classmate Tre Betts. Betts recorded two assisted and two unassisted tackles in the shutout win, but none were against his former teammate. Betts also played in week two against Murray State (0-2), but didn't record any tackles in the 28-22 victory. MSU improves to 2-0 and will next take on Kansas State (0-1) on Saturday, September 24th. 

Class of 2013 grad Isaiah Silversmith has seen action in both games this year for Northeastern State University (1-1). He didn't record any stats in the season-opening 38-19 loss to Washburn (1-1), but picked up two solo tackles in a 35-31 win over Lindenwood (1-1). The RiverHawks travel to Pittsburg State (1-1) Saturday.

Class of 2016 grad Jason Cooper saw action as a true freshman in the first game of the season at Southern Nazarene University (0-2). He recorded one solo and one assisted tackle during his third quarter showing in the season-opening 46-0 loss to Arkansas Tech (1-0) and earned a starting spot in week two where he posted one solo and two assisted tackles in a 63-7 loss to Harding University (2-0).

Editorial: How the 6A split saved 6A football

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Oklahoma high school football experienced a dramatic and controversial change in the fall of 2013 when the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) announced a split in Class 6A. The 16 highest-enrollment schools would be separated from the lower 16 and each division would play for their own State Title.

The reason for the decision was simple. Population. The current enrollment of Broken Arrow High School is 4,872. The enrollment of Booker T Washington? 1,317. The difference between the top of 6A and the bottom of 6A is greater than the top of 5A and the smallest schools in the State. Schools like BA, Union, Jenks, and Owasso have four times the talent pool to draw from. While the majority of the Hornet starters play both sides of the ball and never get a break, the Redskins have a roster larger than some colleges and have backups for their backups.

Class 6A was created in 1992 and the inaugural Championship was won by Norman. Jenks won it in ’93, Midwest City went back-to-back from ’94-95, and nobody but Jenks or Union has won it since. More often than not, the State Championship game has simply been a rematch between the Backyard Bowl rivals. Since the inception of 6A, Jenks leads the series with 14 titles to Union’s 7, and only 2 other teams have ever won.

Clearly population isn’t the only deciding factor, otherwise Broken Arrow would have won it every year. But there’s no denying the significance it plays. 6A teams were judged by their ability to turn a winning record, not by their ability to win State Titles. That was irrelevant. Nobody won State Titles but Jenks and Union.

In the 22 seasons that Sand Springs played the 6A division, they earned a total record of 98-131 and only managed 7 winning seasons with 7 playoff appearances. In five of those years they were eliminated by top-four-enrollment schools. The other years it was by top-ten schools. Since the 6A split, the Sandites have gone 15-11, made the playoffs both years, and actually won playoff games for the first time since 1997. In 2015, the Sandites made their first State Final appearance since 1966.

While the problems with the 6A split were clear—increased travel, “easier” brackets—the solution has proved to be a game-changer for the 16 schools who now feel like they actually have a legitimate chance. The culture around Sand Springs football has changed, and it’s not an isolated event.

The Class 6A-II conversation begins with two-time reigning State Champions, the Bixby Spartans. Bixby was an annual contender in Class 5A without fail. They weren’t part of the inaugural class of 6A. They didn’t move over until 2010. Prior to that, they had six-straight winning seasons with ten-straight playoff appearances. In their first year of 6A they finished the regular season 5-5, their worst record since 2003, and were eliminated in round one by Jenks. For the next two years they posted losing records and didn’t make the playoffs again till the 6A split. In a single year, the 6A powerhouses had killed the football culture at Bixby. They were lucky that they only had to live through it for four years before the split. In 2014, the Spartans were once again playing teams at their size, and they went 12-1 for their first ever State Title. Their only loss? A season-opening non-conference game against Jenks. Jenks won that one 66-20. The Spartans defended their title in 2015 and are currently ranked number one in 2016. After two straight winning seasons and State Titles, the Spartans challenged Jenks in their season opener and nearly won it, 38-34.

Booker T Washington has always had a culture of winning, with eight State Championships including two recently in 2008 and 2010 at the 5A level. The Hornets only had to play two seasons of 6A football, both ending in first round devastating playoff defeats at the hands of the Big Four. As soon as 6A split, they were back in it with a 7-game winning streak and a 10-2 season in 2014. Last year they went undefeated in the regular season and earned the number one rank before Sand Springs defeated them in the semi-finals. This year the Hornets are laying the foundation to take their program to the next level with College Hall of Fame member Brad Calip taking over as Head Coach and former University of Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship volunteering with the quarterbacks and offensive coaching. The Hornets have stepped up their pre-conference scheduling with 6A No. 5 Edmond Santa Fe and Florida-based private school IMG Academy which is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation with an entire roster of division-I commits.

Bartlesville was part of the first class of 6A, and went 0-10 in the first two years. They didn’t post a winning record till 2002, when they were doubled down on by Union 54-27 in the first round of the playoffs. Their next winning record wouldn’t come till 2008, and that was only due to a forfeiture by Jenks due to OSSAA sanctions. In 2009 they gave it a real run and even defeated Owasso, but still couldn’t fend off Jenks, BA, and Southmoore. In 2010 they had another winning record at 7-4. Their losses were to the Big Four. Since the 6A split they’ve made the playoffs both years and finished last season with only two losses. They held the No. 1 rank briefly after defeating Bixby, before falling to BTW two weeks later.

The success stories continue from there. The evidence is undeniable, the 6A split has saved 6A football. While critics of the sixteen-team bracket call it a JV division, the reality is that the top teams in 6A-II never could compete with the Big Four when they were in 6A, but now they could. Bixby nearly defeated 6A No. 1 Jenks in a pre-conference battle. BTW almost defeated 6A No. 5 Edmond Santa Fe. Sand Springs has begun scheduling real opponents like Arkansas State Champion Pulaski Academy, instead of their past habit of lighting up Nathan Hale, who has lost 37-straight games. Muskogee has brought in 5A State Championship coach Rafe Watkins from Guthrie and is now a real contender for the first time in years. Putnam City West is confidently rebuilding their program after a decade of losing seasons. Sapulpa brought on former Sand Springs Defensive Coordinator Robert Borgstadt as head coach to rebuild their ailing program.

Success breeds success. Is the 16-team bracket the best way to go? Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a full 32 schools the size of BA and we can re-institute the 32-team standard. Maybe we should split all the other classes into 16-team divisions as well. Or maybe we should call Bixby and Jenks Division Champions instead of State Champions and have them play each other for the true 6A State Championship. There’s many things we could try; some could work, and some won’t. But the fact is, 6A football is more competitive than it has ever been, and almost every school in the Class is now vying to be the next big deal. The Big Four monopoly hasn’t been broken, but at least 16 teams now feel like they have a real shot.

Sandite Football drops season opener to Pulaski Academy

Photo by: Morgan Miller

Photo by: Morgan Miller

SCORING SUMMARY

1Q 11:08 Hatcher 88 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt conversion failed. 6-0 Pulaski.
1Q 9:25 Greathouse 29 yard pass to Bales. Bales PAT. 7-6 Sandites.
1Q 8:59 Hatcher 23 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt conversion failed. 12-7 Pulaski.
1Q 2:14 Hatcher 80 yard pass to Johnson. 2pt run by Adams. 20-7 Pulaski.
1Q 0:15 Edwards 55 yard interception return. Bales PAT. 20-14. Pulaski
2Q 8:28 Hatcher 14 yard pass to Watkins. 2pt run by Hatcher. 28-14 Pulaski.
2Q 4:37 Hatcher 44 yard pass to McMillan. 2pt pass from Hatcher to Johnson. 36-14 Pulaski.
2Q 1:34 Anderson 33 yard run. Hatcher PAT. 43-14 Pulaski.
3Q 5:48 Hatcher 3 yard pass to Johnson. Hatcher PAT. 50-14 Pulaski.
4Q 9:46 Scott 7 yard run. Bales PAT. 50-21 Pulaski.
4Q 4:14 Titus 11 yard run. PAT failed. 56-21 Pulaski.

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The No. 4 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (0-1) bit off more than they could chew when they traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas Friday night. The 6A-II State Runners-Up played well against No.1 Pulaski Academy (1-0), but the Bruins rode a 27-game winning streak and back-to-back 5A State Championships. Their offense was machine-like, never punting, always going for fourth down, and racked up 614 offensive yards while holding the Sandites to 222.

Senior quarterback Hunter Greathouse was consistent with his performance last year, completing 12 of 25 passes for 110 yards and 1 interception. Junior running back Payton Scott led the Sandite ground game with 101 yards on 14 carries. Each scored a touchdown. Delvin Jordan led the defense with 11 tackles and a 7-yard sack. Josh Taber performed well in the secondary with 3 tackles and 3 pass break-ups, and sophomore Hayden Cramer impressed with 7 tackles.

The Sandites won the toss and elected to kick. The Bruins received the ball at their 27 and it looked like the Sandites would have little problem getting a turnover early-on. Gage Fain tackled Jaren Watkins for a loss of three, the Bruins had two passes fall incomplete, and a sideline interference call pushed Pulaski back to their 12. On fourth and 28 at their own 12 yard line, any normal team would have punted.

The Bruins aren’t any normal team.

Junior quarterback Layne Hatcher sent a screen pass to Tra Johnson and the receiver got the edge on the Sandite secondary for an 88 yard touchdown reception. Hatcher completed a pass to Johnson for a conversion attempt, but the receiver was laid out by Cramer.

Less than a minute into the game and the Sandites trailed 6-0.

The Bruins let off one of their notorious onside kicks, but Cody Motes downed it at the Sandite 49. Greathouse connected on his first pass attempt of the season to Kasey Bales for a gain of 4 and Scott picked up the first down with a 14-yard run. Scott only managed 1 yard on the next pitch, but on second down Greathouse let loose a 29-yard pass to Bales for a touchdown. Bales sent in the PAT to make it 7-6 in the Sandites’ favor and it looked like the game would be a shootout.

The Bruins scored on their next drive after picking up two first downs, each on a single play. Watkins ran for 30, Brett Lynch hauled in a pass for 16, and Johnson caught a 23-yard touchdown reception to regain the lead barely three minutes into the game. Once again the two-point conversion failed, but the home team led 12-7.

This time the Bruins’ onside kick was successful and they regained possession at the Sandite 48. Their drive fell flat, however, after Delvin Jordan picked up a 7-yard sack and three pass attempts fell incomplete.

Sand Springs picked up a pair of first downs, one on a fourth-and-short, before running out of steam. Isiah Woods tackled Scott for a loss of 4 and Blake Titus sacked Greathouse for a loss of 12. Bales punted and the Bruins took possession at their 20 after a touchback.

Hatcher’s first pass attempt was incomplete, but the second found its mark in Johnson for yet another massive touchdown. After receiving the screen, Johnson broke three tackles before clearing the Sandite secondary and running it 80 yards to score. This time the two-point conversion was good in the hands of Trey Adams and the Bruins took the 20-7 advantage with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.

The Sandites succeeded in downing the ensuing onside kick, but failed to convert a first down and gave up the ball at the Bruin 46.

Taber pulled down receiver Jacory McMillan who picked up 8 yards, and Tre Finch tripped up Watkins to hold the Bruins at third and 1. A pass attempt fell flat on third down, and a fourth down pass attempt found the open arms of Kris Edwards.

Edwards is a junior transfer from Okmulgee who had to sit out last season due to OSSAA eligibility rules. Edwards picked off the pass and returned it the full 55 for a touchdown with 15 seconds on the clock.

The Sandites began to plug the holes in their offense that allowed the long runs, but they couldn’t stop the Bruins from moving the ball all together. The next drive saw four first-downs for the Bruins before Hatcher connect on a 14-yard touchdown screen to Watkins. Hatcher punched in the two-point run and the Bruins doubled down on the Sandites, 28-14.

The Sandites’ next drive ended in a punt and once more the home team made quick work in driving 42 yards before connecting on a 44-yard pass to McMillan to score. Hatcher sent a two-point pass to Johnson for the 36-14 advantage.

Sand Springs punted once more on their next drive and the Bruins scored in six plays. RJ Anderson took a handoff and ran it 33 yards to score. Hatcher kicked the first point-after of the game for the Bruins and Sand Springs was down 43-14.

Sand Springs picked up 13 yards on a pass to Caleb Wash, then added another first down on a 12 yard reception by Mack Thompson. With 0:04 left Greathouse lobbed a deep ball downfield intended for Wash, but it was picked off by Hayden Henry and ran out of bounds to end the half.

The Sandites received the ball to start the second half and quickly picked up a pair of first downs before Henry broke up a pass attempt to Bales to force a turnover.

Pulaski went to work on a 91-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 3 yard pass to Johnson. Hatcher’s kick was good and the lead furthered to 50-14.

The Arkansas High School Activities Association utilizes a mercy rule adopting a “running clock” anytime a team reaches a 35-point lead after the first half. The Sandites were quickly running out of time.

Sand Springs quickly went to work on a 71-yard drive and Scott broke three tackles on a run before being piled into the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown. Bales sent in the PAT, but the Sandites still trailed 50-21 with less than ten minutes remaining.

The Bruins fielded an onside kick attempt at their 33 and made quick work with another march downfield. Titus took a direct snap 11 yards for a touchdown, but the extra point attempt was a miss.

The remaining few minutes quickly passed and the Bruins had secured their 29th-straight victory.

The Sandites will return to action on Friday, September 9th, when they travel to Choctaw. The Yellowjackets won their first game Friday night in a 52-42 shootout with Sapulpa.