A heartbreaker game left Sapulpa 9th-graders reeling on Monday after narrowly missing a win in the final minutes of their game against the Sandites, 32 to 28.
After a harrowing first quarter in which nobody scored, Sapulpa got first blood when Tavion Taft ran 65 yards to put Sapulpa in the lead at 6-0. The extra point kick was blocked.
The lead didn’t last long though, as Sandite Daren Hawkins ran the kickoff 67 yards to a touchdown, putting both teams at 6 points each. The extra point was good, and the Sandites moved to 7 points over Sapulpa’s 6.
The rest of the second quarter was largely uneventful until the last seconds, when Hawkins caught a 57-yard pass from Blaine Baldridge and ran it into the endzone. A blocked kick leaves the first half at 13-6 Sand Springs.
Sapulpa had a fireball run just a few minutes into the second half, with Taft running 75 yards on a kickoff return to put Sapulpa just behind Sand Springs at 13-12. A 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Sandites got the ball.
Joseph Mattison nailed a 3-yard run with nearly 6 minutes left, paired with a good kick brought the score to 20-12 Sand Springs.
Less than 2 minutes later Sapulpa had tied it up at 20-20 after Taft ran 55 yards and nailed a 2-point conversion.
Mattison again pulled off a short run, grabbing the 9 yards needed to get Sand Springs back in the lead at 26-20, and the kick was no good.
Sapulpa regained the lead in the last 3 minutes of the the third quarter with another Taft marathon—this time 50 yards—and again, another conversion that placed them ahead of Sand Springs at 28-26
The heartbreak came in the fourth quarter, which was back and forth until Sand Springs managed to snag a 66-yard pass as Baldridge threw to Hawkins again, placing Sand Springs in the lead at 28-26 after a failed 2-point conversion.
But that wasn’t the worst of it: Sapulpa had one more chance to take the lead near the very end but the ball was intercepted by Joseph Mattison at the one yard line.
Mattison, who had been sidelined early in the game after taking an especially hard hit, was thought to be out for the rest of the game, but his return in the second half is what drove Sand Springs to their narrow win in this very tough game.
Featured Image: Tavion Taft was the Sapulpa powerhouse in the heartbreaking game against Sand Springs on Monday. Photo credit Kirk McCracken