The Tahlequah Tigers kept the Sapulpa Chieftains from coming back 21-14 after being shut out for the first half of Friday night’s game in Tahlequah.
Sapulpa started the game solidly with a 55-yard passing touchdown in the first quarter, despite the season loss of their star quarterback Zac Mason. Mason is recovering from surgery after tearing his ACL in the win against Bartlesville.
Junior Bryson Williams also managed a second throwing touchdown, this time a 24-yard strike to D’Angelo Mitchell in the second quarter. It looked like Sapulpa had the game in the bag, but Tahlequah did not give up.
The Tigers remained scoreless for most of the third quarter. With under a minute to go, Tahelquah’s Tyler Joice threw a 13-yarder to Jonathan Davis.
Three minutes into the final quarter the Tigers’ Malik McMurtrey took off 74 yards down the field to score for Tahlequah again. Sapulpa was able to stay in the game by stopping the Tigers from converting a two-point attempt and keeping a one-point lead.
With just three minutes left, Joice kept the ball and ran 16-yards and broke the plane to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. Coda Bunch rushed the ball in for a two-point conversion, making it that much harder for Sapulpa to pull off a win.
The Chieftains were able to get to Tahlequah’s 32 yard line with two minutes left, but were unable to score as the clock ticked down, making the final tally 21-14.
It was a tough loss, especially after the news on Mason, and Sapulpa came into the game with a little extra spirit after winning the Spirit Stick this week. The Chieftains showed they could still score through the air and kept the Tigers scoreless for almost three quarters.
Sapulpa falls to 3-3 on the season with two district losses. They will play Tulsa Hale next week at home. The game should be a confidence booster to try and prepare for facing off against Pryor the following week. Besides their first loss of the season 30-0 against East Central, each of Hale’s opponents have scored over 50 points on the Rangers. Hale has remained winless and was beaten by the Chieftains last season 64-0.