Friday Night Preview: Sapulpa vs Sand Springs in season opener

Sapulpa Football kicks off this Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Sand Springs at 7 p.m. as they face off against the Sandites in what is commonly referred to as the Highway 97 Rivalry in its 95th game of the ongoing series.

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This will be the first game for head coach Tim Holt Jr., who is returning to his home school to coach the Chieftains.

Sapulpa will have 6 players returning to the offensive side of the ball, including star seniors wide-receiver D’Angelo Mitchell and Quarterback Zac Mason who threw for 1,437 yards, 17 touchdowns, and merely four interceptions. These two will be integral in the Chieftains offensive plan that will also include Seniors wide receiver Colton Morton and Tyreese Jones who will be returning to his role as an explosive running back. Also, the line will see some love this year as Senior Coleman LeCoq at center and Senior Guard Nate Loyd. This year the coaching staff is looking to run a spread offense to get the ball to all the top talent in the open field to give them running room to make plays. 

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The defense will also see a total of 6 returning individuals. Seniors Connor Rose and Devon Robers saw a lot of field time and together recorded 174 tackles, 5 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Junior Xander Konell will play outside linebacker and will see more playtime this year. Sophomore Justin Squire who will play safety is someone to watch as Holt and his staff have heaped praise on the kid, calling him a potential “big time playmaker.” The line will also see two returning players, Juniors Conner McCall and Marcus Medina. 

Sapulpa is coming off a 5-5 season and looking to improve on what was a pandemic-riddled 2020 year. They currently are ranked No. 9 in 5A. 

They will be playing a Sand Springs team that was voted as No. 8 in Tulsa World’s Class 6AII rankings. Sand Springs is coming off a 7-5 season including a win against their Highway 97 rival Sapulpa in a 21-17 squeaker last season.

The Sandites have star QB Ty Pennington returning to their offense, along with WR Keaton Campbell and RB Blake Jones. They will be covered by a younger offensive line this year after seeing 5 players graduate last year. Their defense remains mostly unchanged however and has several players the Chieftains will need to keep an eye on to pull out a victory. 

The rivalry has been an annual tradition since 1930 and Sapulpa leads the ongoing series at 45-44-5.

Featured image courtesy of Sapulpa Public Schools