After a convincing triumph to open their 2018 campaign a week ago, expectations and confidence ran high among the Chieftain faithful as the Claremore Zebras came calling at Collins Stadium Friday evening.
The Chieftains did not disappoint. For 47 minutes and 27 seconds of Friday’s contest, the Sapulpa Chieftains held the visitors scoreless. However, the Zebras left town with a token seven points, and another loss.
With the boys in blue holding a commanding 27-0 lead with a scant 33 seconds left in the contest, Claremore (0-2) quarterback Charlie Murdock connected with wide receiver Larry Ree on 2nd down on a 15 yard pass to save a little face for the visitors,
For the Zebras, it was way too little, way too late. A dominant offensive showing propelled the home team to a 27-7 victory, and a 2-0 record on the young season.
Coming off a run-dominated win a week ago, the Chieftains started the game with a balanced eight play, 43 yard drive that stalled at the Claremore 28 yard line, featuring an even split of four rushes and four pass plays.
Sapulpa drew first blood on its next offensive possession with a little razzle-dazzle when running back Marcus Esparza connected with Kenyon Kahmeyer on a 27 yard touchdown reception at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter to put the Chieftains up 7-0 after the Kaivon Mortazavi charity point. The play was set up on a flea-flick toss from quarterback Elijah Williams to Esparza, with the Zebra defense fully taking the bait. The touchdown capped an eight play, 78-yard drive.
Sapulpa’s next mark came with 1:15 left in the first quarter when Williams capped a three play, 48 yard drive with an eight yard rush to give Sapulpa a 14-0 lead.
Williams bagged his second touchdown of the evening on a 35-yard rush that bookended a four play, 67 yard drive to put the boys in blue up 21-0 with 3:43 left in the 2nd quarter, and put the Chieftains on cruise control heading into the half.
After a scoreless third stanza, Sapulpa increased the lead to 27-0 at the 10:08 mark of the 4th quarter when Esparza found paydirt on a 24 yard sprint to cap a four play, 53 yard drive with the clock and Lady Momentum decidedly on Sapulpa’s side.
With the Zebra defense unable to contain the Williams-Esparza onslaught and a desperation switch from a ground attack to a spread offense in the game’s later stages, Sapulpa looked capable of scoring virtually at will. The Chieftains were poised and primed to add to the tally early in the third quarter on an 11 play, 58 yard drive that saw a Chieftain touchdown negated by a holding penalty, and two consecutive rushes for loss, before the drive stalled at the Zebra 46 yard line.
Sapulpa went for 161 yards on the ground on 37 rush attempts, and 183 yards passing on 17 attempts.
The Chieftains take their unbeaten record on the road for the first time next week when they visit the East Central Cardinals before returning home September 21 to open district play against perennial power Bixby.