The Sapulpa Chieftains took to the road for the first time this season Friday evening, putting their perfect record on the line against a scrappy Tulsa East Central Cardinal team that, like the Chieftains, has found itself on the right side of a blowout victory this season. On this particular Friday evening, it was Sapulpa’s turn to again be on the right side of an old-fashioned beat down.
Sapulpa (3-0) continued its turf pounding ways while taking full advantage of the Cardinals’ inept special teams play in a 49-12 blistering of East Central (1-2) at Tulsa’s East Side Sports Complex.
In a scene that has become all too familiar to Chieftain fans, Sapulpa quarterback-cum-maestro Elijah Williams conducted a Chieftain offense that bagged seven touchdowns on the evening. Kicker Kaivon Mortazavi was perfect on charity points for the first time this season.
On a hot night in Tulsa, Williams had the hot legs and an eye for the end zone, accounting for three touchdowns, with running back A.J. Checotah snagging a pair, and Te’zohn Taft and Ethan Esparza tallying one each.
The Chieftains’ first score came on their first offensive series when Williams drew first blood on a one yard plunge to cap 12 play, 81 yard drive to give the visitors a 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first quarter.
Sapulpa’s special teams recovered the ensuing on-sides kick to set the fast-paced offense up with good field position and momentum camping on the Chieftain sideline. However, the drive stalled four plays later when Mortazavi missed on a 26 yard field goal with just under six minutes to go in the first stanza.
The Chieftains struck again at the 2:02 mark of the first quarter when Taft capped a six play, 43 yard drive with a 10 yard touchdown scamper to give Sapulpa a 14-0 lead.
The Sapulpa defense started the second quarter off on a positive note, stopping the Cardinals’ first legitimate threat of the evening by intercepting Cardinal quarterback Eric Crumb at the Sapulpa 33 yard line. The Chieftain offense was unable to make good on the charity, turning in a rare three and out on the subsequent possession.
Esparza’s touchdown plunge came on the heels of an East Central fumble that set the visitors up with a first and goal at the Cardinals’ eight yard line with 3:28 left in the first half to give the Chieftains a 21-0 lead. The Chieftains needed only two plays to thank the hosts for their generosity.
The Cardinals ruined the brewing Chieftain shutout when East Central’s Donnie Atkins scored the hosts’ first points of the evening with 1:00 left in the first half to set the halftime score at 21-6.
It took Sapulpa less than a minute to respond, needing only three plays and 32 yards to take a 28-6 lead at the 11:06 mark in the third quarter when Williams busted loose on a 48 yard end zone sprint to cap a three play, 68 yard drive.
Williams appeared to have notched his fourth touchdown of the evening on a 42 yard rush with 7:20 left in the third quarter, only to have the score negated on a holding call. Checotah found pay dirt three plays later on a 25 yard dash of his own to cap a seven play, 54 yard drive to give the Chieftains a 35-6 advantage with 6:29 left in the stanza.
Sapulpa scored fast and furious in the second half. The Chieftains’ next score, Williams’ third and final of the evening came on a two yard dive, capped a two play, 22 yard drive that was set up by a mishandled East Central punt.
A follow up 10 yard East Central punt led to the Chieftains’ final score of the evening, a 16 yard Checotah mark to cap a one play drive to put the Chieftains’ lead at 49-6 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
East Central grabbed six pride points on a one yard rush with 15 seconds left in the game to set the final score at 49-12.
The Chieftains will put their undefeated record on the line next Friday at Collins Stadium as they open district play against 6A-2 power Bixby.