, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

September 7, 2013

Sandites pull away to down Muskogee

SAND SPRINGS – One goal, winning a tone-setting opener, was foiled. The long term goal of a postseason berth is still there.

But to get it, Muskogee’s got a mighty steep hill to climb after the 39-14 loss to Sand Springs here Friday night.

It took a fourth Sand Springs turnover for the Roughers to seize the moment, thereby getting back into the game at the half trailing 14-7. Then the Rougher offense, stuffed all night in the run game, had what looked like a game-changing drive to start the third quarter, an 82-yard, 11-play march mostly on the arm of sophomore quarterback Quintahj Cherry.

Cherry found the suddenly inserted defensive end-turned safety Tramal Ivy on a 22-yard pass across the middle then capped it with a 29-yarder to James Buckhanan in the corner of the end zone to knot it at 14 with 5:44 to go in the third quarter.

But a 46-yard kickoff return by Davey Thayer had the Sandites immediately in business, and from there, they shifted from a passing game which had been effective to a ground march, burning up all 55 yards on handoffs, the last being the first of Myron Patrick’s three rushing TDs, a 4-yard run.

Following that, MHS sophomore running back Tyriq Beasley, who was bottled up all night by the Sand Springs defense, broke through one of the few holes he had on a four-yard burst but lost the football into the arms of Trace Feischman, who carried it from the Rougher 31 to the 7. On the next play, Patrick shot through for his second TD, both in the final 1:32 of the quarter.

Sandites quarterback Cody Hale, who threw for one touchdown the first half, completed his only pass of the second half to Tre Betts on a 23-yard TD with 6:13 to play. Patrick added a capper, a 3-yard run with 3:19 left. That drive was set up when defensive lineman Delvin Jordan took a batted Cherry pass form the MHS 39 to the 5.

So in a sense, turnovers led to a collapse similar to the outcome of last year’s game between the two teams at Indian Bowl. The only difference, Muskogee led at the half in that one. It didn’t lead once on Friday in losing their third straight to a much different Sandite team than the ones which accounted for 20 straight Rougher wins in the series.

Roughers coach Josh Blankenship is 0-3 against the Sandites’ turnaround.

“That’s a very good team. Give them credit,” Blankenship said. “As improved as I think we are, they’re better than us right now. I knew there was a possibility that they were going to be able to do some things to us and a matter of staying patient and playing hard and getting those big hits and big plays like we did, in the first half especially.

“That’s how we  have to approach things. I’d love to be a shutdown defense but if we can’t be, let’s at least be patient and get those turnovers when we can and take advantage of them, and I think we did that in the first half.”

Well, one anyway.

Jy’Reece Vanhook, the Tulsa McLain senior whose eligibility was granted by the OSSAA this week, had an interception late in the first half.  Cherry then hooked up with Bryson Bell for 54 yards to the Sandite 2, setting up Sammy Richardson’s scoring run from that point with 9.5 seconds until halftime.

A recovery of a fumbled punt by Tracy Hughes at the Sand Springs 26 was the next-best opportunity in the first half, one of three lost Sandite fumbles.

On the first play from scrimmage, Cherry took off for six yards to the 20 but an illegal block brought it back to the 37. A Cherry pass two plays later to Anthony King was caught at the Sand Springs 3 but a step out of bounds.

Joshua Medrano and Noah Ashley scooped up the other loose footballs but those merely snuffed Sandite threats. Muskogee’s offense was three-and-out following both.

Sand Springs had 227 yards at the half and for the game, 368. The Roughers had 293, 219 from Cherry’s 23-of-35 night passing. They finished with 74 yards rushing but had minus-4 at the half and 39 on four carries on the final drive by reserve Jacouri Freeman.

The 130-pound Beasley had nine yards on 14 carries in his first start since his 107-yard debut in week 10 last year against Bixby. He was running behind an offensive line with no returning starters.

“Tyriq’s explosive but he has to have a perfect executed run by the offensive line and he’s got to crease out of there somewhere and when it’s not, it’s not effective,” Blankenship said.

Cherry had a word of acknowledgement, and encouragement, for that line.

“We missed some blocks and were grabbing, but a lot of it was first-game butterflies,” Cherry said. “We’ll fight through it.”

Muskogee goes to No. 6 Owasso next Friday before their home opener in two weeks against Arkansas power Fayetteville High.

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