MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 18, 2013

Sapulpa’s strong second half leads to win over MHS

SAPULPA – The Muskogee Roughers put all of their playoff hopes in one basket by needing a win over the Sapulpa Chieftains.

But after a promising first half, the basket broke and the Roughers came out on the short end of 38-21 loss to Sapulpa in a crucial District 6A-2 showdown at Collins Field here Thursday night.

“It‘s disappointing obviously,” Muskogee coach Josh Blankenship said. “We put it all in that game and we knew we had to win to have a chance to advance and that hurts.”

Roughers’ quarterback Quintahj Cherry delivered an interception on the first play from scrimmage, the first of four Muskogee tournovers, giving Sapulpa the ball at the Muskogee 30 yard line.

Fortunately for the Roughers, the Chieftain’s running back Dea Williams fumbled the ball back to the Roughers two plays later

Sapulpa took over following a Muskogee punt at the Rougher 44-yard line.

On the second play of the drive, Rougher defensive end Tramal Ivy crashed into the Chieftain backfield, knocking the ball loose from Williams.

Ivy then picked the ball and ran it back to the Sapulpa 23-yard line. But a personal foul penalty moved it back to the Chieftain 40. Sporting a new look wildcat set with Ivy at quarterback, the 6-foot-4,220-pounder ran four times in the series and Muskogee had a first-and-goal at the Sapulpa 3.

But three plays lost three yards and Muskogee had to settle for a 22-yard Chase Soper field goal to take the 3-0 lead with 1:27 to play in the first quarter.

The Roughers’ defense, which Blankeship praised for their play in the first half, forced a punt. But from their own 21-yard line, Cherry fumbled and Sapulpa got it at the Rougher 15. The next play saw Chieftain quarterback Sam Gottsch team up with his favorite receiver Ben Johnson for the first of three TDs.

Later in the quarter, Johnson, also playing defensive  back, picked off a Cherry pass to set the Chieftains up at the Muskogee 45-yard line. A 41 yard Gottsch-to-Johnson toss gave Sapulpa a first-and-goal at the Muskogee four-yard line.

The Rougher defense pushed Sapulpa back to the 15 to force a 32-yard field goal by Cameron Mortazavi to make it 10-3 going into halftime.

“We played well on defense in the first half,’ Blankenship said. “But in the second half they just came out and whipped us. They’d come out and just smoked us with 15 and whipped us up front. It’s hard to win when that happens.”

Muskogee fumbled a lateral on the first possession of the second half and three plays later Gottsch and Johnson hooked up again for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 17-3. But Muskogee fought back on the first play following the Sapulpa kickoff as Cherry found Ivy at tight end on a fly pattern for an 80-yard catch to pull Muskogee to within 17-9 with a two point conversion try failing.

But with the Roughers’ offense sputtering, Sapulpa opened the fourth quarter with a 79 yard drive with Gottsch and Johnson connecting for a 51 yard score and later pounded it on the ground on a 51 yards drive with Williams getting the last 15 yards to increase the Chieftain lead to 31-9 with 4:48 to play

Muskogee’s offense went airborne from that point with Cherry and Tyriq  Beasley connecting on a 55 yard pass and run to cap an 80-yard drive. Again a two point conversion try failed and it was 31-15.

Williams closed the door on the Roughers as he capped a 50-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run to make it 38-15. Muskogee got a late score on a Cherry-to-Ivy 32 yard pass with 14 seconds to play,

The left-handed Gottsch finished with 260 yards passing. Johnson accounted for 176 of those yards, while Williams rushed for a 114 yards for the Chieftains.

Cherry had a 258 yards through the air for Muskogee with three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

So with playoff hopes now dimmed, how do the Roughers proceed?

“I’ll just have to look at things and see if there’s a way to get in the playoffs,” Blankenship said. “If not, then we’ll have to regroup and decide how we want to finish this season.”

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