B.T. Washington's key plays help top Sapulpa
Punt pins Chieftains on goal line, then Hornets recover fumble for a TD
SAPULPA — If the offense can't put points on the board, maybe the defense and special teams can.
The Booker T. Washington Hornets needed something Friday in a key District 6AII-2 football battle at Sapulpa, and punter Drew Wilkie and linebacker Landon Clardy made it happen.
Wilkie pinned the Chieftains within inches of their goal line and Clardy recovered a fumble in the end zone on the next play.
Clardy's touchdown broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter and spurred the No. 3 Hornets to a 20-3 triumph over the gritty No. 6 Chieftains before an estimated 2,500 spectators in George F. Collins Stadium.
“It was a nice punt and we had smart enough players to pick (the ball) up where it needed to be picked up,” Clardy said. “That was a good sequence of events that happened for us.”
Casey Zandbergen downed Wilkie's 41-yard punt within
inches of the Sapulpa goal line, the Hornets came charging up the middle on the next play and Clardy recovered when Sapulpa quarterback Eli Williams fumbled after colliding with his fullback.
Dax Hill exploded 44 yards with a screen pass from freshman quarterback Gentry Williams to make it 14-3 in the third quarter and Welch scored from a yard out with 8:03 left. That finished the Chieftains, who matched a sensational defensive effort by the Hornets but never got their explosive offense on track.
“It's an ugly win, but we'll take it and move on,” B.T. Washington coach Brad Calip said. “Our defense played lights out, but when we get to the tough opponents, we can't depend on those guys to win the game. The offense will have to be productive if we're gonna have a chance to win (a repeated Class 6A Division II title).”
The Hornets, who managed only 10 first downs and 194 yards, improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the district. They play at Muskogee during fall break next Thursday in a game that probably will decide District B.T. Washington 0 7 7 6 — 20 Sapulpa 0 3 0 0 — 3
BTW: Landon Clardy recovered fumble in end zone (Drew Wilkie kick)
SAP: FG, Kaivon Mortazavi 36
BTW: Dax Hill 44 pass from Gentry Williams (Wilkie kick)
BTW: Aryion Welch 1 run (kick fail)
SAP BTW 6AII-2's second playoff spot.
In one down note, they lost Oklahoma State commit DJ Jones to a possible shoulder separation. He left the game and was taken by ambulance for observation.
Sapulpa, which scored 63 and 49 points in its previous two games, fell to 5-2, 2-2 and play at Shawnee next Thursday.
The Hornets held the Chieftains to just five first downs and 117 yards of offense — and 52 of that came on one play. Following the Hornets' first TD, A.J. Checotah broke into the clear from his own 20 and would have scored if Hill, the fleet University of Michigan commit, hadn't tackled him from behind at the Hornets 28.
But the Chieftains had to settle for Kaivon Mortazavi's 36yard field goal on a night when scoring chances were not plentiful.
Early in the third quarter, Sapulpa linebacker Marcus Esparza recovered a fumble at the Hornets 44 and threw a halfback-option pass 15 yards to Kendon Williams on the next play.
With a personal foul penalty tacked on, the Chieftains were in business at the Hornets 14, but they went backward from there, and a bad snap from center caused Mortazavi's field goal attempt to be blocked.
Later in the quarter, the Williams-to-Hill touchdown pass gave the Hornets breathing room and a 14-3 lead.
“That's a great football team, maybe the best defense in the state,” Sapulpa coach Robert Borgstadt said about the Hornets.
“We made some mistakes, but overall I'm proud of our guys for battling. We were 2-18 the last two years and people wonder if Sapulpa is for real, but I think this shows we can at least play with some of the best teams in 6AII,” he said.