Sequoyah ran into a buzzsaw Friday night—right from the get go.
That buzzsaw came in the form of the visiting Sperry Pirates.
Sperry, the defending Class 2A state champion, wasted little time establishing its dominance, roaring to a 52-0 halftime lead before settling for a 52-13 victory against the Class 3A Eagles at the Pope Athletic Complex.
“We knew they were very talented with good players at the skill positions,” Eagles head coach Rob Gilbreath said of the Pirates, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A this week.
“They have a lot of horses in their stable.”
After absorbing one-sided season-opening losses to a pair of Class 4A opponents in Miami and Hilldale, any thoughts that a step down to a Class 2A foe would produce a better outcome for Sequoyah (0-3) were quickly dispelled against the Pirates (2-0), who last week thumped another Rogers County school in Verdigris—also a fellow District 3A-4 member with the Eagles—by a 49-13 count.
The Pirates took the opening kickoff, and on their first offensive snap, running back Bryce Carter took a handoff up the middle, cut to the left sideline then veered back to the middle of the field going untouched on a 69-yard touchdown run with only 13 seconds elapsed in the game.
Sequoyah then helped the Pirates increase their lead on the Eagles’ ensuing offensive possession.
After a pair of runs netted no yards and with the ball on their own 7-yard line, a bad snap from center rolled through the end zone to give Sperrry a safety and a 9-0 advantage with 10:09 still to play in the opening quarter.
Taking over on the Eagles 42-yard line following Sequoyah’s kick after the safety, the Pirates needed only three plays to cash in.
A short Carter run was followed by pass completions by Sperry quarterback Cooper Park of 33 yards to Stormy Weathers and a 12-yard TD pass to Cole Kuykendall for a 17-0 Pirates cushion at the 9:17 mark of the first quarter.
But Sperry was not done in the opening 12 minutes.
One play following a Sequoyah punt to the Eagles 37, running back Cole Whiteley swept around the left side and motored into the end zone for the Pirates’ third touchdown of the quarter and a 24-0 lead with 6:56 to go in the period.
“They are a big-play team,” Gilbreath said. “We needed to eliminate their big plays but just couldn't get the job done.”
Sperry’s 24-point outburst had taken just 5:04 off the game clock.
Still, the Pirates were not finished on the scoreboard in the quarter.
After taking over on its 25-yard line following a Sequoyah punt, Carter—who had 138 yards rushing in the first quarter—scampered off the right side for 66 yards to the Eagles 9-yard line.
From there, Walker Niver bulled into the end zone off left tackle with 29 seconds remaining in the period to give Sperry a 31-0 advantage.
Team statistics for the quarter showed Sperry’s domination.
The Pirates amassed 246 yards in the opening 12 minutes, while Sequoyah’s net total was zero. The Eagles had just one first down in the quarter.
Sequoyah did get untracked on one offensive drive in the second quarter, converting on a fourth-and-2 play when quarterback Brett Burks hooked up with wide receiver Logan Hattaway on a 37-yard pass play.
“That’s a freshman-to-freshman combination,” Gilbreath said of the two, first-year players for the Eagles.
The pass completion would be the Eagles’ longest play from scrimmage in the game.
Hattaway finished with two catches for 47 yards. He also chipped in a team-high 38 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Sperry didn’t let the foot off the gas much in the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns on just four offensive plays (Park TD passes of 57 yards to Kohlby Foster and 58 yards to Whiteley).
The Pirates also added a 37-yard punt return for a touchdown from Weathers to take a 52-0 lead into halftime.
“I thought the team responded and came out motivated and ready to play. in the second half,” Gilbreath said.
“We did not commit as many turnovers in the second half and did a good job of taking care of the ball.”
As a result, Sequoyah held Sperry—which substituted freely after halftime—scoreless in the second half that was played with a running clock in effect.
In addition, the Eagles found the end zone on two occasions in the fourth quarter.
Running back Donovan Wilson plunged in from a yard out on a fourth-and-goal situation for Sequoyah’s first touchdown with 7:42 to play.
Reserve fullback Jacob Hancock rushed for a 4-yard TD with 2:57 remaining for Sequoyah, which finished with 120 yards rushing in the game another 71 yards through the air.
“We are scrappy,” Gilbreath said. “The kids did not quit and fought hard in the second half We challenged the team at halftime and said, ‘Let’s win the second half.’”
Sperry ended up with 564 yards of total offense (225 rushing and 239 passing).