SAND SPRINGS — The return of a key player on offense and several big defensive stops lifted Sand Springs to a hard-fought 21-19 homecoming victory over Shawnee in District 6AII-2 action Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Daren Hawkins, in his first game of the season for the Sandites (2-2, 1-0), caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ty Pennington with 2:32 left in the third quarter to make the score 21-12.
"(Hawkins) is a big playmaker for us," Sand Springs coach Dustin Kinard said. "We needed a play there and he went and got it done."
Jacob Snodgrass scored two touchdowns on the ground for the Sandites.
The Wolves (1-3, 0-1) made it interesting after a 13-yard touchdown pass from Karsen Conaway to Cyn'Cere Spencer with 2:30 to play in the fourth quarter.
Shawnee then forced a punt and got the ball back at its 31-yard line with 41 seconds remaining.
The Wolves had one more chance after a 20-yard pass from Conaway to Scout Cawvey on fourth down put the ball at the Sand Springs 42-yard line with nine seconds left.
Shawnee got pushed back to the other side of the 50-yard line after a penalty, and then a last-gasp pass on the final play sailed out of bounds near the Sandite 20.
The Wolves had the ball in Sand Springs territory on all five of their second-half possessions. The Sandite defense, however, came up big and allowed just the one score.
"The defense really stepped up tonight and made plays," Kinard said.
Sand Springs got on the board first, courtesy of a 5-yard run from Jacob Snodgrass out of the wildcat formation at the 5:14 mark of the first quarter.
Shawnee answered on a 55-yard touchdown strike from Conaway to Jaylon Orange. The extra point was no good, keeping the Sandites up 7-6 with 2:10 left in the first period.
Orange then lined up in the backfield and barreled in from 9 yards out. The Wolves failed on the 2-point try, resulting in a 12-7 advantage with 2:53 remaining in the second quarter.
Sand Springs took the lead back on the ensuing drive. Snodgrass again did the honors from the wildcat, this time from a yard out, with 31 seconds to play in the first half. That set the stage for the second-half drama.
District play continues for Sand Springs with two straight road games (Muskogee and Bartlesville) before returning home to host Ponca City at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17.