By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Crazy Endings. It always means jubilation for one team and heartbreak for another.
It was heartbreak for Yukon Friday night.
Yukon had not one, but two last plays of the game from the Sand Springs’ one-yard line and came up short in a 26-21 loss to the Sandites at Miller Stadium.
It was a game that Yukon rallied from a 20-7 first half deficit to a 21-20 lead with 4:46 remaining in the game. Sand Springs, though, countered with a fourth quarter touchdown drive of their own to take a 26-21 lead with 2:10 remaining.
The time was enough for Yukon to move down the field and get a first and goal at the Sandites eight-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the game.
Yukon had four chances from the two-yard line in the final 40 seconds of the game. The Millers were stopped by the Sand Springs defense on second and third down and with time running out, were stopped a third time. Sand Springs, after the stop, went running off the field in celebration. But, a flag thrown on the play gave the Millers’ new life and a second chance to win the game with an untimed down after Sand Springs was called for offsides.
Both teams came back on the field and on the Millers’ second chance, quarterback Perry Olsen took the snap and appeared was stopped at the line of scrimmage. But, fullback Noah Davis was standing in the end zone with the ball after it appeared that Olsen didn’t cleanly handle the snap.
The officials ruled that the quarterback was down before the fumble and the play was over, giving Sand Springs the win.
“We had a horrible first half,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “No energy, flat and it was hard to watch because of the lack of energy and enthusiasm. I can’t explain that, because we did things this week to create more energy.
“The second half, I loved the way we came out after we had a talk in the locker room,” he added. “We came out with great energy and did some great things. But, honestly tonight, our football team did not deserve to win. I hate to say that because I hate losing, but we did not deserve to win because of some things that went on during the game that you wouldn’t have know because you weren’t down here. Until our team learns how to mature and grow up, those things will continue.”
After the flag, it looked like it was going to be heartbreak for Sand Springs and not the Millers. Yukon had started at their own 27 yard line. On first down, Antonio Washington took the pitch and found a seam breaking a 53-yard run to the Sand Springs 20-yard line. Olsen ran two plays to get a first and goal at the eight, then carried the ball for six yards to the two-yard line.
But, the Millers couldn’t get the ball into the end zone on four tries.
“We didn’t get the snap, never hit the quarterback hands and they claim we fell on the ball before Noah got it and went into the end zone,” Reed said. “I have no idea, but we should never have been in that situation.
“On the first play, we called a play that we kept in our back pocket and got the ball deep in their territory,” he said. “We had plenty of time, we should have used a time out, but to be honest, I didn’t want them to get the ball back. I was thinking we would bleed it down a little bit. If I had it to do again, I would have taken a time out sooner.
“We had two plays called at the end and that obviously was a fiasco. We got a second chance at life and didn’t execute on the yard line in an offense that is pretty dominant in that area. What a gut check.”
Trailing 20-8 to start the second half, the Millers got back in the game on their first possession, driving from their own 38-yard line in five plays with Davis going the final six yards for the touchdown. Olsen had broken a 42-yard run on the second play of the drive. The score brought the Millers to within 20-14 with 10:08 left in the third.
And, when the defense turned away Sand Springs in three plays, the Millers, with the momentum, had a chance to tie and even take the lead.
YHS drove from their own 26 to the Sand Springs 20-yard line. The Millers drive stalled out and YHS missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Yukon stopped Sand Springs again and the Sandites missed on a 32-yard field goal that was short and Caleb Hernandez returned the ball to the Miller 32-yard line.
Olsen engineered a 14-play, 69-yard drive and capped it with a two-yard scoring run that tied the game. Cody Watson’s extra point gave the Millers a 21-20 lead with 4:46 remaining.
Sand Springs scored in eight plays, the final on a 24-yard run by Payton Scott to regain the lead 26-20.
Yukon did take the initial lead on a two-yard run by Olsen that capped a 63-yard drive with 5:31 remaining.
Scott scored on a one-yard run in the final two minutes of the quarter, but Dillon Andraszek blocked the extra point to keep the Millers in the lead. It was the first of two he would block. He got his hands on a second after Sand Springs had taken a 12-7 lead.