November 4, 2013

Chicks rout Spartans to keep playoffs in view

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


Fighting for a postseason life seems to bring the best out of the Fighin’ Chicks.

They were always favorites over the rebuilding Southeast (2-7, 1-5) team, but a solid defensive performance coupled with a dreadful seven turnovers by the Spartans took them to a well-deserved 49-14 win. It kept their hopes of a playoff spot alive, thanks to some other results in 5A District 1 going their way on the night.

It was slow going early on in the game, with both teams struggling to hold onto the ball, possibly due to the cold weather. The Fightin’ Chicks (4-5, 2-4) were the first to give up the ball with a fumble on their first drive, but Southeast gave it right back.

A pass from quarterback Clifton Gillespie over the middle of the field was intercepted by his counterpart, Cade Morris. Despite driving all the way down to the red zone, Chickasha turned it over on downs. But another Spartan fumble set Chickasha up on the short field. It didn’t take long before Daniel Neff ran in from nine yards out to give them the 7-0 lead.

Neff was ever present in the first half, recording well over 100 yards rushing on just eight carries. Most of that came on a 55 yard run down to the Spartan seven yard line. A fumble kept the theme of the half going, and the Spartans had the ball again. Unfortunately, that left them with tight quarters. After being held by the Chicks defense, the snap on the attempted punt went high. As tall as the punter was, he could only bring it down out the back of the end zone, and the safety made it 9-0 Chickasha.

Southeast may have thought they made the job tough for Chickasha, pinning them back at the 20 yard line on a punt later in the second quarter. It took one play by Morris on a quarterback keeper to eliminate that theory. He took off for 78 yards to the house, giving Chickasha its second touchdown of the night and a 16-0 lead.

The Fightin’ Chicks defense picked up another fumble with just minutes left to heap more misery on the Spartans during their homecoming. This time, Montana Stonecalf found Morris’ 30 yard pass and dragged a few defenders with him to make the score 22-0 at halftime.

Turnovers continued to plague Southeast to start the second half. A fumble on their opening drive of the third quarter gave Chickasha a chance they didn’t squander. On the first play, Morris connected with Stonecalf again on a 31-yard pass for the touchdown to extend the lead by seven.

One more turnover was all it took for the Spartans to press the panic button. A botched snap by Gillespie gave Chickasha the ball inside the 10, but they were unable to convert. That still brought Joshua Means off the bench to take over at quarterback, and it worked. A prolonged drive ended on a 21-yard passing play to Malik Swain. The 6’ 1”, 179 pound wide receiver sped from east to west and found the open field, not that any tacklers could have stopped his towering frame. That made the score 29-7.

Chickasha responded with a long pass of their own. After driving past midfield, Morris found running back Tresjon Davis on a screen pass with a lot of real estate ahead. Davis went the whole 40 yards for the touchdown to take the lead back to 29. Josh Latham added a 55-yard touchdown run later on in the fourth.