OWASSO -- Friends and family members had premonitions about Kohlby Foster. They knew he was about to be a standout in Thursday’s Class 2A championship game at Owasso Stadium.
And sure enough, they were exactly right.
Foster hauled in two interceptions, including one that set the stage for Sperry’s final touchdown as the Class 2A No. 5 Pirates knocked off third-ranked Beggs, 35-14, for their first-ever state championship.
“Everybody told me I was going to do it,” Foster said. “But I didn’t see it.”
What he did see was two passes from Beggs’ Dalton Spring landing in his hands.
Foster’s first interception derailed Beggs’ attempt to get back in the game in the third quarter. The Golden Demons were trailing 28-7 and deep into Sperry territory, but Spring’s pass into coverage over the middle resulted in the ball being tipped before Foster snagged it out of the air.
“Man that guy is an athlete,” Sperry coach Robert Park said of Foster. “I know he hadn’t been sleeping, either. He had been watching film for hours. He’s such a good player, and he wasn’t healthy early in the season. But he made plays (Thursday).”
And Foster’s performance left him with a euphoric feeling that might not go away for a while.
“This is out of this world,” said the junior defensive back. “(Coach Park) always said this group was going to be the one to (win a championship), and we did it.”
Sperry was able to hoist its first gold ball, due in large part to a dominant second half.
The Pirates began the second half with a 10-play drive that chewed up 59 yards and was punctuated by Joe Whiteley’s 7-yard touchdown run just inside the end zone’s left pylon.
Once Sperry went up 21-7, it cracked down on defense, not allowing Beggs to score until there was only 2:16 left in the fourth quarter.
By that time, Bryce Carter had tacked on a 1-yard TD run in the third period, and Walker Niver had put the game away with his 1-yard touchdown run with 3:44 left in the game.
“We learned that we needed to play all four quarters,” said Carter, who rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries.
Much different story than when Beggs controlled the entire second half in a 35-21 win on Nov. 2.
“We turned the table,” Park said. “We got some stops on defense, and we’re able to score twice. That third quarter was big in both games, and we just happened to win it (this time).”
The first half mirrored much of the first meeting between the two teams. In the final week of the regular season, Sperry led its District 2A-3 rival 14-0 at halftime, but the Demons rallied for 35 unanswered points for a 35-21 win.
This time around it was Beggs to strike first. The Golden Demons took advantage of a short field and went 36 yards in nine plays, and they capped it off with Spring’s 3-yard quarterback sneak.
Sperry answered right back, thanks to Kyle Jobe’s 64-yard kickoff return to Beggs’ 22-yard line. Four plays later, Beau Teel was in the end zone on a 2-yard TD run.
The Pirates would go ahead after Cooper Park picked off Spring with 1:48 left until intermission. A 17-yard screen pass to Carter put Sperry at the 1-yard line, and the Pirates followed with Teel’s 1-yard plunge for a score.
Sperry finished the game with four takeaways and a superb defensive effort that kept Beggs to 83 yards on the ground and 157 yards in the passing game.
But perhaps the highlight of the night was Beggs players and fans applauding Sperry and its fans prior to the game. The Beggs administration also presented a plaque to Sperry and its school leaders during the pregame festivities.
When news broke that Beggs’ Kayson Tolliver had been gunned down the day before the two were supposed to meet on Nov. 2, the Sperry community rose to the occasion and offered its full support by offering warmth, love and strength through conviction.
“They showed what it’s like to be a servant,” Beggs coach David Tenison said of the Sperry faithful that paid tribute to Tolliver by wearing T-shirts with his number (27) at the game in Beggs in early November. “We would have been amiss if we had shown up here and not thanked them for that.”
The two teams continue to share a special bond, and Beggs players and coaches offered warm congratulations after the game -- something you don’t often see following a game with a title on the line.
In the end, though, it was the small town in western Tulsa County that prevailed and added to its 16 other championships previously won in baseball and wrestling combined.
“I didn’t know it was going to feel this good, but it’s been a long time coming,” Park said. “Just look at (everyone from Sperry), they’ve been hungry for a title for a while. When you’ve been doing football for so long, and now we finally have something in that trophy case. We’re very proud and we’re very happy.”
Sperry 7 7 14 7 -- 35
Beggs 7 0 0 7 -- 14
BEGGS -- Dalton Spring 3 run (Dusty Pendergrass kick), 4:38
SPERRY -- Beau Teel 2 run (Jacob Sutherland kick), 3:40
SPERRY -- Teel 1 run (Sutherland kick), 0:11
SPERRY -- Joe Whiteley 7 run (Sutherland kick), 7:13
SPERRY - Bryce Carter 1 run (Sutherland kick), 2:32
SPERRY -- Walker Niver 1 run (Sutherland kick), 3:44
BEGGS -- Jaidan Grayson 21 pass from Spring (Pendergrass kick), 2:16
First downs: Sperry 17; Beggs 16
Rushing (carries-yards): Sperry 49-170; Beggs 32-83
Passing (C-A-I): Sperry 10-14-1; Beggs 17-25-3
Passing yards: Sperry 103; Beggs 157
Total yards: Sperry 273; Beggs 240
Penalties: Sperry 3-35; Beggs 10-63
Sperry -- Beau Teel 20-71
Beggs -- Jared Sutter 18-57
Sperry -- Teel 10-14-1 98
Beggs -- Spring 16-24-3 145
Sperry - Jacob Sutherland 4-37
Beggs -- Jaidan Grayson 10-122