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Midtown Monitor

Hornets Celebrate State Championship

GTR Sports Writer

WINNERS: Booker T. Washington players come out of their tunnel for a game earlier in the regular season. The Hornets took state for 2017 on Dec. 1 when they beat Bixby in the Class 6A Division II championship football game.

Courtesy BTW

It was Booker T. Washington’s year in football. The Hornets proved it by dominating opponents in every game except for one. They finished the 2017 season when they rallied to beat district foe Bixby, 28-21, Dec. 1 in the Class 6A Division II state championship at Jenks. With a final record of 12-1, they were also champions of District 6AII-2.

Nose guard Jonathan Brown made an impact from the defensive side of the ball by forcing two sacks, led the team in tackles with 11 and anchored a defense that kept pressure on the Bixby quarterback most of the game. Brown finished the season as the Hornets’ leaders with 17 and tackles for losses with 30.

“It felt good to win state because it’s good for the Booker T. football franchise, the community and for north Tulsa as a whole,” Brown says.

“We just brought the neighborhood back alive, and, it’s been seven years, so it’s long overdue,” BTW coach Brad Calip says. “There is excitement going on each and every day at school. These seniors rekindled the legacy for Booker T. football and I couldn’t be prouder of these guys for bringing a gold ball back.”

The state championship is the ninth in school history for Booker T. Washington. Prior to this season, it last won state in 2010. Other championships came in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1984 and 2008. The ’67 team was recently recognized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the winning the title.

Booker T. Washington found itself facing deficits of 7-0 and 21-7 early in the game.

“I had a little bit of doubt, I’m not going to lie about that. But, I had to keep my composure and keep on telling myself to do my job and that everybody was going to do theirs,” Brown says. “If we all do our job, we are going to come back to win.”

Phillip Wheatley passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-30 attempts. His top receivers in the game were DeWayne Cooks and Javian Hester. He threw TD passes of 49 and 25 to Hester, which brought BTW to within 21-14 in the third quarter, then a 32-yarder to Cooks that tied the score in the fourth. Wheatley would score the go-ahead TD from one yard with 3:21 left.

Cooks had the most catches with five totaling 58 yards, while Hester compiled the most yardage with 145 on four receptions.

Hester also made the decisive defensive play, intercepting a Bixby pass at the goal line with 15 seconds left on the clock.

“We knew we were going to face a good team,” Calip says. “Loren Montgomery (Bixby) is a great coach. I told these guys the only way we were going to get beat is beating ourselves. It was pretty tough in the first half. We had five turnovers, and to overcome that is an accomplishment and a credit to our team and character. They never gave up.
“We knew we had the momentum in the fourth quarter, and these guys played lights out and we came up with a big victory,” Calip says.

“At the end, (Hester) made a great play to seal the deal,” Calip says. “They played great the whole year, and somehow, I knew they were going to come through at the end and they did.”

Although, Hester’s pick clinched the game, it was his 25-yard TD on a fourth down play which pulled BTW to within a TD in the third quarter that gave Brown reason to believe that the Hornets had the game in the bag.

“After we scored the first time in the second half, after (Hester) caught that fourth-and-19 (TD), that gave us the momentum back and as a defensive unit we needed that. After that moment, we knew we had the game,” Brown says.

Booker T. loses as many as 23 seniors to graduation from this year’s roster. That includes Brown, Wheatley, Cooks, Rylan McQuarters and Jalen Moses.

Adding to the BTW football legacy is beautiful, Brown says.

“It means a lot because the last four years, I’ve witnessed heartbreak and turmoil and all my senior friends crying and weeping because they just lost in the playoffs, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I promised the guys that we would win a championship.”
And that they did.

Updated 12-19-2017

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