By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
An arsenal talent laced the Booker T. Washington roster in 2017.
The Hornets were coached by Brad Calip, who was in his second season at the helm after being an assistant for the late Allan Trimble at Jenks (Calip is now an assistant at Owasso).
The talent lacing the roster consisted of Javian Hester, also known as J.J. Hester, (now at Missouri), Dax Hill (now at Michigan), Phillip Wheatley, Rylan McQuarters, DeWayne Cooks Jr. and more.
The Hornets opened the year with a 35-21 win at Edmond Santa Fe, then beat Midwest City, 27-24. Both road wins were played in the Oklahoma City metro area.
A trip to Louisiana followed. But the Hornets were dealt a 30-21 loss to West Monroe. It would be their only blemish of the season.
Booker T. bounced back the next week to begin a 10-game win streak through the rest of the season. It began with drubbings of Shawnee (63-0), Ponca City (63-21), Sapulpa (63-0) and Muskogee (42-21). After a week off, the Hornets rolled with back-to-back shutouts against Sand Springs (40-0) and Bixby (21-0). The latter had won state the previous three years and now has five of the last six.
BTW closed the regular season with a 42-13 romp over Bartlesville, then opened the 6AII playoffs with a 56-21 rout of Putnam City and was dominant in a 50-12 win against Lawton in the semifinals.
This set up a rematch with Bixby in the state final to be played at Jenks.
This battle would play out differently than their regular season battle, in which the Hornets blanked the Spartans while scoring three touchdowns.
The first half was dominated by defense.
Bixby scored first, but BTW answered as Hester took in a 49-yard TD pass from Wheatley to tie the score at 7-7 before halftime.
The Spartans scored twice to increase their lead to 21-7. What followed was a Booker T. comeback that would give the Hornets their ninth title in school history.
Wheatley escaped pressure and found Hester, who was in the middle of two Spartan defenders, in the end zone. The deficit had been trimmed to 21-14.
The Hornets would get their tying TD as Wheatley hit Cooks, who sprinted down the left sideline for a 32-yard score.
The go-ahead score came with McQuarters jaunting 44-yards, setting up first down and goal from the Bixby 1-yard line.
Wheatley scored on the next play with 3:21 remaining. BTW had its first and only lead at 28-21. That would end as the final score, but not without a comeback try from the Spartans, who in the final minute completed a 50-yard pass and an 11-yard rush to the BTW 19-yard line. After an incomplete pass, BTW’s Hester picked off the next one near the goal line and the Hornets took over and ran out the clock.
Booker T. completed a 12-1 finish and the right to hold the 6AII trophy.
To date, 2017 stands as the only year Bixby did not win the title since 6A was split into two divisions. But with a solid foundation and historic tradition, BTW is bound to win more 6AII titles in the future.