They say you can’t go home again, but Sapulpa head football coach Tim Holt, Jr., is out to prove that adage wrong.
Holt grew up in Sapulpa and was the head coach at Coweta and an assistant at Broken Arrow before returning to Tulsa’s west side this year to take over the Chieftain program.
“You always wonder about coming back to your hometown,” admitted Holt, who attended Sapulpa schools through the 11th grade. “It’s been great. They have a great fan base and they support athletics.”
Making the transition even sweeter for Holt is the fact that he and the Chieftains begin his tenure with a matchup with long-time rival Sand Springs. This Ford Game of the Week will be broadcast this Friday night, August 27th, on Cox’s YurView Channel 3 at 7:00 P.M. Fans can also view the game on yurview.com.
“It’s what high school football is all about,” said Holt about rivalry games. “You want to play in these kinds of games. When you wake up in the morning, you look forward to going to practice and playing against the town right next to you. We know them and they know us. It’s bragging rights for a year to come out on top and just a great atmosphere to play in.”
Last year’s contest went down to the wire, with Sand Springs coming out on top, 21-17. Sapulpa quarterback Zac Mason remembers that difficult loss and is motivated to return the favor this season.
“We had a lot of turnovers,” recalled Mason. “Plus, we turned the ball over twice inside the 20 yard line, so that really hurt a lot.”
The Chieftains are expecting big things from the 6-2, 185-pound Mason, who threw for 17 touchdowns last season. He won’t have to do it alone, either, as he has some big-play partners on offense in running back Tyreese Jones and receivers D’Angelo Mitchell and Colton Morton.
“We’re hoping to get to the point where we’re good enough where defenses have to worry about both the running game and passing game and kind of be a pick-your-poison-type deal,” added Holt. “We’re just trying to put all the pieces together to really get to that point.”
The Sand Springs-Sapulpa rivalry isn’t just for bragging rights between the two schools. It’s also a popular point of contention in the Mason household. Zac’s dad, Aaron, attended Sand Springs and was a member of the Sandite football team.
“It means a lot, knowing my dad is from Sand Springs,” chuckled Mason. “When I lose, he likes it, and when I win, he likes it.”
Mason is comfortable throwing the ball, but he’s not afraid to run with it if the situation arises.
“I’m a pocket passer, but if I have to run, I will,” stated Mason.
“We’re going to put the ball in his hands,” stated Holt about his senior quarterback. “We’re going to put it on his arm to be our leader and to get us where we need to go.”
As much as coaches and players try to take the “one game at a time” attitude when it comes to their schedule, this week’s season opener between Sand Springs and Sapulpa is a neat way to kick off the Tim Holt, Jr., era.
“We have games that we circle on our schedule just like everyone else does,” claimed Holt. “We know those are games we have to win if we’re going to make the playoffs.”