It’ll be Sandite night at Doc Wadley Stadium on Thursday night. Well, kind of.
If you notice Northeastern State’s Johnny Deaton, Michael Bowie, Terrance Dixon and Shane Devers chatting with some Pitt State players — more specifically, Darrack Harger, Tyler Smith and Matt Anderson — it’s just a small Sand Springs reunion going on.
The group of seven guys will be reunited when NSU and Pitt State clash in the 2012 season opener at 6 p.m.
“I had to teach him the offense when he got to the high school,” said Deaton, NSU’s currently quarterback who mentored Harger during his days as a Sandite. “Tyler Smith was my starting right tackle, and I believe he starts for (Pittsburg State) on their O-line.”
When the group of seven was together at Charles Page High School, they helped the Sandites enjoy a brief period of elite status in Class 6A. Although, according to Deaton, Sand Springs didn’t reach the playoff heights it so hoped for.
“We definitely had talent my sophomore, junior and senior year,” Deaton said. “But we weren’t able to go as far as we expected to.”
Despite playing as an independent in 2011, Northeastern State still managed to post lofty attendance numbers. The RiverHawks finished the year 30th overall in total attendance.
The RiverHawks’ home opener against Pittsburg State figures to bring in quite the crowd with the Gorillas and their fans coming from only three hours away.
“There is a lot of excitement,” NSU head coach Kenny Evans said. “The excitement isn’t only here, it’s also in Pittsburg. I’m sure a lot of people are coming here, since it’s been a while since we’ve played Pitt State.”
The only roadblock NSU could face, in terms of attendance, is the arrival of Hurricane Issac, which is slated to be downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it reaches eastern Oklahoma.
“The weather is supposed to be really great,” Evans said. “As long as the hurricane doesn’t blow in here, we’re fine.”