Davenport, OK 74026
Record: 13-0 | Rank: 2
OSSAA Semifinals at Enid HS
OSSAA 2nd Round
|vs Wesleyan Christian||W||62-0|
|@ Dewey||Missing Score|
| Ben Johnson
State tournament wrestling is back. It's the weekend that every high school wrestler circles on the calendar. Now time to make predictions for every single weight class inside Jim Norick Arena.
Brackets posted here
106: Cruz Aguilar (Edmond Memorial): Spent his freshman season at Heritage Hall, where he finished second at 106 in 2017. Almost went with Owasso’s Jared Campbell or Sand Springs’ Brendon Wiseley, but opted for a Bulldog to win a title for the first time since Johny Hendricks in 2002.
113: Tucker Owens (Mustang): Finished second as a freshman last season at 113. A title for Owens would be the first for the Broncos since 2005 -- and only the second since 1999.
120: Zach Blankenship (Bixby): Has burst onto the scene as a freshman for the Spartans this season. Blankenship’s only loss of the season was to Sand Springs’ Seth Jones, when Bixby bumped Blankenship up a weight class for a regular-season dual. Blankenship is 27-0 at 120 pounds this season, including a dominant run through last week’s regional in Jenks. Nic Roller (220 pounds in 2016) won Bixby’s last state championship, but before him was Shane Roller in 1998.
126: Carter Young (Stillwater): Upended Yukon’s Studd Morris for the 106 crown in 6A last season. But he did it at Sand Springs. Now at 126, Young has potential obstacles in his way, like Broken Arrow’s Blazik Perez (27-9) and Bartlesville’s Laif Jones (last year’s 6A champion at 120). Should mention, Stillwater also has gone two years without a state champion. Young could bring that to a halt.
132: Reece Witcraft (Broken Arrow): Went from second at 126 with Coweta in 2017 to state champion last year with Broken Arrow at 126. Witcraft, ranked fifth in the nation on InterMat, pinned Choctaw’s Colt Newton in the finals last year, and this year it could be a semifinals matchup. The two didn’t clash at dual state, so a semifinal showdown would be the first in a year. The 132 field is loaded, for sure. Edmond Memorial’s Jackson Oplotnik (20-5), Mustang’s Keegan Luton (33-10) and Owasso’s Zeke Washington (34-4 and 6A’s runner-up at 120 last season) all share space on the top half of the bracket. Witcraft has been hobbled by a bum ankle, but he beat Washington 7-2 in the regional finals so there’s little doubt he’ll be ready to go in Oklahoma City.
138: Peter Rolle (Edmond Memorial): There was some personal anguish in making a selection here. So many qualified wrestlers in this field that it was hard to pick who might finish above the fray. Ultimately, sided with Rolle, because why not? The Edmond Memorial senior is 30-5, and he’s got Deer Creek’s Parker Wright (32-8) and Broken Arrow’s Blake Gonzalez (21-7) on his side of the bracket. Then there’s Mustang’s Cameron Picklo (41-3) and Ponca City’s Spencer Schrickram (39-2) on the bottom half of the bracket. This weight will be a gauntlet to get through.
145: Gabe Johnson (Choctaw): Went from not placing as a freshman at 106 in 2017 to a runner-up spot at 132 last season for the Yellowjackets. Lost in last year’s finals to Ponca City’s Dylan Schickram, 7-3. And another tough field awaits Johnson, including Edmond North’s Jaxon Randall (24-11) on Johnson’s half of the bracket. Then there’s Deer Creek’s Micah Lugafet (21-3), Enid’s Chance Davis (21-5) and Ja’len Hernandez (35-5) in the bottom half of the bracket. Would be Choctaw’s first championship at 145 since Jaryn Curry in 2016.
152: Drake Vannoy (Jenks): This one was tough to pick. Sand Springs’ Scott Patton beat Vannoy for last week’s regional crown, but Vannoy was last year’s champion at 152. A championship for Vannoy would be Jenks’ first back-to-back champion since Justin DeAngelis won in 2008 through 2010.
160: Tate Picklo (Mustang): Went 35-4 as a freshman en route to a second-place showing at 145 last year in 6A. Now Picklo is 40-0 and ranked 11th in the country at 160. Putnam City’s Rene Martinez might be Picklo’s biggest challenge in the field, and Picklo beat Martinez in an 18-6 major decision to win last week’s regional crown.
170: Zane Coleman (Choctaw): Ranked sixth in the nation and looking to join the four-timers club. After two suspenseful championships during his freshman and sophomore years, Coleman cruised to last year’s title at 170 by pinning Broken Arrow’s Bryce Mattioda in the first period. Coleman, an Arizona State signee, enters his final state tournament with a record of 145-8 -- and only two losses in the last two seasons. Coleman’s only loss this year was in the 170 finals of the Geary Tournament, when he lost to Blair Academy’s Peyton Craft.
182: JT Stambeck (Norman North): Narrowly missed out on the 170 finals last season after enduring a 3-2 loss to Mattioda. Enters this year’s state tournament at 29-1. Would be the Timberwolves’ first state champion since Levi Berry (160) in 2013.
195: Carson Savage (Deer Creek): Entered last year’s state tournament as the No. 4 seed out of the West at 182. This season, Savage is 35-2 and the top seed from out west. He’ll have to contend with a deep field, though. Broken Arrow’s Gavin Potter (last year’s champion at 195), Sand Springs’ Kaden Glass (31-9), Union’s Elijah Tomlin (36-7) and Mustang’s Judson Rowland are all contenders. Took Savage over Potter after Savage picked up a 9-2 win over Potter at dual state a couple of weeks ago.
220: Zach Marcheselli (Broken Arrow): Another wrestler in 6A aiming to be a member of the four-timers club. Marcheselli, ranked ninth in the country, has been on cruise control for most of the season. After guiding the Tigers to their first football championship, Marcheselli, a Texas Christian University signee for football, could add to his collection of hardware in a 220 field that could end up seeing a rematch of the east regional last weekend. Marcheselli knocked off Edmond North’s Jake McCoy 8-2 for the regional crown, and both appear to be on a collision course for the finals in Oklahoma City.
285: Noah Cortes (Broken Arrow): Jenks’ Caleb Orr beat Cortes for the regional crown last week, but it was a 3-2 decision in an ultimate tiebreaker. This could go any direction, including Choctaw’s Marquan Journey (33-6) and Yukon’s Ashton Aldridge (32-7) vying for the title. Last year, Cortes didn’t even make it out of the pigtail round of the state tournament.
Brackets posted here
106: Cameron Steed (Collinsville): Should come as no surprise that Collinsville has yet more freshmen contending for championships at the lower weights. This year it’s Steed and Jordan Williams (below) as favorites in their respective fields. Steed tech-falled Coweta’s Brody Gee, 16-1, in the regional finals and don’t see any reason to think he won’t do the same to anyone he comes across in Oklahoma City.
113: Jordan Williams (Collinsville): Previously ranked sixth in the nation at 106 pounds, Williams has been unbeatable at both 106 and 113 this season. And this is a weight Collinsville has controlled for several years in recent memory with four championships since 2013 -- Davion Jeffries (2013), Christian Moody (2014), Caleb Tanner (2017) and Rocky Stephens (2018).
120: Rocky Stephens (Collinsville): Turned a third-place finish as a freshman into a state championship last year at 113 pounds. Could be stream-rolling straight ahead to a solid showdown in the finals between Stephens and Carl Albert’s Jayston Cato (33-2).
126: Josh Taylor (Skiatook): Surprising turn of events at the east regional last week with Collinsville freshman Jordan Cullors knocking off Taylor, 2-1. But that loss for Taylor puts him on the top half of the bracket, and he avoids Tahlequah’s Jakob Lyons, who has routinely wrestled Taylor tough these past two seasons. Don’t be surprised if it’s a Taylor-Cullors rematch -- but this time for a state championship.
132: Caleb Tanner (Collinsville): Last year’s champ at 126, Tanner could put himself in position for a special senior year if he wins this year’s state championship at 132. It would be Tanner’s third state championship, and he would be a season away from joining Gary Wayne Harding and Will Steltzlen -- who both became four-time state champions at the 2014 5A state tournament.
138: Kobi Gomez (Altus): Someone other than a Collinsville wrestler will win a state championship in Oklahoma City this weekend. It just won’t feel much like it through the first handful of weights. Collinsville’s Connor Henson certainly has a shot at claiming the 138 crown, but I’m going with the reigning state champion here to win his second title. Could pave the way for two more special years for Gomez.
145: Gage Hight (Glenpool): It’s now or never for Hight. He’s knocked on the doorstep twice, but in back-to-back state tournaments he’s had to settle for second place. Last year, Coweta’s Ricky Turner who upended Hight, 3-2, in the finals after Hight had won the reginal matchup between the two. Durant’s Cody Hicks (32-3) and El Reno’s Jacob Catagas (22-3) are lurking, but surely it’s going to be Hight’s year.
152: Cougar Anderson (Skiatook): If the Bulldogs are going to challenge Collinsville for the team title, Anderson winning at 152 could be key. Anderson, a sophomore, is 35-0, and he’s on the same side of the bracket as El Reno’s Cole Thomas (28-3). Anderson was dominant last year en route to his first title, and expect him to be ready to roll in Oklahoma City.
160: Hunter Jump (Duncan): After second-place finishes as a freshman and sophomore at Lawton MacArthur, Jump picked up a title for the Highlanders last season at 160, and he did so in convincing fashion. Now at Duncan, Jump will enter a stout field that includes Skiatook’s Richie Lee (37-1) and El Reno’s Kord LaFoe (24-5). A title for Jump would be Duncan’s first since 2011 (Markwae Sanders and Justin Hughes).
170: Christian Maldonado (Lawton Mac): This is a wide open field. Maldonado was second to Coweta’s Talon Borror last season, and Maldonado is a week removed from knocking off Piedmont’s Braden Culp, 7-4. But Culp is more than capable to make a run at a championship. Same goes for Skiatook’s Hunter Hall. This is about as wide open as it gets.
182: Talon Borror (Coweta): In 2016, Lawton MacArthur’s Nick Mahan beat Borror in the 160 quarterfinals. Since then, Borror hasn’t lost inside Norick Arena. Borror stormed to titles in 2017 and 2018. He’s 35-2 and looking for a third title to cap his high school career. Standing in his way could be Lawton Ike’s Muhammad A Al Zeragi (23-1) and Piedmont’s Austin Cooley (28-2).
195: Cabe Dickerson (Altus): It was Piedmont’s Will Heindselman that knocked off Dickerson, 8-7, in an ultimate tiebreaker in last year’s state finals. It was a crushing end to Dickerson’s sophomore season, and then he followed it up with an elbow injury that’s limited him to 12 matches this season. But if Dickerson is a full strength, the 195 crown should be his to lose.
220: Korbin McLaughlin (Skiatook): This is could make things interesting late into the state tournament. If Skiatook is coming down to the wire against Collinsville or Piedmont for the team crown, the Bulldogs will need McLaughlin to pick up as many points as possible. McLaughlin has posted two fourth-place finishes, but if he captures a championship it could propel Skiatook to a title.
285: Josh Heindselman (Piedmont): It was a Heindselman party at last year’s state tournament with Josh (220) and Will (195) both capturing gold. Now Josh will aim for Piedmont’s second-ever title at heavyweight, despite being possibly the smallest guy in the field. Lawton Mac’s Montana Phillips is a two-time state champion, and he’ll be out for some revenge after getting pinned at 2:15 by Heindselman at last week’s regional tournament.
Brackets posted here
106: Eli Griffin (Cascia Hall): Ranked 15th in the country, Griffin is aiming for his second championship in as many years. In order for the sophomore to do so, he’ll have to navigate a field that looks a lot like it did in 2018. Returning as qualifiers at 106 are Tuttle’s Ashton Grounds (35-8) and Cushing’s Luke Ahrberg (31-3) -- and they share space in the top half of the bracket. One way or another, the finals in 106 will be extremely entertaining.
113: Garrett Steidley (Tuttle): After grabbing his first title as a sophomore last season, Steidley is a heavy favorite at 113. Steidley rolled through regionals last week, but he enters a field with some solid contenders from the east -- Sallisaw’s Kaleb Harris (25-6) and Mannford’s Wade Landrum (28-8).
120: Reese Davis (Tuttle): With some big wins under his belt as a freshman, perhaps none were bigger than his rally at dual state against Wagoner in the finals to keep the Tigers’ unbeaten streak intact throughout the entire weekend. That win was against Wagoner’s Braden Drake, and Davis breezed past Harrah’s Breaden Williams in the regional semifinals. Then he did the same against Heritage Hall’s Cole Allen in the regional finals. Davis could be hitting his stride at the right time as a freshman.
126: Thaddeus Long (McLain): This time there’s no Ryder Ramsey in Long’s way. Long was second to Ramsey at 126 last season, and before that he finished third at 106 for Union in 2017. If Long captures a title for the Titans, it would be the school’s first since Greg Hawkins won at 178 in 1977.
132: Ryder Ramsey (Tuttle): Picking up his first title as a sophomore last season, Ramsey entered the state tournament 36-9. Now he heads to Oklahoma City at 43-3 and another key cog in Tuttle’s deep lineup.
138: Val Park (Heritage Hall): Since 2012, the Chargers have produced 17 state champions, including Kaden Gfeller’s four-year run from 2014 to 2017. And while he might not join the four-timers club, Val Park has been a staple of consistency for Heritage Hall at the lower weights since teaming with Gfeller during his senior season in 2017. Park will be after his third title in as many years, winning previously at 113 (2017) and 132 (last season).
145: Brady DeArmond (Tuttle): Despite Tuttle being so utterly dominant across the board in 4A for quite some time now, last season’s state tournament felt a little off with Tuttle only claiming three state titles. And DeArmond was one that settled for third place after losing to Heritage Hall’s Carson West in the 145 semifinals. DeArmond enters a field that could pose some challenges, including Fort Gibson’s Cade Waltman, but DeArmond appears poised to snare his first title during his junior season.
152: Luke Surber (Tuttle): Elgin’s Jacob Butler dashed any hopes that Surber had of becoming a four-time state champion with a sudden victory win against Surber in last year’s 138 finals. Since then, Surber has been nearly unbeatable on the mat for the Tigers, including tournament titles at the MidCals in Gilroy, California, and an individual championship at the Geary Tournament in January. There are some quality wrestlers at 152 -- Cache’s Duncan Shafer (30-2), Bristow’s Anthony Bigpond (20-5), Catoosa’s Abel Perez (41-6) -- but good luck trying to knock off Surber this year.
160: Jacob Ahrberg (Cushing): It was a fourth-place finish for Ahrberg last year at 145, a year after not placing at 126. Now Ahrberg arrives in Oklahoma City at 23-0, fresh off a dominant run at the east regional in Catoosa. Madill’s Colt Crowson (26-5) could pose a significant threat to Ahrberg in the bottom half of the bracket, and then there’s Tuttle freshman Harley Andrews lurking in the top half. Also, a little surprising but a Cushing wrestler hasn’t won a title since 2014 (Gage Stallworth).
170: Dustin Plott (Tuttle): There might not be a better wrestler in the state right now than Plott, ranked third nationally and who has gone 88-1 over the course of his sophomore season and his current junior campaign. The lone loss was a 6-5 decision to Blair Academy’s Julian Ramirez in the Geary Tournament finals this January. Plott went fall-fall-major decision to win last year’s title at 160, so don’t be surprised this year with tech fall-fall-fall (or something impressive like that).
182: Gage Hockett (Cushing): There’s been a natural progression each year Hockett has been in the state tournament. As a freshman, he was third at 160 in 2017, and last season he finished second with a loss to Plott in the 160 finals in 4A. This season he returns to Norick Arena at 29-0 after taking down Cleveland’s Tyler Johnson (18-8) with an 8-5 decision in the regional finals. The winner between Anadarko’s John Mark Holton (29-6) and Oologah’s Landon Brown (30-6) could pose a threat to Hockett in the semifinals on Friday, though.
195: Carson Berryhill (Tuttle): A state champion as a sophomore in 2017, Berryhill lost to Heritage Hall’s Colton Denney in the 170 finals last season. But Berryhill bounced back in the fall by quarterbacking the Tigers to the 4A title, and now he sports a 37-1 mark (only loss to Mustang’s Judson Rowland at the Geary Tournament), heading into the state tournament. Berryhill has even worked his way up to 11th in the nation at 195. In Berryhill’s crosshairs in Oklahoma City could possibly be Poteau’s Nate Ulmer (32-1) and Cushing Eriq Simpson (34-2).
220: Luke Fortney (Bristow): Now a junior, the best Fortney has done at the state tournament was fourth at 195 last season. Now he’s 25-0 and coming off a solid weekend at regionals. He’s steamrolled his way to titles at the Chuck West Invitational and the Cushing tournament, and if Fortney can with a title he’d be Bristow’s first since 2007 (Kale Biggs at 160).
285: Griffon Williams (Madill): Guaranteed to not have a Tuttle winner here. It’s the one weight the Tigers didn’t qualify at. It’s a pretty balanced field that includes Wagoner’s Jaydn Marshall (31-12), Bristow’s Steven Marlow (23-7) and Blanchard’s Ryder Wiese (31-6). But this could be the year Madill wins its first individual title since 2003, when Brent Parkey picked up his third title in as many years.
Brackets posted here
106: Gabe Valencia (Perry): Finished fourth last year in his first crack at the state tournament. Now a junior, Valencia drops down a weight class and enters the final weekend at 44-6. At dual state, Valencia beat Marlow’s Case Rich, but the Outlaws will send Tyler Lawson (38-6) into the mix for a possible showdown against Valencia in the finals.
113: Ryan Smith (Perry): There’s a lot of quality depth at this weight, but none more superlative than Smith (43-2), last year’s champion at 106. Bridge Creek’s Kaden Smith (37-8) and Locust Grove’s Hunter Fitzpatrick (24-5) could make for tough semifinals draws, but Smith could be on a collusion course with Walters’ Remington White, the program’s only wrestler and a 2017 state champion. White to Plainview’s Jaxson Roney in the 113 finals, and it could be Smith standing in the way of only the second wrestling championship at Walters.
120: Alex Prince (Vinita): It was Perry’s Logan Smith -- the weight’s top seed from the east -- who pinned Prince in the final two seconds of their semifinal class at Perry last week. That leaves Prince (40-7) with a tough draw of Hinton’s Brian Pastrana (27-3) in the quarterfinals and possibly Smith (24-11) in the semifinals. If he advances beyond that, Checotah’s Luke Collett (28-6) or Newkirk’s Dayton Cary could be waiting in the finals. That’s quite a load for Prince in his junior season.
126: Kolton Smith (Bridge Creek): Two years in a row, Smith has watched while a Perry wrestler stood atop the podium. In 2017, Smith lost 7-4 to Perry’s Cale Betchan at 120, and last season Smith was on the wrong end of a 4-2 decision against Perry’s Cade Nicholas. And now, Smith enters as the top seed from the west after beating Marlow’s Anthony Orum (31-4) in the west finals. If a Bridge Creek wrestler wins a title this season, it would be the school’s first.
132: Dylan Avery (Perry): Now a junior, Perry will be after his second title in as many years. The field is deep at 132, though, with the likes of Sulphur’s Kolbe Madron (36-8), Marlow’s Jordan Taylor (42-5), Pawnee’s Wesley Scott (35-2) and Morris’ Kolby Adams (31-6).
138: Price Perrier (Pawhuska): Mike Perrier won a state championship at 136 in 1990. That’s Price’s father. Dax Perrior won a state championship at 160 in 2010. That’s Price’s brother. Price could be carrying on a family legacy with a title. But the field is a deep one. Plenty of candidates could snag the 138 crown -- Perkins-Tryon’s Ayron Lawson (30-7), Marlow’s Kobey Kizarr (43-4), Kingfisher’s Stone Snodgrass (29-8) and Salina’s Austin Wilkins (20-8).
145: Kolby DePron (Bridge Creek): Like his teammate, Kolton Smtih, DePron watched as a Perry wrestler celebrated a championship last year. As a freshman, DePron logged a second-place showing at 132. Now he’s the favorite at 145, despite plenty of qualified candidates -- Morris’ Ryan Allred (30-7), Geary’s Landon Holt (31-5) and Salina’s Brier Smith (46-3).
152: Hadyn Redus (Perry): A title would be Redus’ second in as many years. Redus pinned Little Axe’s Alec McDoulett in the third period of last year’s 138 finals, and sure enough, McDoulett is back in the same state tournament field as Redus again. Mangum’s Daelin Stacy (24-7), Pawnee’s Blake Skidgel and Comanche’s Gage Miller (33-5) all pose serious threats, too.
160: Cade Shrosphire (Checotah): The only state champion in the history of Checotah Public Schools will go for his second straight title as a senior now. This time the field is a tad deeper. Barnsdall’s Joe Smith (31-3) is on the top half of the bracket with Shrosphire, and Marlow’s Tyler Lavey (38-3) occupies the bottom half. And Shrosphire narrowly edged past Lavey in the regional finals, 3-2.
170: Bryce Carter (Sperry): The returning champion at this spot is Comanche’s Cade Cook (35-4), and he’s back as the top seed out of the west for his junior year. He could pair up with Jay’s Zach Coy (46-1) in the semifinals, and that could end up being a coin toss -- which is basically was when Cook beat Coy, 2-1, in last year’s quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Carter is up from 160 at this time last year, and he enters the state field at 33-2. And much like Tuttle’s Carson Berryhill, he’s going for the one-two punch of football-and-wrestling championships. And never count out Perry’s Jace Burdick (34-13), who finished second to Cook in last year’s 170 finals.
182: River Simon (Vian): Only two wrestlers have ever won state championships at Vian, and one just so happens to be Simon (2017 at 170; the other is Landon Decker in 2012). Simon, an Army signee, missed last year’s state tournament due to various injuries, and he hasn’t wrestled a full schedule to this point (only 22-1). But when he’s on the mat, he’s tough to beat. Sulphur’s Trey Kiser (36-7) is on the bottom half of the bracket, and he gets Vinita’s Zach Wattenbarger (43-3) in the quarterfinals. Then there’s Perry’s Kohl Owen (37-10), last year’s champion at 182.
195: Drake Barbee (Blackwell): What a story Barbee is. Endured a horrifying car accident two years ago, and now he’s back in the state tournament field as the top seed from the east. Barbee is 34-4 and he finished second at 182 at his last state tournament in 2017 -- when he wrestled for Stilwell. Already signed to wrestle at Arkansas-Little Rock in college, Barbee motored through the regional field, including a win by fall over Tonkawa’s Simeon Shepherd in the third period. The 195 field also features Little Axe’s Caeden Guthary (30-5), Hinton’s Denver Dahlenburg (29-3) and Perry’s Brandon Speikers (44-8).
220: Konner Doucet (Comanche): Already halfway to the four-timers club, Doucet, for the first time, enters the state tournament unbeaten in a season. He is 37-0 cruised through the regional tournament last weekend. Last year, he knocked off Sperry’s A.J. McEntire in the finals, 4-2, and as a freshman he was pegged as the 195 champion when Sulphur’s Dan Baker was disqualified in a controversial ending in extra time. Now Doucet is ranked sixth nationally at 220. Some of the others at 220 include Vinita’s Brodie Miller (39-6), Vian’s Cruz Partain (34-2) and Berryhill’s Nico Lopez.
285: Cooper Webb (Davis): Looking for his second straight title, Webb is 29-1 this season. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the likes of Geary’s Chase Merkey (33-3), Perry’s Teaguan Wilson (30-6) and Locust Grove’s Dalton Shatto (26-1). In fact, it was Webb who beat Shatto, 9-5, in last year’s heavyweight finals. Fun fact: Cooper’s brother, Conner Webb, won three titles for Davis from 2015 to 2017, and Cooper could still tie him with a championship this year and next.
**Photos courtesy of Austin Bernard/Owrestle.com
Have your own predictions or have feedback? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
| Ben Johnson
The winter sports season is winding down, so we dissect playoffs happenings in Class 4A through Class B basketball. Swisher breaks down what happened on the hardwood, and what to look forward to this week.
Then we shift gears and Ben breaks down the state wrestling fields with Brian Heindselman. We make some predictions and let fans know what to watch for at Jim Norick Arena over the weekend. (PS, we think Tuttle is pretty good. SURPRISE!)
Email the show at email@example.com - Have a question you want answered on the podcast? Email us & we'll talk about it on the next show.
| Ben Johnson
Putting together an All-State team sounds like fun and games, but when you start narrowing down the field, you hate yourself for leaving off a player here or a player there. Trust me when I say it was not pleasant leaving off guys like Lincoln Christian’s Chase Ricke, Metro Christian’s Asher Link or Fairview’s Kade Dillard on the small school All-State list.
For the small school team, it consists of players in Class 3A through Class C. Each class also had a designated Player of the Year, Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP.
The teams were chosen by those who covered high school football for Skordle all year long: Michael Swisher, Whitt Carter and myself (Ben Johnson).
And ps, there’s some hope in doing a podcast here before too long to discuss the thought process and how we ended up picking the teams. As for now, check out this year’s small school selections…
Player of the Year: CONNER CAREY (Heritage Hall) - A receiver by trade throughout most of his varsity career, Carey was called upon to switch to running back for his senior season. And he passed the test with flying colors. At 5 feet, 11 inches and 195 pounds, Carey rushed for 1,844 yards and 32 touchdowns on 204 carries. While leading the Chargers to another championship, Carey accounted for 163 yards on the ground and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving). On offense, Carey finished with 2,002 yards rushing and 1,315 yards receiving and 48 combined touchdowns. Carey was also a key contributor on defense during his senior season with 57 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.
Heritage Hall coach Brett Bogert: “Conner had one of the best individual all-around seasons by a Charger since I’ve been coaching here. He broke (Wes) Welker’s single-season touchdown record! It was awesome to watch him grow as a player and leader while excelling on the big stage this season. We will miss him.”
Offensive MVP: JETT STERNBERGER (Kingfisher) - Despite missing two games, the Yellowjackets quarterback propelled Kingfisher all the way to the 3A semifinals. Sternberger, little brother of Texas A&M star Jace Sternberger, crushed opponents on the ground and through the air during his senior campaign. He completed 180 of 270 passes for 2,411 yards and 33 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also ran for 481 yards and 13 touchdowns on 127 carries.
Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers: “Jett has been a tremendous asset to us the last two years. His ability to run our offense has been a big reason for our success. Add in the injuries and changes we’ve endured at running back and offensive line, and his performances are even more impressive. We will certainly miss his presence as a player and a leader next year.”
Defensive MVP: TREY KISER (Sulphur) - One of the state’s best two-way players in 2018, Kiser was a standout at 6 feet, 200 pounds. On defense, Kiser racked up 131 tackles and eight sacks for a Sulphur defense that yielded only 16.9 points per game. Kiser was also one of the state’s best ball carriers with 2,572 yards and 39 touchdowns on 293 carries. He even set a new Sulphur record with 403 yards on just 15 carries in the Bulldogs’ win over rival Davis on Sept. 7.
Sulphur coach Jim Dixon: “He’s the best player I’ve ever coached. He’s truly as good as anyone I’ve ever coached. I’m really proud of the way he worked every year and his effort each day. And he was very, very blessed with a lot of ability. He’s a great kid and was a heck of a player.”
Player of the Year: BEAU TEEL (Sperry) - A two-year standout for the Pirates, Teel guided Sperry to its first-ever OSSAA championship without a blowout victory over Beggs. Along the way, the senior quarterback passed for 2,305 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 133 of 233 passes. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Teel accounted for 31 tackles, two sacks and an interception at linebacker. He polished off his career with 10,046 total yards through the air (7,635) and on the ground (2,411).
Sperry coach Robert Park: “State champion quarterback for the Sperry Pirates. Nobody else can say that.”
Offensive MVP: RYAN JOHNSON (Metro Christian) - Was the closest thing to a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in Oklahoma during the 2018 season, right alongside Heritage Hall’s Billy Ross Jr. Johnson was a nightmare for opposing defenses with 2,036 yards and 28 touchdowns on 184 carries. He also hauled in 47 passes from quarterback Asher Link for 609 yards and five touchdowns. And just for the heck of it, he completed 4 of 5 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson helped spark the Patriots to a 2A semifinal run, which ended with a loss to eventual runner-up Beggs.
Metro Christian coach Jared McCoy: “He’s a great player. His best games were against our best competition and he did whatever he had to do to help us win. He averaged over 100 yard rushing and 100 yards receiving in our four playoff games. His kind of stats are really difficult to attain while operating in a pass-first offense where our quarterback also led 11-man football in passing yards. Ryan also had two late interceptions against Broken Bow to help us win that game and a couple of key tackles on defense in the playoffs that helped us beat Jones and Washington. I’m most proud of the type of young man Ryan is. He’s a 4.0 student that’s loved by his teachers, coaches and fellow students. He’s extremely gifted, yet very grounded and humble for the way God has gifted him.”
Defensive MVP: RIVER SIMON (Vian) - Perhaps the hardest postseason superlative to hand out goes to a soon-to-be West Point cadet. The Army signee is another in a long line of Simon standouts at Vian. The 6-foot, 215-pound middle linebacker guided the Wolverines to the 2A quarterfinals, thanks to 128 tackles and eight sacks to cap off his senior season. “He was really, really good,” an opposing 2A coach said. “A great linebacker and one of the best tacklers I have seen.” On offense, he rushed for 466 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, and he even graded at 92 percent while blocking at tight end.
Vian coach Gary Willis: “Toughest- and hardest-working player that I’ve ever coached. He’s played through a lot of pain throughout his high school career.”
Player of the Year: ZACH HALE (Christian Heritage) - The Crusaders had themselves a solid regular season, and they capped it off with a win over Crescent to steal the No. 4 spot in District A-3. That’s when the real fun started for Christian Heritage. While captivating the state as postseason darlings, the Crusaders knocked off Ringling, Thomas, Stroud and Rejoice Christian on their way finishing as Class A runners-up to Tonkawa. And leading the charge was Hale, a two-way standout at quarterback and free safety. Hale finished the season with 2,638 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing 193 of 309 passes, and he also ran for 867 yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense, he amassed 202 tackles, including 73 in the playoffs. Hale also finished his senior season with one sack and eight interceptions.
Offensive MVP: JACOB BRUCE (Hulbert) - When you finish as the state’s leading rusher for a season, you’re probably due for some accolades. When you re-write the state’s record book for rushing yards, you’re guaranteed some postseason shine. And that’s what Bruce did in 2018, finishing his senior season with 3,268 yards and 41 touchdowns on 306 carries. He capped his career with 8,586 yards, which is 143 more than the previous record holder, Luther’s Larry Dupree (8,443). Bruce also scored on two kickoff returns this season while averaging 28.6 yards per return. For good measure, he added 57 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
Defensive MVP: SIMEON SHEPARD (Tonkawa) - In a district full of offensive stalwarts, Tonkawa used defense to win the District A-5 crown -- and eventually the Class A championship. The Buccaneers gave up more than 20 points only twice, and neither one of the occurrences surfaced in the postseason. And all the while, Shepard was leading the way as the Bucs’ leading tackler, alongside fellow defensive star Braydon Hampton. Shepard’s impressive senior season included 176 tackles, 27 sacks/tackles for loss, four interceptions, including to returns for touchdowns (69 and 48 yards).
Player of the Year: GATLIN GOODSON (Shattuck) - Leading the Indians to their second consecutive title -- and third in four years -- was Goodson, who did it all for Shattuck. The senior quarterback rushed for 1,760 yards and 31 touchdowns on 124 carries. He passed on occasion and finished with 441 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 21 of 37 attempts. At free safety, he recorded 72 tackles and three interceptions.
Offensive MVP: BRADEN GILBERT (Regent Prep) - Only two other passers in the history of Oklahoma high school football have had better seasons, yardage-wise, than what Gilbert put forth for the Rams. Gilbert passed for 4,065 yards and 63 touchdowns this season, and settled just behind Locust Grove’s Mason Fine (5,006 in 2014 and 4,227 in 2015) and Norman North’s Brandon Marquardt (4,609 in 2016). Gilbert’s 63 touchdowns were third-best in a single season, and he completed 195 of 328 passes along the way. The junior quarterback also rushed 105 times for 555 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading the Rams to the Class B title game.
Defensive MVP: JAXSON WALKER (Davenport) - The junior middle linebacker made sure life was miserable for opposing offenses throughout the 2018 season. The Bulldogs gave up only 11.5 points per game prior to losing to Shattuck in the Class B semifinals, and leading the way was Walker with 98 tackles, one sack and two interceptions.
Player of the Year: SEMAJ MCBRIDE (Tipton) - The Tigers’ dynamic ball carrier finished off his varsity career by guiding Tipton to its third consecutive championship. And to help secure the Tigers’ seventh title, McBride took over in the second half of the championship game with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns while adding in 43 receiving yards and a TD catch. He logged 128 carries for 1,654 yards during his senior campaign, and he hauled in 18 catches for 611 yards. He scored 26 total touchdowns. On defense, he collected 46 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Offensive MVP: BEN WEBB (Southwest Covenant) - Junior quarterback was instrumental in getting the Patriots to the Class C title game. Capped his year off by completing 109 of 177 passes for 2,130 yards and 40 touchdowns, and he also ran for 374 yards and nine touchdowns on 63 carries.
Defensive MVP: BRYCE WAUGH (Tipton) - Senior defensive end led the Tigers’ defense throughout the season, including five shutout victories throughout the regular season. Waugh was instrumental for the Tigers while coming up with 73 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.
SMALL SCHOOL ALL-STATE TEAM
Coach of the Year: ROBERT PARK (Sperry) - He’s spent two decades at Sperry, and in his 20th season Park claimed his first championship with the Pirates. In fact, it was Sperry’s first OSSAA championship with a 35-14 victory over Beggs in the 2A title game. Not bad for a coach of a program who most figured to have no shot at winning the gold ball. That’s because Millwood was the clear frontrunner by most who follow 2A football, but that was all derailed by Vian in the second round. The Pirates may have lost the District 2A-3 crown to Beggs with a Week 10 loss, but the Pirates rebounded and outscored opponents 252 to 55 in the playoffs, including a 56-8 thrashing of Adair to reach the state finals.
QB: Braden Gilbert (Regent Prep) - Junior quarterback logged the fourth-best season in Oklahoma history, yardage-wise. Threw for 4,065 yards and 63 touchdowns, which is the third-best among single season TD records in the Sooner State.
RB: Andrew Crow (Rejoice Christian) - Senior tailback rushed for 2,554 yards and 43 touchdowns and even had 10 catches for 192 yards and a score.
RB: Jacob Bruce (Hulbert) - Became the state’s all-time leading rusher by churning out 3,268 yards and 44 touchdowns during his senior season. Finished his career with 8,586 yards on the ground.
RB/WR: Ryan Johnson (Metro Christian) - One of the state’s best rushing-receiving players with 2,036 yards and 28 touchdowns on the ground and 47 receptions for 609 yards and five touchdowns through the air during his senior season.
WR: Jack Wright (Regent Prep) - Led the state in receiving as Gilbert’s top target. Junior wideout hauled in 81 catches for 1,840 yards and 34 touchdowns.
WR: Sam Brueggeman (Lincoln Christian) - Was quarterback Chase Ricke’s favorite target in the passing game, and Brueggeman finished with 67 receptions, 1,487 yards and 17 touchdowns during his junior season.
OL: Melvin Swindle (Heritage Hall) - Sophomore offensive lineman paved the way for the Chargers offense, which averaged 39.5 points per game, including 69 and 50 in the 3A semifinals and finals, respectively.
OL: Baylor Christy (Beggs) - Senior Missouri State signee was the key cog on the Golden Demons’ offensive line, which spearheaded Beggs’ efforts in averaging 43.3 points per contest.
OL: Eli Russ (Plainview) - Senior Oklahoma State signee received a 95 percent overall grade for his efforts along the Indians’ offensive front.
OL: Perry Lewis (Millwood) - Junior guard was instrumental in the Falcons averaging 352.3 yards and 48.3 points per game.
OL: Brandon Collier (Cashion) - Junior tackle led the Wildcats’ high-octane offense that posted 375.5 yards and 40.5 points per game.
DL: Walker Niver (Sperry) - Junior defensive end finished with 80 tackles and 10 sacks for a Pirates defense that only allowed 174 points in 15 games.
DL: Kaavn Green (Crescent) - Senior tackle had 81 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Tigers.
DL/LB: Jaden McDaniel (Heritage Hall) - Senior defensive specialist had 100 tackles and 12 sacks.
LB: Zac Anderson (Eufaula) - Finished his career with the Ironheads with 159 tackles and 12 sacks during his senior season.
LB: Trey Kiser (Sulphur) - Senior standout had 131 tackles and eight sacks on defense while also serving as one of the better running backs in the state.
LB: Laike Wilhelm (Newkirk) - Senior collected 129 tackles and two sacks on defense and also turned produced 2,243 yards and 25 touchdowns rushing on offense.
LB: Simeon Sheperd (Tonkawa) - Set a new Tonkawa record with 176 tackles during his senior season. Also had 27 sacks, four interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
DB: Conner Carey (Heritage Hall) - Senior two-way player had 57 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. Also led the Chargers with 1,844 rushing yards and 32 TDs.
DB: Zach Hale (Christian Heritage) - The Crusaders’ sparkplug through the playoffs who finished off his senior season with 202 tackles, one sack and eight interceptions. Also passed for 2,600-plus yards and 33 touchdowns.
DB: Gatlin Goodson (Shattuck) - Senior free safety had 72 tackles and three interceptions. Also served as quarterback and ran for 17,60 yards during his senior season.
DB: Dawson James (Berryhill) - Sophomore snagged 12 interceptions while also recording 30 tackles for the Chiefs.
K: Alex Felkins (Holland Hall) - Columbia signee was the state’s leader with 15 field goals. Senior kicker’s longest in 2018 was 41 yards.
P: Zach Ramay (Fairview) - Senior averaged 39.7 yards per punt for the Yellowjackets in 2018.
KR/PR: DeMariyon Houston (Millwood) - Finished the season with three kickoff returns for 184 yards and one touchdown, and also had four punt returns for 145 yards and a touchdown. Senior wideout also caught 35 passes for 772 yards and 11 TDs.
ATH: Beau Teel (Sperry) - Passed for 2,305 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 14 touchdowns. Senior linebacker also had 31 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
ATH: Jett Sternberger (Kingfisher) - Senior quarterback completed 180 of 270 passes for 2,411 yards and 33 touchdowns. Also ran for 481 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
And let us know what you think. Tweet at Skordle or email Ben Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Photo credit: Russell Stitt
| Ben Johnson
When Sperry and Beggs met the first time this season, it was an extremely emotion affair. News broke the day before the two met that Beggs running back Kayson Tolliver has been gunned down in his bed.
It was as tragic as it gets.
But Beggs opted to play and honor the life that Tolliver had lived. The scene on the field was highly irregular, as Sperry quarterback Beau Teel tells it.
“I can remember being in eighth grade, and Sperry had a player pass away and we had to play Claremore Sequoyah and emotions were so high,” Teel recalled. “That’s how that game was against Beggs.
“Players were crying on the field and everything. Makes you realize that football isn’t the most important thing in the world.”
Now the two teams will meet again -- and emotions will be high again. This time, it’ll be for the Class 2A championship at Owasso Stadium on Thursday.
“It means a lot, but not just to me, but our team and town have been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time,” Sperry’s Bryce Carter said. “We want to make the most of it.”
Third-ranked Beggs beat Sperry 35-21 on Nov. 2. The Pirates led 14-0 at halftime, but the Golden Demons went on a torrid rally in the second half, including scoring 28 points in the third quarter.
“Our first time playing Beggs made us realize that you have to play your best football for all four quarters,” Teel said. “Beggs is a great second half team that plays with a lot of heart. They know what it takes to win big games. We can not let up any this time around.”
For No. 5 Sperry, it’s the Pirates first appearance in a championship game since 1968. That’s created a considerable amount of buzz around the small town on the western edge of Tulsa County.
“The town is so excited to be in this game,” Teel said. “It’s been over 50 years since this town has been in the championship game, and it’s just really awesome. People we’ve never seen before have started coming out just to watch us play. It’s great.”