El Reno Indians
El Reno, OK 73036
Record: 0-0 | Unranked
|@ Western Heights||9/27|
| Ben Johnson
As spring football begins, there’s now a head-coaching vacancy at Coweta. Early Monday morning, Tim Holt Jr. submitted his resignation to athletic director Tim Johnson.
Holt ends a three-year run at Coweta, where he went 19-15 with a district championship in 2017. He also guided the Tigers to the playoffs in three consecutive years.
“We appreciate the time Coach Holt put into the program,” Coweta athletic director Tim Johnson told the Wagoner County American-Tribune. “We wish Tim and his family nothing but the best.”
According to several sources, Holt is heading to Broken Arrow to become the Tigers’ passing game coordinator. For the Tigers, the reigning Class 6AI champions, Holt joins the offensive staff, which is led by offensive coordinator Jay Wilkinson.
Holt served as an assistant at Broken Arrow from 2010 to 2015.
Coweta is coming off a 5-7 season, one that ended with a loss to Ardmore in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
The next head coach will be Coweta’s third since 2013.
| Ben Johnson
No introduction needed. Here are the "expert" picks for state tournaments taking place this weekend. (Oh, and listen to the podcast while you're at it!)
Ben Johnson - Edmond Memorial: There are so many players to love in this field -- Putnam City West’s Rondel Walker, Sapulpa’s Camryn Dennis, Putnam City North’s Micah Thomas, Booker T. Washington’s Bryce Thompson and so many more. But Shane Cowherd is bringing a team with talent across the board. There’s a reason the coaches in the state have the Bulldogs as the top-ranked team, so I’ll side with Cowherd and Co. over Booker T. Washington in the finals.
Michael Swisher - Edmond Memorial: The Bulldogs snuck in after losing to Midwest City and squeaking by rival Santa Fe. They’ll play better this week and bring the trophy down south.
Whitt Carter - Booker T Washington: This will be a fantastic tournament filled with teams that can win it. But I’ll take the Hornets, as they have the experience in big games and are hungry for a title. They had to watch Memorial win two in a row in Class 5A and this year their get one of their own. Another side note, BTW’s Seth Hurd is my favorite and the most underappreciated player in the state.
Ben - PC West: Reckless abandon is what the Patrios will play with this weekend, just like they’ve done all year. Not a ton of big-time scorers for PC West, but last year’s runner-up will hoist the gold ball this year.
Michael - Putnam City West: No. 1 in Oklahoma. Nationally-ranked. Haven’t lost to a team from Oklahoma. Won’t this weekend, either.
Whitt - Putnam City West: They were right there last year and had their title taken in the waning seconds by Owasso. All they’ve done this year is go 23-1 with a loss to Skyline, TX and dominate the teams inside the state of Oklahoma. Their relentless style of play and approach will be the difference, as they finish on Saturday this time and cut down the nets.
Ben - Memorial: Boone twins. It’s that simple. The Chargers have been a dynamo in 5A with two straight titles and now going for a third. Northwest Classen is good, but can Davion Warden and Co. make it to the title game and then take down the Chargers? I don’t see it.
Michael - Memorial: Lenny Hatchett has Del City playing so well, but I can’t pick against Memorial. Neither should you.
Whitt - Memorial: Let’s all be honest, this is the easiest pick from any of the classes. Bobby Allison and gang are just on another level. The Boone twins will, once again, wow the crowds at the Mabee Center with their athleticism and impact on both ends of the floor. The Chargers get another one, sending Kalib and Keylan out with a bang.
Ben - Piedmont: Per usual, the 5A girls field is pretty much anyone’s for the taking. Rogers is dangerous, but then so is El Reno with Ashlyn Evans-Thompson leading the charge. Coweta is young but talented, and East Central is always a threat. But for this year, I’ll go with the Wildcats, led by Delanie Crawford (14.8 points a game) and Maci Attalla (13.6).
Michael - Piedmont: El Reno beating Ardmore at area put the bracket in a funk as it appears loaded at the bottom. Coach Carr’s team will emerge from that and then claim gold on Saturday.
Whitt - Ardmore: They suffered a surprising and tough loss to El Reno at the area tournament last week, but I think that may work to the Lady Tigers advantage by waking them up. This team rolled through the first part of the season, losing their first game in late January. Ardmore cuts down the nets and gets its’ third gold ball.
Ben - Kingfisher: Some unbelievable talent in this field -- Broken Bow’s Josh Jones (20.4 points per game), Central’s B.J. Jefferson (16), Elgin’s Conner Slater (16.3), Kingfisher’s Trey Green (17) and Heritage Hall’s Trey Alexander (24.8). And what’s scary is a lot of these teams will return a lot of talent next season. But for now, I’m zeroing in on a Kingfisher-Heritage Hall title game for a second straight year. This time the gold ball goes to Jett Sternberger, Matt Stone, Bijan Cortes and Co.
Michael - Kingfisher: I live in Kingfisher. I have to pay my bills. I have to pick the Yellowjacket. Oh, and they’re really, really good. And hungry. If they get by dangerous Elgin in the quarters, look out.
Whitt - Kingfisher: The class that everyone is excited for will take center stage at the Fairgrounds for all three days. Heritage Hall beat the Yellowjackets in the title game last year and are 26-0 this year. But the star-studded Kingfisher remembers that loss last March and will want revenge. They get it and send out their seniors with a second gold ball.
Ben - Anadarko: Top half of the bracket -- Holland Hall, Muldrow, Elgin and Classen SAS -- is STACKED. Again, STACKED. That’s part of the reason I went with Anadarko. The Warriors still have their work cut out for them, but I’m rolling the dice with Kaylee Borden (12 points a game), Averi Zinn and the rest of the Anadarko team to win its third gold ball.
Michael - Muldrow: Coaches tell me Classen SAS is as talented as they’ve seen in 4A in a while. And they’re young as they start three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. That said, I’m going with Muldrow. Taylen Collins can match up with Littlepage-Buggs and Hannah Boyett can handle the pressure. And that’s just a semifinal. Don’t overlook Anadarko, either (it appears I am).
Whitt - Anadarko: A fairly wide open class, there are a handful of teams I could see winning it. I’ll go with the tradition-rich Anadarko, who beat one of the favorites, Classen, last Friday in the area finals. When the Lady Warriors get the press up and running, you better handle the pressure or things can unravel quickly.
Ben - Millwood: Kingston’s Jacob Germany is as good as it gets in this field, but I’ll side with the athleticism of the Falcons here. Give me Justin Wilson and Isaiah Williams and the rest of the Falcons.
Michael - Here’s hoping for a Kingston-Millwood final (all apologies to you other six). I’ve got personal ties to Millwood, so the fan in me is pulling for the Falcons all the way. The business side in me says Kingston won’t be denied.
Whitt - Millwood: I’ll take the Falcons to win the gold ball here. Several really good teams that you can pick here, including Kingston or Sequoyah on the other side. Ultimately, I think Millwood gets the winner of that eventual semifinal and beats them. Millwood has not lost inside the class this year and that won’t change this weekend.
Ben - Christian Heritage: Up from 2A, the Crusaders are still loaded. Tahlequah Sequoyah is probably the favorite, but I’ll side with Olivia Curtis and Rylee Langerman.
Michael - Sequoyah-Tahlequah: CHA has won the last two 2A crowns and is a sleeper, but this isn’t 2A and the Lady Crusaders aren’t as deep as they have been. Larry Callison rides into the sunset with another state championship.
Whitt - Christian Heritage: Another class with some big time teams, but I’ll take CHA to win another title as it took the jump up a class this season. They know how to win and ultimately get past Sequoyah in what would be an awesome semifinal. Side note, I am really picking my alma mater, the Sulphur Lady Bulldogs - in Toby Todd we trust.
Ben - Hennessey: Total guess here, so I’m siding with Hennessey, who -- along with Hooker -- has only lost twice this season.
Michael - Hooker: This is the most wide-open bracket in OKC, in my opinion. Any number of teams can win…and also get beat Thursday. Hooker is one of them.
Whitt - Dale: They are coming off a big win over Hooker last week to punch their ticket to the state tourney. They have played well inside the class this year, going 12-2, only losing to Cashion a month ago and Rock Creek back in January.
Ben - Dale: I’m programmed to believe that Dale wins everything when its in any state tournament field. Pirates win again.
Michael - Howe: No Cashion and no CHA this year, which have been Howe’s kryptonite the last three years. Dale is in the way, but Jalei Oglesby caps her stellar career with the gold ball.
Whitt - Latta: I’ll go with what many would consider a sleeper pick here, but give me the Lady Panthers. They are a long team and present a bunch of problems defensively. They will have to get past top-ranked Dale in the semis and it would be the rubbermatch between the two.
| Ben Johnson
Made a big podcast addition this week. Ben & Swisher are joined by the Oklahoman's Jacob Unruh.
Jacob & Swisher recap the highlights and the championship moments from the Class A & Class B state tournaments.
Then the guys break down the state tournaments from 2A through 6A. And of course, PREDICTIONS! (Most sure to go wrong, in Ben's case).
And as always, thanks for listening!
| Ben Johnson
EMAIL ME - firstname.lastname@example.org | RELATED - State tournament wrestling predictions
Drake Barbee will take the mat at Jim Norick Arena on Friday. Impressive for someone who was near death 14 months ago.
“It was as severe as it could have gotten,” Barbee said, “other than death, of course.”
Barbee, attending Stilwell during his junior year at the time, was en route to his dad’s fiance’s house in Broken Arrow.
Then things went horribly wrong.
“I have no recollection of anything other then trying to avoid something that night,” Barbee said. “The people at the hospital told me there was a guy that crossed over the center line that was high on meth, and I should have died.”
Needless to say, Dec. 19, 2017, was a horrifying day for Chris Barbee, Drake’s dad.
“Hardest phone call I ever had to take,” the elder Barbee said. “A lot of stuff goes through your mind, and I didn’t know the extent of his injuries until I got to the hospital.”
Chris Barbee was about to be horrified all over again. The list of Drake’s ailments was painfully extensive.
- Broken hip
- Broken jaw
- Traumatic brain injury
- Brain bleeds
The injuries caused Drake Barbee to spend nine days in a coma. Then came “multiple months in multiple hospitals,” Drake recalled. “Then a rehab center for an additional month.”
Drake’s near-death experience came immediately after competing at the Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nevada. And it would be the last time he’d take the wrestling mat for a while -- and understandably so.
“It was hard; I looking anywhere I could to get on the mat,” Drake said. “I was decently moving after the rehab center, and my mentality was ‘just keep going.’ I was just trying to grind it out.”
But he pushed himself too hard. He ended up blowing out a knee while recovering.
His junior season was a lost cause. That prompted several months of rest for Drake, and it wasn’t long before he relocated to Blackwell.
But Drake also faced a harsh reality.
“It hit me,” he said, “I realized I might not be able to wrestle for a while.”
A crushing realization for someone who lives for the wrestling room.
“It’s my lifestyle,” Drake said. “I literally love wrestling. Call me crazy, but it’s what I do.”
For Chris Barbee, it was agonizing watching his son endure hardships that no high school athlete should have to entertain.
“It was very tough to see him go through that kind of ordeal,” Chris Barbee said. “I just knew it was gonna be a long road back.”
But Drake navigated the path back to full strength -- or as close to full strength as he can get.
Now he sports a 34-4 record and a regional championship as he enters the 195-pound field in the Class 3A state tournament in Oklahoma City.
“It’s been awesome,” Drake Barbee said of being at Blackwell for his senior season. “The wrestling tradition is what I like. It doesn’t get much better.”
Regardless of how Drake, an Arkansas-Little Rock signee, does at State Fair Arena, it’ll be impressive for a wrestler who was told he may never display the correct walking tendencies.
“The doctor said he’d never had someone recover and walk correctly,” Drake Barbee said. “So to recover and do what I’m doing now, I’m truly blessed.”
And Chris Barbee couldn’t be happier to coach his son for his senior season.
“It’s been very satisfying to see him get back to his old self and what he’s capable of,” Chris Barbee said. “He’s very driven and is a tireless worker. He’s wrestling really good right now, and he is gonna be tough to beat.”
| 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
It's time to break down championship games for Classes 5A, 4A and 3A -- or I like to call it, the “no east side teams allowed” preview. For real, just look at whose left in these three championship games.
As for the quality in these three games, it’s top notch. You have perennial powers, grind-it-out ball clubs and no shortage of extraordinary talent.
Looking for something to do on Friday night in the Oklahoma City area? You have plenty of options, stretching from Yukon to Edmond.
Now, here are your game previews….
*All games scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Friday
No. 1 Carl Albert (13-0) vs. No. 2 Ardmore (13-0)
Where: Wolves Stadium (Edmond Santa Fe High School)
Road to the title game
- Carl Albert: 28-7 vs. El Reno in the first round; 42-6 vs. Claremore in the quarterfinals; 37-20 vs. Collinsville in the semifinals
- Ardmore: 42-13 vs. Piedmont in the first round; 48-13 vs. Coweta in the quarterfinals; 21-13 vs. Bishop Kelley in the semifinals
What to watch for
- Ground game galore: Carl Albert’s Dadrion “Rabbit” Taylor is coming off a monster game against Collinsville - 313 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries. Then there’s Ardmore arsenal of ball carriers, including Tero Roberts, Jadrien Monroe and Cameron Petties. The Tigers are averaging close to 400 yards on the ground per game, and they’re coming off a 21-13 win over Bishop Kelley where they ran for 318 yards on 43 carries.
- Ardmore’s massive offensive line: Lost amid the big names in this one is the Tigers’ massive offensive line. Anchored by 5-foot-10, 305-pound senior guard Trenzel Johnson, Ardmore may possess the largest offensive front, this side of Broken Arrow. Brayden Bryant, Ethan Phillips, Sitani Lemeki and Johnson all check in at more than 275 pounds, and Tafolla mans the center position at 210.
- Tradition or Tigers? Carl Albert has won 35 straight games, and the Titans are basically royalty when it comes to winning championships. Then there’s Ardmore, looking for its first title since 1992.
- Carl Albert head coach Mike Corley took over in 2017. He’s gone 27-0 over the course of two seasons.
- Ardmore head coach Josh Newby took over in 2015. He’s gone 40-9 over the course of four seasons.
- Ardmore is 3-2 all-time in championship games -- the last one being a 34-14 win over Douglass for the 5A crown in 1992.
- Carl Albert sophomore quarterback Ben Harris has completed 140 of 240 pass attempts this season for 2,224 yards and 19 touchdowns. For his career, Harris has logged 4,990 yards through the air.
- Junior linkebacker Reise Collier leads Carl Albert on defense with 160 tackles, five sacks and two interceptions.
- Carl Albert has won back-to-back 5A titles -- both wins over Bishop McGuinness in 2017 and 2016 by a combined score of 69-52.
- Carl Albert is 16-7 against Ardmore all-time, and the Titans beat Ardmore in both 2017 (28-12) and 2016 (38-21).
- A title would be ….. Carl Albert’s 14th; Ardmore’s fourth.
Michael Swisher: Ardmore over Carl Albert - Man, if we could just stop at the first three classes, I would seem pretty smart. I've nailed all six title game participants so far. I went out on a limb with my Ardmore pick. Only a fool would pick against Carl Albert. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce myself, the fool. I could be embarrassed by this pick still, but I feel the Tigers' ground game and stellar defense do just enough to knock off the champs.
Ben Johnson: Carl Albert over Ardmore - Welp, I had Bishop Kelley making the championship game against Carl Albert, so strike one for me there. But I had Carl Albert winning it all, so I’ve still got that going for me. When the season started, it looked like Carl Albert was the run-away favorite to win another gold ball, and while I’m still picking the Titans, I think Ardmore’s got a great shot. With guys like Tero Roberts, Cameron Petties and others, Ardmore will do its best to lean on it size and speed as much as possible. But when it comes down to it, Carl Albert has too much firepower. I know, I know -- what else is new?
Whitt Carter: Carl Albert over Ardmore - Again, this was my pick before the playoffs started and I've seen no reason to change it. Carl Albert is in the middle of an incredible run and they'll be hard to beat with a chance to go for the three-peat and their 36th win in a row. But it won't be easy, as Tero Roberts is the real deal. Again, major props to Tigers' head coach Josh Newby. He has this program at an elite level in 5A and they aren't going away anytime soon. But they will have to wait, as the Titans continue to add to their historic run.