Northwest Classen Knights
Oklahoma City, OK 73122
Record: 1-1-3 | Unranked
|vs Classen SAS||W||27-18|
|@ Lawton||Missing Score|
|@ US Grant||L||28-12|
|@ Stillwater||Missing Score|
|vs Putnam City North||Missing Score|
|@ Midwest City||Missing Score|
|@ Bixby||Missing Score|
| 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
BROKEN ARROW -- Some results over the weekend were stunning. But none near as shocking as the news from Broken Arrow to start the week.
In a release from the school on Monday morning, Broken Arrow announced it was stripping David Alexander of his head coaching duties. A move no one saw coming, including Alexander himself.
Two years after leading the Tigers to their first state championship, Alexander, 56, now finds himself without a head coaching gig. He went 60-23 in seven seasons and finished with a state runner-up finish in 2015.
“We appreciate and thank coach Alexander for his dedication and time with the program," said Chuck Perry, associate superintendent of student services, in a statement released by the district.
"His legacy has been cemented in the fact that he came home to his high school alma mater and was the first coach to take the program to the top of the mountain. After much consideration, though, we feel the timing is right and is in the best interest of the district to move in a new direction.”
Alexander gradated from Broken Arrow in 1982.
The district said the search for the next head coach begins immediately.
| Korry Rogers
We are back! A good week for Whitt last week, who is still too far behind to matter.
We are one week closer to handing out gold balls, so let’s fire off some more picks for the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds!
Last week (overall):
Whitt: 16-3 (87-36)
Swish: 13-6 (91-32)
Ben: 13-6 (95-28)
WEEK 3 - PLAYOFF GAMES & PICKS
| Ben Johnson
PLAYOFF GAMES - WEEK 2 - PICKS
Broken Arrow @ Union
Westmoore @ Santa Fe
| Ben Johnson
What we saw last week was technically the playoffs. Now it starts for real and we have some thoughts to share...
Quick playoff snapshot from the Skordle guys…
Most dangerous team
- Bixby (Class 6AII) - Duh! Most likely the best team in the state, regardless of class. Braylin Presley is the real deal. Good luck to anyone playing the Spartans.
Class 4A: Emmanuel Crawford (Grove) - Sophomore running back should start catching eyeballs real quick. Grove has a tough path through Hilldale and potentially Weatherford, but the Ridgerunners are a team to keep an eye on moving forward.
- Kind of taking this the opposite direction because I’ve heard chatter about some thinking Central will beat Lincoln Christian. I don’t see it. KT Owens and Co. are good but not good enough to take down the Bulldogs.
Class 2A - Atoka Wampus Cats - That’s too easy! Eufaula Ironheads is always solid, too.
Don't count this team out
Class 2A - Kellyville - Trevor Jones is rock solid at running back and Colton Ayres is solid at QB. Ponies take on a quality OCS team, and the winner should like its chances in that quadrant of the 2A bracket.
6AI - Owasso
6AII - Bixby
5A - Carl Albert
4A - Wagoner
3A - Holland Hall
2A - Vian
A - Cashion
B - Dewar
C - Timberlake
Most dangerous team - Choctaw (6AII) - Yes, Bixby is the best team. We all know that. Nobody’s arguing it. But Choctaw has just enough talent to be that dangerous sleeper. Not upset alert…but dangerous enough. Bixby has blown out everyone this year except Jenks (not a bad 6AI team if you weren’t aware) and….Choctaw. The Yellow Jackets played them within 11 in the regular season.
Best first-round matchup - Newcastle at Tuttle (4A) - Piedmont and El Reno is intriguing. So is Booker T. and Midwest City. However, this matchup between friendly(?) neighbors is Week 2 rematch that saw the Tigers escape 24-21.
Upset alert - OSSAA - Yeah, I took the easy way out and didn’t pick a team. But, in all seriousness, if we are able to get through this season and these playoffs, it will be an upset of sorts for it to have been pulled off. I took an unofficial poll prior to the season starting asking some fellow media members if they felt a football season would even take place. It ranged from “no” to “probably shouldn’t, but it’s possible.” There were no straight up “yes” answers. God bless anyone who has been affected directly or indirectly by COVID, and I mean that, but we needed football.
Don’t count this team out - Shattuck (B) - Yes, the Indians got BLASTED by Laverne in the final week of the regular season. Sure, maybe it’s not all “sunshine and rainbows” way out west. However, it’s still Shattuck. The three-time defending state champs have pulled off the improbable before. Am I saying it’s going to happen again? No, but don’t count them out.
Dream matchup - Pawhuska vs. Cashion (A) - Pawhuska is putting up numbers this year that would make most basketball coaches envious. Led by Bryce Drummond, the Huskies average 69.5 - YES, 70! (rounded up of course) - points a game. Cashion, meanwhile, prefers to not surrender points and only gives up 8.5 a game. It’s strength vs. strength if these two meets - as we suspect - in the Class A semifinals. The opposite units aren’t bad either. Cashion scores 48.6 a game while the Huskies give up 15.3. It has all the makings of a matchup classic. Of course, a win only puts you in the finals. The victor could very well get defending champ Ringling the next week.
6AI - Owasso
6AII - Bixby
5A - Carl Albert
4A - Weatherford
3A - Holland Hall
2A - Vian
A - Cashion
B - Laverne
C - Timberlake
Most dangerous team
| Ben Johnson
Story by Whitt Carter
Sulphur’s Logan Smith showed early on in his career that he had a chance to be a special player.
The 6-foot-1, 200 lb. senior always possessed elite speed and good size for a running back at the Class 3A level.
But did he ever think he would join the conversation as one of the best ever at Sulphur?
“Being in that category with some studs is crazy to think about,” he said. “Those are the guys I looked up to as a kid.”
Crazy as it sounds, Smith certainly has a seat at the table, as he currently leads the entire state – all classes – in rushing through the end of the regular season.
Smith has carried 173 times for 2,018 yards and 27 touchdowns, which are eye popping numbers at any level.
He is 304 yards ahead of Luke Tarman from Bishop McGuinness, the closest rusher to the distant Bulldog leader.
For Smith, his success this season can be attributed to a multitude of things, especially the guys he has around him and the creative play-calling from the Sulphur coaches.
“I have a lot of trust in my offensive line,” he said. “And the rest of the offense, too. And believing in coach (Corey) Cole to put us in the best spot for success on that specific down.”
Many that watch Sulphur each year and each week have seen Smith improve each year, but especially this season, where he took a huge jump from being very good to great.
“I just tried to stay dedicated in the weight room and have a focused mindset on what I wanted to accomplish in football and this season,” he said.
Smith thinks the weight room has been his biggest friend and key to his success, as it is something he has gone all-in on each day.
“Getting in there and working will eventually play a tremendous role in your success,” he said. “It is a big part of my everyday life and has made the biggest impact on the field for me.”
Strength and conditioning, along with track, has helped the senior develop top-level speed and agility, something he puts on display seemingly each week, as he is truly a big-play waiting to happen.
Smith has 18 touchdowns this year of 40 yards or more, including 11 in the last four games.
He has also rushed for over 300 yards in back-to-back games, including a 312-yard, six touchdown performance last Friday night in the win over Lone Grove, which followed a win over Plainview in which Smith racked up 351 yards and four scores.
“I think my strengths as a runner are my size, speed and vision,” he said. “And having the awareness to know when to cut or not.”
He also is a big-time weapon in the passing game, catching 15 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns this season. Smith also has a 53-yard punt return for a score.
The senior also has the luxury of having an offensive line that is experienced, and also, improving each week, helping pave the way for over 320 rushing yards per game as a team.
“I’d say the offensive line is the main reason why I have every yard I do,” Smith said. “They have done a great job and without them I wouldn’t have a single yard.”
Spoken like a true leader, which is something Sulphur head coach Jim Dixon has praised Smith for adopting as he has gotten older, developing into the leader for the 2020 Bulldogs.
“I try to focus on being a leader on an off the field and working hard no matter what happens that day,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to see guys like Trey (Kiser) lead us when I was younger and that’s just what I try to do.”
That’s how Smith wants to leave his legacy among the Sulphur greats, for leading the way and continuing to lead by example.
“I want to be remembered for my work ethic and leadership and honestly, how I impacted our team’s success,” he said.
What that success becomes is still yet to be determined, as the Dogs now shift focus to the playoffs.
But for Smith and his teammates, there is only one goal in mind.
“We want to win a state championship,” he said. “When you are at Sulphur, that’s the goal every year.”
How Smith envisions his team giving themselves a chance at accomplishing their ultimate goal is really no surprise.
“We have to stay true to what we do and trust in what we have been doing all year,” he said. “And we know if we keep working hard, we will give ourselves a shot.”
Photo credit: DeJay Arms
| Ben Johnson
Jenks @ Westmoore
PC North @ Stillwater
Booker T @ Bixby
Lawton Mac @ Ardmore
Tahlequah @ Collinsville
Tuttle @ Blanchard
Poteau @ Broken Bow
Wagoner @ Skiatook
Lincoln @ Stigler
Kingfisher @ Anadarko
Sulphur @ Lone Grove
Vinita @ Verdigris
Adair @ Claremore Seq.
Christian Heritage @ Washington
Prague @ Chandler
Crescent @ Cashion
Thomas @ Texoma
Shattuck @ Laverne
Regent Prep @ Davenport
Midway @ Sasakwa
| Michael Swisher
By John Hardaway - I Even Eat BBQ on Pizza
Someplace I like to eat – Jo’s Famous Pizza
Jo’s Famous Pizza is one of my favorite pizza places in Oklahoma.
I visit the Edmond location regularly and will continue to do so forever. It’s a great place with awesome staff and service who will go beyond and above to continue earning your business.
I have also been to the original Jo’s in Purcell a handful of times and it’s never disappointed either.
What makes Jo’s so great in my opinion is the incredible crust that’s flaky and buttery every time. They also only use fresh ingredients for toppings.
They have all the classic pizzas. If you like Pepperoni Pizza, you probably won’t find a better one around!
The entire top is going to be covered in pepperonis and the best part is the pepperoni grease works down into the crust.
As for the specialty pizzas, I love the Cowboy (it’s BBQ, a shocker, I know) and the Taco. Trust me, it’s so good, but must be for dine-in only because of the cold lettuce topping it needs to be eaten immediately.