OK Christian Academy
Edmond, OK 73034
Record: 2-8-1 | Unranked
|@ Oklahoma Bible||L||41-6|
|vs Crooked Oak||W||42-24|
|@ Christian Heritage||L||42-8|
|@ Crossings Christian||L||63-16|
|vs Capitol Hill||W||62-0|
|vs Watonga||Missing Score|
| Ben Johnson
We finally took the plunge and did a deep dive into the long-standing public schools vs. private schools debate in Oklahoma. Cashion head football coach (and athletic director) Lynn Shackelford (24:45) joined us to share his thoughts from the public side, and Bishop Kelley athletic director Lance Parks (46:24) offered up some insight from the private school side.
Regardless of which side you're on, both make great points. Both have valid arguments.
Also, we talk about some recent football commitments, including Broken Arrow's Andrew Raym siding with the Sooners. The chat briefly about OSU's recruiting class after Bixby's Brennan Presley vowed his commitment to the Cowboys.
But perhaps most importantly, we talked food (5:46). Is there a place that we think is overrated? Underrated? FYI: We talked pizza!
Have your own thoughts on food or the public/private debate? Tweet us at @benjohnsontul or @michaelswisher.
Or send us an email at email@example.com & we'll answer any questions or read comments on the next podcast.
Thanks so much for listening!
Just in case, a few more options to listen to the podcast....
| Ben Johnson
Medals and trophies have been handed out to wrestlers across the state. Now it’s time for basketball teams to start claiming hardware.
Ben and Michael dive into Class A & B state basketball tournaments on tap this week, and they guys also make their predictions in each class.
Ben breaks down what happened at the state wrestling tournament and some of the various highlights along the way.
Also added a new segment where the guys named their MVPs of the week. Listen in and find out who they dubbed as last week’s MVPs.
All that leading up to Michael's interview with Okarche coach Ray West. You don't want to miss what West had to say.
Thanks for listening & enjoy!
Have any feedback? Email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org
| Ben Johnson
The Skordle Week 5 Player of the Week poll is sponsored by:
Noah Cortes (Broken Arrow) - Senior tailback rushed for 200 yards and a single-game school-record six touchdowns on 14 carries in the Tigers’ 63-7 win over Norman.
Cameron Gunville (Seminole) - Junior tailback rushed for 319 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries in the Chieftains’ 50-31 victory over Lincoln Christian.
Corey Ramsey (Okemah) - Senior running back rushed for 359 yards and seven touchdowns on 16 carries in the Panthers’ 70-32 victory over Holdenville.
Brant Hager (Verdigris) - Junior quarterback completed 22 of 33 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns. Also rushed for 24 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals’ 45-35 win over Vinita.
Austin Hines (Adair) - Senior quarterback completed 14 of 23 passes for 496 yards and seven touchdowns in the Warriors’ 48-21 win over Wyandotte..
Tayden Lucero (Haskell) - Senior quarterback had 23 carries for 271 yards and four touchdowns, and also completed 9 of 17 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown. On defense, had 10 tackles and an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Haymakers’ 44-16 win over Dewey.
Stevie Orr (Davenport) - Senior quarterback rushed for 123 yards and five touchdowns on 18 carries. Completed 20 of 34 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 50-38 win over Dewar.
Josiah Markum (Okla. Christian Academy) - Senor tight end caught nine passes for 398 yards and seven touchdowns. On defense, he finished with four tackle, one interception, one sack, one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery in OCA’s 63-42 win over Northeast.
Nick Jones (Eufaula) - Rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass in only one half against Hartshorne in the Ironheads’ 41-6 win.
Michelle Artzberger (Lawton Mac) - Caught eight passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns. Also had six tackles on defense in the Highlanders’ 48-0 win over Southeast.
Cade Shropshire QB (Checotah) - Passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries in the Wildcats’ 55-26 win over Okmulgee.
Wyatt Conley (Minco) - Passed for 148 yards and one touchdown and also ran for one touchdown. On defense, had an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown in Minco’s 34-8 win over Watonga.
Laquan Wells (Idabel) - Passed for 186 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns in the Warriors’ 70-12 win over Webster.
Dae Dae Leathers (Tahlequah) - Rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in Tahlequah’s 14-7 win over Skiatook.
Danny Brockup (Inola) - Senior running back scored three touchdowns while rushing for 176 yards on 20 carries. Also had one catch for 45 yards in the Longhorns’ 42-0 win over Claremore Sequoyah.
Andrew Crow (Victory Christian) - Rushed for five touchdowns on offense and had two interceptions on defense in the Eagles’ 54-0 win over Fairland.
Garrett Williams (Victory Christian) - Threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns, also rushed seven times for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the Conquerors’ 63-16 victory over Morris.
Jaxon Canard (OCS) - Rushed for 182 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in the Saints’ 42-22 win over Newkirk.
Senior LB/WR Jonathan Buskirk (Regent Prep) - Had 15 tackles and three tackles for loss on defense. On offense, had two catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in Regent Prep’s 32-22 win over Yale.
Michael Marin (Barnsdall) JR RB - Junior tailback had 244 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in the Panthers’ 50-36 win over Langston Hughes.
Qwontrel Walker (Stillwater) - Rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. Also had a 44-yard touchdown reception in the Pioneers’ 31-13 win over Midwest City.
Will Dunigan (Spiro) - Caught five passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. On defense, he had 14 tackles in Spiro’s 47-14 win over Westville.
Shade Watie (Tahlequah Sequoyah) - Rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Also had six catches for 77 yards and one touchdown in the Indians’ 34-13 win over Pocola.
Drake Roush (Holland Hall) - Completed 14 of 23 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Also had eight tackles on defense in a 49-21 win for the Dutch over Keys.
Conner Carey (Heritage Hall) - Rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Also had three catches for 86 yards in the Chargers’ 27-20 win over John Marshall.
Nate Asbill (Sallisaw) - Rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns in the Black Diamonds’ 42-21 win over Stilwell.
OLB Cole McMurphy (Crossings Chr) - Recorded 17 tackles and a touchdown off his own blocked punt in Crossings Christian’s 16-14 win over Crescent.
Makai Blades (Glenpool) - Rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries in the Warriors’ 66-0 win over Hale.
Collin Oliver (Edmond Santa Fe) - Recorded 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, one tackle for a safety and a fumble recovery in the Wolves’ 30-14 win over Yukon.
Blake Lair (Coweta) - Caught six passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 41-7 win over Durant.
Jahkobie Smith (Del City) - Completed 17 of 22 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns in Del City’s 49-13 win over Putnam City West.
Jeff Foreman (Del City) - Caught 10 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 49-13 win over PC West.
Miles Davis (Lawton) - Rushed for 256 yards and a touchdowns on 35 carries in the Wolverines’ 34-17 win over Deer Creek.
Trenton Skinner (Shawnee) - Caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Also threw a touchdown pass in the Wolves’ 32-27 win over Ponca City.
Brennan Presley (Bixby) - Caught three passed for 51 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for 25 yards. Even completed a pass for 34 yards. On defense, he had a 36-yard interception return in the Spartans’ 21-7 win over Booker T. Washington.
Jimmie Coleman (Muskogee) - Rushed for 206 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries. Also caught three passes for 49 yards in the Roughers’ 45-27 win over Sand Springs.
| Ben Johnson
Can't sugarcoat the truth: it was a rough go of it for everyone not named Michael Swisher last week. Old man Swisher managed to pull off a 16-8 slate with Week 1 picks, but we can all assume he cheated somehow. As it stands now, Swisher leads the pack through two weeks at 27-13, and I'm three games off his pace. Randy Turney is currently third at 23-17 and Whitt Carter is hovering just above .500 at 21-19.
It's our vow to you to be better this week (or something like that). Week 2 picks right here:
Broken Arrow at Owasso
Michael Swisher: Broken Arrow 24, Owasso 14
Ben Johnson: Broken Arrow 37, Owasso 20
Whitt Carter: Broken Arrow 31, Owasso 17
Randy Turney: Broken Arrow 21, Owasso 17
Carl Albert at Del City
Michael Swisher: Carl Albert 31, Del City 20
Ben Johnson: Carl Albert 34, Del City 16
Whitt Carter: Del City 28, Carl Albert 27
Randy Turney: Carl Albert 24, Del City 20
Union at Jenks
Michael Swisher: Union 33, Jenks 24
Ben Johnson: Union 20, Jenks 17
Whitt Carter: Jenks 34, Union 24
Randy Turney: Union 24, Jenks 23
Lincoln Christian at Vian
Michael Swisher: Lincoln Christian 22, Vian 19
Ben Johnson: Vian 32, Lincoln Christian 27
Whitt Carter: Lincoln Christian 28, Vian 21
Randy Turney: Lincoln Christian 34, Vian 24
Tuttle at Plainview
Michael Swisher: Tuttle 21, Plainview 20
Ben Johnson: Tuttle 29, Plainview 22
Whitt Carter: Tuttle 34, Plainview 31
Randy Turney: Tuttle 35, Plainview 21
Booker T. Washington vs. Horn Lake (Miss.)
Michael Swisher: Booker T. Washington 35, Horn Lake 14
Ben Johnson: Horn Lake 24, Booker T. Washington 22
Whitt Carter: Booker T. Washington 35, Horn Lake 27
Randy Turney: Horn Lake 28, Booker T. Washington 17
Bishop McGuinness at Bishop Kelley
Michael Swisher: Bishop Kelley 31, Bishop McGuinness 24
Ben Johnson: Bishop Kelley 16, Bishop McGuinness 13
Whitt Carter: Bishop McGuinness 20, Bishop Kelley 16
Randy Turney: Bishop Kelley 21, Bishop McGuinness 20
Heritage Hall at Clinton
Michael Swisher: Heritage Hall 30, Clinton 20
Ben Johnson: Heritage Hall 35, Clinton 18
Whitt Carter: Heritage Hall 35, Clinton 21
Randy Turney: Heritage Hall 31, Clinton 20
Anadarko at Blanchard
Michael Swisher: Blanchard 29, Anadarko 18
Ben Johnson: Blanchard 29, Anadarko 16
Whitt Carter: Blanchard 42, Anadarko 21
Randy Turney: Blanchard 24, Anadarko 7
Davis at Sulphur
Michael Swisher: Sulphur 18, Davis 16
Ben Johnson: Sulphur 30, Davis 14
Whitt Carter: Sulphur 34, Davis 12
Randy Turney: Sulphur 21, Davis 20
Coweta at Tahlequah
Michael Swisher: Coweta 23, Tahlequah 17
Ben Johnson: Coweta 27, Tahlequah 19
Whitt Carter: Coweta 34, Tahlequah 27
Randy Turney: Tahlequah 17, Coweta 10
Southwest Covenant at Empire
Michael Swisher: SW Covenant 48, Empire 28
Ben Johnson: SW Covenant 44, Empire 29
Whitt Carter: SW Covenant 38, Empire 22
Randy Turney: SW Covenant 34, Empire 17
Stillwater at Norman North
Michael Swisher: Stillwater 29, Norman North 19
Ben Johnson: Stillwater 42, Norman North 19
Whitt Carter: Stillwater 34, Norman North 24
Randy Turney: Stillwater 24, Norman North 17
Mustang at Edmond Santa Fe
Michael Swisher: Edmond Santa Fe 24, Mustang 21
Ben Johnson: Edmond Santa Fe 28, Mustang 24
Whitt Carter: Edmond Santa Fe 35, Mustang 28
Randy Turney: Edmond Santa Fe 18, Mustang 16
Lawton MacArthur at Lawton
Michael Swisher: Lawton 28, Lawton MacArthur 20
Ben Johnson: Lawton 33, Lawton MacArthur 31
Whitt Carter: Lawton MacArthur 41, Lawton 28
Randy Turney: Lawton 21, Lawton MacArthur 14
Ada at Noble
Michael Swisher: Noble 24, Ada 18
Ben Johnson: Noble 33, Ada 23
Whitt Carter: Noble 21, Ada 13
Randy Turney: Ada 21, Noble 7
Edison at Memorial
Michael Swisher: Memorial 23, Edison 16
Ben Johnson: Edison 26, Memorial 24
Whitt Carter: Edison 27, Memorial 21
Randy Turney: Memorial 14, Edison 13
Adair at Locust Grove
Michael Swisher: Adair 38, Locust Grove 22
Ben Johnson: Adair 38, Locust Grove 22
Whitt Carter: Adair 34, Locust Grove 18
Randy Turney: Adair 28, Locust Grove 13
Oklahoma Christian Academy at Crescent
Michael Swisher: Crescent 30, OCA 15
Ben Johnson: OCA 35, Crescent 30
Whitt Carter: Crescent 21, OCA 20
Randy Turney: OCA 28, Crescent 21
Let us know what you think. Tweet your predictions to us at @Skordle.
Girls Basketball | | Jacob Unruh | NewsOK
Oklahoma Christian Academy’s girls basketball team is in uncharted territory.
One win away from a state tournament berth for the first time in program history, the unranked Eagles are approaching Monday’s Class A area tournament consolation championship with confidence.
“People don’t know who we are,” OCA coach Joe Crawford said. “On any given night, we can beat anybody in Class A basketball.”
OCA (18-9) plays No. 5 Canute at 6:30 p.m. in the Enid Event Center. It’s a rematch of the regional tournament championship in which OCA won in overtime.
| Michael Swisher
Less than 24 hours after helping lead his team to another tournament championship, Bijan Cortes announced a big decision about his future.
The Kingfisher High School junior made it public early Sunday evening that he had committed to play basketball for the University of Oklahoma.
[Photo by Russell Stitt/www.stitt.smugmug.com]
“I want to thank my friends and family for always pushing me to be the best person I can be. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Kingfisher and all the great people in it for always coming out and supporting me,” Cortes wrote in a statement on social media.
He continued: “Thank you to Coach (Lon) Kruger and the University of Oklahoma staff for believing in my talents. I’m proud to say that I am officially a Sooner! 110% COMMITTED.”
Cortes scored 26 points the previous night in Kingfisher’s 85-42 win over Guthrie in the finals of the Buckle of the Wheatbelt Invitational.
The Jackets have won 38 straight games and are 72-2 since Cortes began starting as a freshman. During that stretch, they’ve been a 4A state runner-up (2018) and state champion (2019).
KHS is 16-0 this season, during which Cortes has averaged 21.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.4 steals. He’s shooting 62.1 percent overall, which includes 56.9 percent from 3-point range.
Rivals, a national recruiting service, has him listed as the 150th-ranked player in the country for the Class of 2021 and the 31st-ranked point guard.
Anther service, 247, has him listed at No. 230 and 37, respectively.
Cortes, who is 6-foot-2, received an offer from OU last April. He also hauled in offers from Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio.
“OU just felt like home and the coaches there made me a main priority and they always text me telling me that I can be ‘that guy,’” Cortes told Michael Swisher of Skordle and the Kingfisher Times & Free Press.
Cortes was primarily recruited by OU assistant coach Carlin Hartman, as well as head coach Lon Kruger. Both were in Kingfisher to watch Cortes practice earlier this month.
He said Norman’s proximity did play a role in his decision.
“Why not do it in the home state close to family?” he said. “That made me want to be a Sooner.”
Cortes knows he could have waited to see if other offers came in, but felt the timing was right to commit.
“I wasn’t like ‘I’m ready to get it over with,’” he said. “But I also knew for sure this was my favorite school and staff, so why wait?”
| Ben Johnson
Booker T. Washington’s head-coaching vacancy didn’t last long. The Tulsa World reported that Brad Calip would be vacating his post as Hornets head coach for an assistant coaching job at Owasso on Sunday.
On Monday, Tulsa Public Schools is expected to formally announce Jonathan Brown as the Hornets new head coach at Booker T. Washington, according to multiple sources. Brown will be elevated from his current defensive coordinator role.
Calip leaves after going 32-15 during a four-year run as head coach. During that time, Booker T. Washington won the 2017 Class 6AIi state championship.
Brown is a former Booker T. Washington standout who graduated in 1994. He played college football at Tennessee and spent time during his professional career in both the NFL and Canadian Football League.
| Ben Johnson
Owasso recently knocked off Jenks, 14-6, for the Class 6AI championship in Edmond on Dec. 6. It had been determined several weeks before the playoffs started that all 11-man football title games would be played at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium.
But now that the season is over, one state senator is sounding off on the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s decision to force Jenks and Owasso play in a championship game at the other end of the Turner Turnpike.
Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Sperry) has proposed a bill that he hopes will generate conversation in next year’s legislative session that would allow school districts to determine their playing destination.
Skordle contacted Dossett this weekend and wanted to ask Dossett a few questions.
What made you want to put together the legislation to present it when the legislative session starts in 2020?
Basically, it was the outcry from my community. There are some people that don’t like the idea, or the ideas that I have brought up. I purposely wanted until after the game had happened. I filed it on Monday after the game, because I didn’t want it be become a distraction. There’s enough of an outcry and a complaint that have a good point on why we played the game where we did and why we didn’t play it where we had the last five, six or seven years. It worked out great for everyone involved when it was played at the University of Tulsa. I had to bring it up; I had to bring up the discontent that my community, Jenks and a lot of the Tulsa area have with the decision that was made by a state-wide group -- that forced this decision on us and did not seek our input.
It was basically left to the football coaches association to make this decision, and most of the people involved weren’t going to face the ramifications of their school’s decision. It was made against the two schools that were playing and were against the decision that was made.
There should be a way for more flexibility with your local school districts that are competing in this situation to be able to not have to go play at a place that was deemed ‘this is the state championship site,’ especially when there were all the problems of playing late on a Saturday night. There were going to be how many teenage drivers on the turnpike late on a Saturday night in December? And, the stadium was nowhere near able to hold our crowd.
All of this put together, in my mind, says we need to do this better and there needs to be a way to do this better. There needs to be a way that we can go play this game somewhere else. I mean, we could have played at Broken Arrow and it would have been able to hold our fans. We could have played in a bunch of different stadiums here in the Tulsa area.
I heard there were 8,000 fans at the game at UCO, and at TU there would have been 20,000, so we stopped people from coming to the game by putting that distance barrier there. Nobody wants that; we want the community to come to the game, if possible.
What would you say to the people that say Senate bill 1111 is a waste of everyone’s time and could be spent discussing something else?
There are thousands of bills filled every year -- some of them get picked up and some don’t. It doesn’t waste any more time in committee or on the floor. It’s the legislator’s job to conduct the people’s business, so if a community has an idea or wants to change something, it’s the job of the legislator to consider it and go forward from that. And I agree, this is not the most pressing issue in the state of Oklahoma -- I 100 percent agree -- but if there’s a problem, it’s the job of the legislator to address an issue that their community is considered about. Senate district 34 up here in north Tulsa County, where we live, we definitely had a concern on this issue. Therefore, it’s my job to bring forth such ideas, if the people of my district are concerned about it.
As a former coach, I would like to mention this: I absolutely do not care where we’re playing. We don’t care where we play because we were going to win, and that’s the mindset they have. I speak only, and exclusively, from a community standpoint. The community has an opinion on this, and I happen to 100 percent agree with them. If I were still coaching for the Rams, I wouldn’t care one bit.
So you’re advocating to play the games at the University of Tulsa, if that’s a viable option?
You have to ask, ‘is this the best we can get?’ and I don’t think the current option is the best we can get. We’ve seen what good looks like, and it was last year, the year before and the year before, when two Tulsa teams make the championship game and we fill up Chapman Stadium. In my opinion, the OSSAA wins unless something crooked is going on over there. Because if we’re doubling the amount of people going to the game, they make more money -- or that’s how I understand it. I don’t understand at all why you wouldn’t let local school districts make the best decision for them. If Idabel and McAlester were playing for a championship, then they need to go play that at Eastern (Southeastern Oklahoma State) in Durant. No sense in making those schools drive to Edmond. There needs to be a way out for those schools to be play, and play where it makes sense for the fanbase and a public safety standpoint.
What are your thoughts on playing the Class 6A championship games in Tulsa during the week that they currently use as a bye week?
Sure, that would be an option. They’ve done the bye week because of the amount of teams in the playoff. Honestly, the whole 6AII thing has been a disaster. It’s handed Bixby a bunch of trophies, and it’s been really messed up for my community and I was still coaching when all of it went down. I was still coaching at Owasso at the time. It’s ridiculous for us to travel to Moore -- to play Southmoore or Moore -- and a team that can’t even fill up the home stands and play on a Thursday night. Like, why are we doing this? Why aren’t we playing Sand Springs or Bixby or Muskogee during the regular season, and then do something different for the playoffs, if necessary?
The initiative to have all the championship games played at one site was pushed by the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, but it’s sounding like not all coaches were onboard with that proposal. How do you think that could have been handled differently?
On how the coaches association makes decisions, I do not know. I hear a lot about Texas, and they like it and that’s fine. From my point of view, if two Houston teams make the championship in any given class, for them to go all the way to Dallas is wrong. I don’t buy into the notion of ‘well, Texas does it this way, so we should do it this way.’ It’s the same way with basketball and the big schools playing in Tulsa. If Edmond and Putnam City are playing in the finals, then that’s the wrong decision. I’m not trying to whine; I’m trying to do what’s best for our kids.
What kind of reception do you think this will get when you present it to committee?
Who knows. On these things, you never know. We have these kinds of battles: Tulsa vs. Oklahoma City or urban vs. rural. I will approach other legislators from a straight forward standpoint and say our local school districts are better off when local school districts are making decisions. We don’t need state-wide entities or state agencies making blanket decisions for everyone. I have 100 percent faith that the Owasso administration, athletic director, superintendent and all of the above -- and same at Jenks -- would make the right decision for their kids. But when we had that responsibility over to a group of people that aren’t in our community, then you don’t get as good of an outcome. That’s the way I see this situation playing out here.
There are some that say the Oklahoma legislature should stay out of high school sports. How do you feel about that?
I absolutely agree, if everything is running properly. The legislature cannot determine how the OSSAA operates within, because it’s an agency with it’s own control. There are three things in the statute that says schools will not be part of an association that does this, this or this. What I’ve done is adding a fourth. All my bill does is add language that school districts would have flexibility to pick their own locations for championship games.
| Ben Johnson
Shawnee is searching for a new head football coach for the first time in almost two decades.
Billy Brown is out after 16 season as the Wolves’ head coach, a source with direct knowledge has told Skordle.
Shawnee was 92-84 in Brown’s tenure and reached the playoffs 10 times.
That included a trip to the 5A semifinals in 2004, Brown’s second year. The Wolves reached the quarterfinals five other seasons.
The production dipped the last two seasons as Shawnee went 2-8 both years and missed the playoffs.
After reaching the playoffs three straight seasons from 2012-14, Shawnee has missed the postseason three of the last five years.
| Michael Swisher
I respect the hell out of the Tulsa World.
Any publication that dedicates the resources it does to high school coverage and employs the likes of Barry Lewis and Mike Brown for those purposes gets more than a tip of the cap from me.
Heck, even its managing editor - Mike Strain - is a one-time preps writer for The Oklahoman who once donned football pads and practiced with the Bray-Doyle Donkeys for a story.
It’s good people.
With that said, I’m going to disagree - quite respectfully - with an editorial the newspaper ran Dec. 2 regarding the state high school football championships.
In case you weren’t aware, the OSSAA announced last month the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium in Edmond would be the host site for all 11-man football title games this year.
Five of those games will be played this weekend, two on Friday and three Saturday, in what will be a long-awaited buffet of football for Oklahoma fans.
Photo by Russell Stitt/www.stitt.smugmug.com
It will be reminiscent of the years when Boone Pickens Stadium was the host for all the title tilts.
However, Wantland might prove an even better atmosphere as the size of the fan bases won’t be engulfed in an oversized stadium.
It’s the OSSAA’s well-played response to public outcry - from coaches, member schools, fans, etc. - to “do it like Texas.”
In the Lone Star State, AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, is the host site for all of its title games. The stadium will host three championship games a day for four straight days beginning Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The attendance for last year’s 12 championship games was 228,105, which was an average of just over 19,000 per game.
Now, Oklahoma isn’t going to touch those numbers.
Population differences alone tell us that.
The fact high school football is a different beast in Texas than anywhere else in the world is another reason.
However, that doesn’t mean Oklahoma can’t strive to at least be “like” Texas.
OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said as much in the press conference announcing the deal with UCO.
“A lot of our members see what goes on in Texas at AT&T (Stadium),” Jackson said. “Where they (the membership) understand we don’t have an AT&T…they still wanted to at least pursue something that might work for us.”
The OSSAA approached UCO, a central location, and the university apparently jumped at the chance to bring in thousands and thousands of fans to its campus over two weekends.
What’s important for this to work is that everyone is on board.
That means no “but if” scenarios.
In some instances when the games were to be played in Stillwater, IF two Tulsa-area teams were matched up against one another, they sometimes met up at Tulsa University’s Chapman Stadium.
That’s not the case this year.
Jackson said the OSSAA’s talks with the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, one of the strongest groups pushing for this, led them to this path.
“One of the positives that went in pursuing this was working with the OFBCA and those are a part of that,” Jackson said. “So when we hear from the OFBCA that ‘we’re interested in that,’ we take that as everyone is interested in that.”
So when Jenks and Owasso play at 8 p.m. Saturday, they, along with their fan bases, will be making the trek down I-44 to Edmond...not the much shorter drive to the Tulsa campus.
The World feels it’s unnecessary.
“The unified, central location makes sense, except when it doesn’t,” the editorial states.
The World’s piece brings up some good points, which you can read for yourself in the link above.
But I feel it misses the point as a whole.
(Ed. note: Michael Swisher is speaking solely for himself in this column. His views don't necessarily represent those of the entire Skordle staff nor would he dare speak for fellow Skordler Ben Johnson who lives in the Tulsa area and might very well be violently shaking his head while reading through this column.)
To build Oklahoma’s state title games into an event in which even the casual fans want to attend, we’ve got to start somewhere.
This is the start.
If that means two Tulsa-area teams need to travel to Edmond to serve the greater good, then so be it.
This is good for football in the state of Oklahoma.
We’ve clamored for this.
It came to a head last year when title games were spread all across the Sooner State and played virtually at the same time, giving nobody a chance to take in multiple games.
Now we can.
It’s our chance to inch closer to the Texas model.
Heck, it’s our chance to inch closer to our own basketball model.
Small schools don’t care who they’re playing if they make it to the Big House in March.
Large schools aim to get to the Mabee Center, which appears to have cemented itself as the long-term site for 5A and 6A.
There wasn’t an uproar when the El Reno and Piedmont girls - representing schools separated by 20 miles in western Oklahoma - met up in Tulsa to decide last year’s 5A roundball champ.
Heck, Norman and Norman North girls met for the 6A state championship. I think they’re fairly close, yet in Tulsa they played.
Hennessey and Rejoice Christian played for the 2A boys gold ball. Stillwater would have been a great location.
But of course not…because The Big House is an experience.
We’ve made it that way over years of tradition building.
That’s why I support the move by the OSSAA, even if it inconveniences a few of our larger brethren.
This is a step in the right direction for fans, for football, for Oklahoma.
I hope we keep moving in this direction for years to come.
| Ben Johnson
Michael Marin (Barnsdall) - Senior tailback rushed for 284 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in the Panthers’ 29-26 win over Gore in the second round of the Class A playoffs.
Connor Johnson (Lincoln Christian) - Senior tight end had nine receptions for 220 yards and three TDs, and he had 3 interceptions on defense, including one for a TD in the Bulldogs’ 55-14 win over Kingfisher in the 3A quarterfinals.
Blake Skidgel (Pawnee) - Junior quarterback rushed 22 times for 231 yards and four touchdowns, and he also added three two-point conversions (two throwing, one rushing) in the Black Bears’ 44-21 victory over Wayne in the second round of the Class A playoffs.
Lance Spaulding (Washington) - Senior running back totaled 262 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries in the Warriors’ 17-14 victory over Holland Hall in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Dylan Hampton (Piedmont) - Senior quarterback accounted for 212 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, and he added 129 yards and three touchdowns while completing 3 of 5 passes in the Wildcats’ 62-21 victory over Coweta in the 5A quarterfinals.
Toby Willis (Verdigris) - Senior wide receiver hauled in seven catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 42-28 victory over Perkins-Tryon in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Braylin Presley (Bixby) - Sophomore tailback logged 211 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries in the Spartans’ 47-19 win over Del City in the Class 6AII semifinals.
Cole Dugger (Owasso) - Senior quarterback completed 19 of 24 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns in the Rams’ 42-27 victory over Broken Arrow in the Class 6AI semifinals.
Trey Gause - 16 tackles and a school-record six sacks on defense
Bryce Drummond - 22/33 passing, 351 yards, 2 TDs + 18 rushes, 41 yards, 2 TDs
Kendal Daniels - 9 receptions, 114 yards, 1 TD // 10 tackles on defense
Ben Harris - 18/23 passing, 300 yards, 3 TDs
Nate Anderson - 20 rushes, 216 yards, 5 TDs // 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and an INT on defense
Owen Heinecke - 13 rushes, 136 yards // 5 tackles and an INT on defense
Bryce Carter - 13 rushes, 167 yards, 1 TD // 6 tackles and a sack on defense
Nate Ratcliff - 8/15 passing, 240 yards, 2 TDs
Blaze Munoz - 4 receptions, 126 yards, 2 TDs // 6 tackles (1 for loss) on defense
Asher Link - 14/30 passing, 393 yards, 6 TDs + 23 yards rushing
Javyn Wright - 2/3 passing, 64 yards, 1 TD + 8 rushes, 64 yards, 1 TD // 2 INTs on defense
Qwontrel Walker - 31 rushes, 256 yards, 5 TDs
Kobe Holley - 3 INTs on defense
Jadyn Frazier - 200 yards and 3 receiving TDs
Brock Parham - 12 rushes, 108 yards, 1 TD
Dylan White - 16/22 passing, 384 yards, 4 TDs
Justin Murphy - 6 receptions, 172 yards, 1 TD
Gavin Freeman - 4 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD // 12 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 46-yard fumble recovery and return for TD
Mason Barcheers - 162 yards rushing, 2 TDs
Kagan Stockton - 12 tackles
| Ben Johnson
GLENPOOL -- When Glenpool starts the 2020 season, the Warriors will have a new head coach for the first time since the mid 90s.
On Thursday, Steve Edwards told Skordle he’s stepping down as the Warriors’ head coach after a 24-year run.
“Been going up and down the sidelines for 35 years,” he said. “It’s time to take a break.”
After serving as an assistant coach in Hominy, Edwards took over at Glenpool in 1996 and led the Warriors to the most successful years in the program’s history.
Glenpool had won only one district championship before Edwards arrived, and he now departs with eight district titles and two state championships (2002 and 2008).
“Through those 24 years at Glenpool, it’s been a really good run,” Edwards said. “Class 4A was good to us for a while.”
Edwards enjoyed a vast amount of success after his father questioned his profession a long time ago.
“I remember my dad asking why I wanted to be a football coach and having to move everywhere,” Edwards recalled. “But that wasn’t the case for me because I’ve ended up being at Glenpool for a long time.”
During his 24-year run at Glenpool, Edwards went 167-109, including a 2-8 season in 2019 to close the book on his tenure with the Warriors.
“Since 1996, we’ve followed the same coaching mantra, ‘make better players, not better plays,’” Edwards said. “It’s been so much more than developing good football players. We’ve always wanted to make sure the young boys turn into great men.”
As for Edwards, he’ll still be in Glenpool as the Warriors’ assistant athletic director. It will allow him more time to watch his sons, Gus and Michael, play football and wrestle.
“I want to sit back and watch them,” Edwards said. “Both have really promising futures in both football and wrestling, I want to be able to watch them.”
And what about coaching? Edwards wouldn’t totally close the book on a return in the future.
“If I still have a hankering to get back into it,” he said, “hopefully I’ll be able to do that.”
Steve Edwards’ career
Seasons: 24 (all as Glenpool head coach)
District titles: 8
State titles: 2
| Michael Swisher
For years and years, Burlington basketball players ran up and down the court at the demand of a man named Randy Turney.
From now on, they’ll be running all over that name.
The Burlington Public Schools gym now is home to “Randy Turney Court,” a fact that will be cemented - or floored - during a ceremony Friday night when the Elks basketball teams host Buffalo.
“It’s definitely an honor,” said Turney. “I don’t really know if I deserve this or not.”
Just about everyone else disagrees.
“If there was one person who should have the Burlington court named after them, it’s 1,000 percent him,” said Garrett Butler, one of the dozens of former players who supported the measure to name the court in his honor.
“Nobody has done more for Burlington, especially for athletics and probably for the entire school, than him.”
Nestled just a few miles south of Kansas in northwest Oklahoma, Burlington became the third stop in Turney’s hall of fame coaching career in 1982.
He started out at Drummond in 1977 and won 57 games in three years before claiming 37 victories in two years at Dover.
The next 10 years were spent coaching the Elks as he guided them to a 213-74 record and reached state four times.
The 1990 Burlington Elks finished as the Class B runner-up.
“I’d say that was the highlight of his first tenure at Burlington, but my sister and I were both born during that time, so it was a close second,” said Tasha Turney Diesselhorst, now the women’s coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, when addressing the board of education earlier this fall.
Making much of that career trek with Turney was Joe Feely, a hall of famer in his own right on the girls side of the sport.