Sapulpa, OK 74066
Record: 7-4 | Rank: 7
|@ Midwest City||L||56-35|
|vs Ponca City||W||48-24|
|@ Sand Springs||L||48-34|
|vs Booker T Washington||L||3-20|
|@ East Central||W||12-49|
|vs Edison Prep||W||34-13|
| Ben Johnson
Bixby has been stingy when it comes to hoarding football championships. The Spartans have won four of the past five Class 6AII championships, and don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon.
What Bixby hasn’t claimed often since the turn of the century has been wrestling titles. Nic Roller’s individual championship at 220 pounds in 2016 has been the Spartans’ only crown since 1998.
But freshman Zach Blankenship is out to change all of that.
At 120 pounds, Bixby’s wrestling phenom is 24-0, and that includes four tournament championships to his credit so far.
“I didn’t really think I’d be having the season I am now,” Blankenship said. “I’m just thankful that I’ve been having this much success.”
Bixby came up short in its pursuit of the District 6A-7 crown on Tuesday night with a loss to Jenks, but Blankenship posted two victories and collected another one by forfeit. Those came only days after winning the Jerry Billings Invitational at Sapulpa, where he won by fall at 1:43 in the 120 finals against Collinsville’s Rocky Stephens, a 5A state champion at 113 last season.
“Zach has risen to the occasion and made a name for himself in the high school realm,” Bixby coach Brock Moore said. “He goes hard every second of every match and makes good things happen. He wants to wrestle the best guys he can. He’s fun to watch and coach.”
To reach the finals in Sapulpa, Blankenship won by fall against Sand Springs’ Riley Weir, who won last year’s 113 championship in 6A.
“His most impressive win so far might’ve been at Sapulpa, where he beat two-time state champion Riley Weir,” Moore said. “And that’s saying a lot for someone who has 21 wins by fall this season.”
Blankenship started the 2019 calendar year by winning the Larry Wilkey Invitational at Jenks. He knocked off Stillwater’s Cade Nicholas 4-2 in the finals.
“As a freshman, he has won four tournaments and has also been named the most outstanding wrestler at each of those tournaments, too,” Moore said. “I haven’t ever seen or known of another freshman to do that.”
Announcing his presence at the varsity level, Blankenship won the 120-pound division at the Perry Tournament of Champions in December. He cruised through the entire field with all of his victories by fall, including pinning Edmond Memorial’s Garrett Johnson at 3:32 for the 120 crown.
Not bad for someone who was wrestling among the junior high ranks not too long ago.
“The biggest difference between varsity and junior high has been the kids I’ve had to wrestle,” Blankenship said. “In junior high, the kids I had to wrestle were usually my age and size. In varsity, I’ve had to wrestle a lot older and bigger kids, which has made it a lot tougher.
“I’m just fortunate to have great coaches and parents who help me get better every tournament.”
‘Wrestleback’ Wildcats win Carl Albert tourney
It was Skiatook, Duncan, Piedmont and Altus vying for the Malcolm Wade Invitational crown at Carl Albert on Saturday, and with a quick glance it doesn’t appear as though Piedmont fared well. But on the contrary, Piedmont managed to claim the team title with only one individual champion.
The Wildcats, led by Josh Heindselman’s triumph at 285, finished with 242.5 points and won the tournament title. Skiatook (226) and Duncan (219) rounded out the top three.
“We were excited to win it,” Piedmont coach Erik Ford said. “We knew we had a chance going into the tournament. On Saturday, it was really exciting to see our guys score a lot of bonus points and really wrestle well on the backside of the bracket to give us the push that we needed.”
In the final match of the tournament, Heindselman recorded a pin at 2:37 against Lawton MacArthur’s Montana Phillips, who won last year’s 5A championship at heavyweight.
“Josh has been really impressive,” Ford said of the University of Oklahoma signee. “He weighs about 225 right now, so he is really wrestling up a weight. He has found another level as far as his movement and attacks go. His pressure and constant attacking has been the most impressive part about his wrestling this year. It has really allowed him to negate some of the size that he is giving up against heavyweights.”
Piedmont finished the tournament with 10 wrestlers recording top-six finishes. Tabor McLure (138) and Landis Scoon (152) both came in second place, and Mitchell Lance (132), Braden Culp (170) and Austin Cooley all posted third-place finishes atop the consolation bracket.
“Our guys learned that they can wrestle with some of the top 5A teams in the state,” Ford said. “…Our guys understand that winning the Carl Albert tournament is huge for our program, but they also know that our end-of-season goals as individuals and as a team are what we have been working for all year. And we’ll continue to work on those going forward.”
Other wrestling notes
- Edmond North picked up 194.5 points and won the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference (COAC) Tournament title on Saturday. Mustang was second at 191.
- Tuttle cruised to the Greg Henning Invitational crown on Saturday with 362 points.
Prep hoops notes
- There’s a new No. 1 in Class 6A boys after Edmond Memorial beat Edmond Santa Fe 56-42 in the championship game of the Bishop McGuinness Classic. Edmond Memorial was ranked fifth Saturday and moved up to 6A’s top spot, while Edmond Santa Fe dropped from No. 1 to third. Booker T. Washington is second in between the two.
- Crushing the field in the Putnam City West Invitational wasn’t enough to move Heritage Hall (14-0) to the top of the 4A coaches’ poll. The Chargers are still second behind top-ranked Kingfisher (11-1). Heritage Hall’s Trey Alexander scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Chargers’ win over PC West in the finals.
- It's a big week for the state's two smallest classes as playoff assignments will be released Friday by the OSSAA (as if 95 percent of the coaches don't already know, through the grapevine, where they're headed). We're told David Glover, who makes the assignments for 4A and below, was about 99 percent finished with the assignments early this week. A committee meeting was held Wednesday, which generally leads to a few tweaks. Most of those are host sites, although sometimes teams are moved to different regionals or areas as a result of those meetings. No doubt a lot of people will be up in arms once the assignments are released, but that happens every year. What it does signify is that the playoffs are near and we all love that part of the season.
- One of those small school teams got a big boost during the holiday break. The Duke boys, already undefeated and ranked second in Class B, added Jameson Richardson to the roster at the beginning of this semester. Richardson, a 6-foot-8 junior forward with a load of versatility, transferred from his hometown of Mangum. He averaged right around 20 points and was a solid rebounder and rim protector for Mangum in his eight games prior to the move. Duke was already manhandling most opponents before his arrival, but hasn't been played closer than 18 points (61-43 over Granite last week) since his arrival.
- Next week is the biggest tournament week of the basketball season and it will be loaded with top matchups. However, a couple of No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdowns already took place during girls championship games during last week's slate. In Class 2A, top-ranked Dale held off No. 2 Howe 65-55 at the Kingston New Year's Classic. Howe's Jalei Oglesby was "held" to 31 points. "She missed a few shots and eventually fouled out or she would have had more," said first-year Dale coach Eric Smith, who led Alva to a pair of titles and got Frontier to last year's Class A title game. "She is unbelievable." Dale, led by Lacey Savage's 18 points, improved to 14-1 with the victory, which very well could have been a state championship preview. Down in Class B, No. 1 Hammon defended its Warrior Classic championship by earning a 50-44 come-from-behind win over No. 2 Lomega. Last year, Hammon was No. 2 when it beat No. 1 Lomega in the finals and it carried that momentum to a state championship. This time around, Hammon had to outscore its guests by seven in the second half to win. Five different Lady Warriors scored at least six points, led by 13 from Halee Morris. Kenedie Walker scored seven of her 10 in the fourth quarter. Lomega got 14 points each from Mady Meier and Courtney Fox.
| Ben Johnson
All hail Randy Turney and his picking skills. He made it look easy while beating the snot out of Swisher, Whitt and myself. He spent 11 weeks picking games and gradually putting all of us away -- well, most of us. Swisher might have an outside shot of catching him. We'll see how it plays out. Me, on the other hand, I have to face the music and wave the white flag. Picking for pride now!
Week 10 picks - Coach Turney 19-7 | Whitt 19-7 | Swisher 18-8 | Ben 13-13
Overall - Turney 158-52 | Swisher 151-59 | Whitt 148-58 | Ben 140-70
Now I present picks for the first round of the playoffs:
Norman at Owasso
Michael Swisher: Owasso 38, Norman 24
Ben Johnson: Owasso 33, Norman 31
Whitt Carter: Owasso 34, Norman 24
Randy Turney: Owasso 28, Norman 7
Edmond Santa Fe at Union
Michael Swisher: Union 31, Edmond Santa Fe 21
Ben Johnson: Union 31, Edmond Santa Fe 13
Whitt Carter: Union 37, Edmond Santa Fe 13
Randy Turney: Union 32, Edmond Santa Fe 14
Del City at Booker T. Washington
Michael Swisher: Del City 33, Booker T. Washington 20
Ben Johnson: Del City 23, Booker T. Washington 19
Whitt Carter: Del City 27, Booker T. Washington 21
Randy Turney: Booker T. Washington 21, Del City 20
Lawton at Bixby
Michael Swisher: Bixby 28, Lawton 13
Ben Johnson: Bixby 28, Lawton 7
Whitt Carter: Bixby 41, Lawton 21
Randy Turney: Bixby 42, Lawton 20
Sapulpa at Midwest City
Michael Swisher: Midwest City 39, Sapulpa 24
Ben Johnson: Midwest City 36, Sapulpa 20
Whitt Carter: Midwest City 35, Sapulpa 14
Randy Turney: Midwest City 42, Sapulpa 7
Altus at Bishop McGuinness
Michael Swisher: Bishop McGuinness 28, Altus 14
Ben Johnson: Bishop McGuinness 24, Altus 16
Whitt Carter: Bishop McGuinness 37, Altus 24
Randy Turney: Bishop McGuinness 24, Altus 14
Guthrie at Duncan
Michael Swisher: Duncan 14, Guthrie 12
Ben Johnson: Duncan 20, Guthrie 13
Whitt Carter: Duncan 28, Guthrie 27
Randy Turney: Guthrie 21, Duncan 14
Claremore at Edison
Michael Swisher: Edison 24, Claremore 22
Ben Johnson: Claremore 29, Edison 23
Whitt Carter: Edison 34, Claremore 28
Randy Turney: Claremore 23, Edison 21
Coweta at Tahlequah
Michael Swisher: Tahlequah 27, Coweta 23
Ben Johnson: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 27
Whitt Carter: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 21
Randy Turney: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 16
Hilldale at Bristow
Michael Swisher: Bristow 38, Hilldale 30
Ben Johnson: Bristow 29, Hilldale 18
Whitt Carter: Bristow 37, Hilldale 31
Randy Turney: Bristow 42, Hilldale 10
Catoosa at Broken Bow
Michael Swisher: Broken Bow 30, Catoosa 12
Ben Johnson: Broken Bow 20, Catoosa 10
Whitt Carter: Catoosa 27, Broken Bow 24
Randy Turney: Broken Bow 38, Catoosa 20
Blanchard at Cache
Michael Swisher: Blanchard 31, Cache 30
Ben Johnson: Cache 37, Blanchard 32
Whitt Carter: Cache 21, Blanchard 20
Randy Turney: Blanchard 32, Cache 14
Seminole at Berryhill
Michael Swisher: Berryhill 28, Seminole 20
Ben Johnson: Berryhill 36, Seminole 27
Whitt Carter: Seminole 37, Berryhill 35
Randy Turney: Berryhill 28, Seminole 14
Stigler at Locust Grove
Michael Swisher: Locust Grove 19, Stigler 16
Ben Johnson: Locust Grove 23, Stigler 22
Whitt Carter: Stigler 28, Locust Grove 26
Randy Turney: Locust Grove 24, Stigler 16
John Marshall at Plainview
Michael Swisher: John Marshall 22, Plainview 20
Ben Johnson: John Marshall 30, Plainview 26
Whitt Carter: Plainview 35, John Marshall 31
Randy Turney: John Marshall 27, Plainview 20
Victory Christian at Metro Christian
Michael Swisher: Victory Christian 30, Metro Christian 24
Ben Johnson: Metro Christian 42, Victory Christian 27
Whitt Carter: Metro Christian 34, Victory Christian 21
Randy Turney: Metro Christian 30, Victory Christian 24
Kellyville at Perry
Michael Swisher: Perry 24, Kellyville 21
Ben Johnson: Perry 24, Kellyville 17
Whitt Carter: Perry 27, Kellyville 20
Randy Turney: Perry 34, Kellyville 20
Spiro at Eufaula
Michael Swisher: Eufaula 20, Spiro 19
Ben Johnson: Eufaula 32, Spiro 22
Whitt Carter: Spiro 21, Eufaula 18
Randy Turney: Eufaula 24, Spiro 23
Okemah at Oklahoma Christian School
Michael Swisher: OCS 38, Okemah 20
Ben Johnson: OCS 43, Okemah 32
Whitt Carter: OCS 35, Okemah 28
Randy Turney: OCS 34, Okemah 21
Chisholm at Meeker
Michael Swisher: Meeker 30, Chisholm 28
Ben Johnson: Meeker 31, Chisholm 19
Whitt Carter: Chisholm 24, Meeker 20
Randy Turney: Meeker 32, Chisholm 14
Christian Heritage at Ringling
Michael Swisher: Ringlng 30, Christian Heritage 22
Ben Johnson: Ringlng 26, Christian Heritage 21
Whitt Carter: Ringling 31, Christian Heritage 28
Randy Turney: Ringling 28, Christian Heritage 7
Thomas at Frederick
Michael Swisher: Frederick 24, Thomas 14
Ben Johnson: Thomas 26, Frederick 22
Whitt Carter: Thomas 37, Frederick 24
Randy Turney: Thomas 14, Frederick 13
Central Sallisaw at Wayne
Michael Swisher: Central Sallisaw 34, Wayne 32
Ben Johnson: Wayne 33, Central Sallisaw 27
Whitt Carter: Wayne 42, Central Sallisaw 38
Randy Turney: Wayne 28, Central Sallisaw 18
Wynnewood at Gore
Michael Swisher: Gore 31, Wynnewood 28
Ben Johnson: Wynnewood 34, Gore 31
Whitt Carter: Gore 35, Wynnewood 31
Randy Turney: Wynnewood 20, Gore 18
Yale at Foyil
Michael Swisher: Foyil 30, Yale 22
Ben Johnson: Yale 44, Foyil 29
Whitt Carter: Yale 44, Foyil 36
Randy Turney: Yale 42, Foyil 12
Pioneer at Seiling
Michael Swisher: Seiling 24, Pioneer 21
Ben Johnson: Pioneer 45, Seiling 19
Whitt Carter: Seiling 42, Pioneer 40
Randy Turney: Pioneer 27, Seiling 22
Covington-Douglas at Paoli
Michael Swisher: Paoli 38, Covington-Douglas 28
Ben Johnson: Paoli 39, Covington-Douglas 28
Whitt Carter: Paoli 42, Covington-Douglas 32
Randy Turney: Paoli 34, Covington-Douglas 22
Medford at Graham-Dustin
Michael Swisher: Graham-Dustin 50, Medford 33
Ben Johnson: Graham-Dustin 49, Medford 32
Whitt Carter: Graham-Dustin 38, Medford 34
Randy Turney: Medford 34, Graham-Dustin 20
Tyrone at Fox
Michael Swisher: Tyrone 40, Fox 35
Ben Johnson: Tyrone 38, Fox 37
Whitt Carter: Fox 46, Tyrone 38
Randy Turney: Tyrone 38, Fox 20
Midway at Coyle
Michael Swisher: Coyle 39, Midway 30
Ben Johnson: Coyle 55, Midway 22
Whitt Carter: Coyle 36, Midway 30
Randy Turney: Coyle 48, Midway 12
Let us know what you think. Tweet your predictions to us at @Skordle.
| Ben Johnson
Players to watch
- Miles Davis (Lawton): Win or lose, there has been a constant for Lawton this season and it's been Davis' playmaking ability on the ground. The senior tailback has piled up 1,911 yards and 20 touchdowns on 280 carries.
- Qwontrel Walker (Stillwater): Part of the three-headed monster for the Pioneers on offense. The sophomore tailback has churned one monster game after another this season, including last week's 268-yard, four-touchdown effort in a win over Del City.
- Jeff Foreman (Del City): Senior wideout has hauled in 61 catches for 1,167 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Eagles this season.
- Thomas Grayson (Booke T. Washngton): With the Hornets' passing game struggling at times, Booker T. Washington could turn to Grayson to shoulder the load on the ground. With his recruitment reopened, some monster games in the playoffs could coincide with some high-level offers.
- Mason Williams (Bixby): Staton King graduated and the questions were whether the Spartans could find reliable quarterbacking help. They did so and then some. Williams has burst onto the scene, completing 166 of 246 passes for 30 touchdowns.
- Eli Williams (Sapulpa): Dual-threat quarterback has the Chieftains back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
- Preston Colbert (Midwest City): Bombers' quarterback has passed for 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. And out of 219 pass attempts, only three have turned into interceptions.
Don't overlook... Stillwater
Sounds silly to say not to overlook the No. 1 team in Class 6AII, but this class if full of premier individual talent. Stillwater has plenty of it, but no one to the level of Booker T. Washington's Dax Hill or Midwest City's Preston Colbert. What the Pioneers do have is Gunnar Gundy at quarterback, Qwontrel Walker at tailback and Anthony Bland at wide receiver. And we should create a subcategory here saying not to overlook Stillwater's defense, which has been stout enough to keep the Pioneers unbeaten through a rigorous 6AII-1 slate.
Favorite (potential) matchup - Bixby vs. Midwest City
A high-powered offense (Midwest City) against a shutdown defense (Bixby). Sign me up. The Spartans' defense going against Preston Colbert and his dynamic offense would be one heckuva show. Of course, a Stillwater-Del City rematch or Stillwater-Booker T. Washington game on the other side of the bracket wouldn't be bad either.
How do other high school coaches see the 6AII postseason playing out? We asked and they made their predictions (after being granted anonymity, of course).
Coach One: "I think Bixby will be the only team from the east to win (in the quarterfinals). They should win it all. They have a lot of depth and are very well coached. Their outside linebackers are as good as I've seen. The team as a whole is very talented and disciplined."
Coach Two: "My winner is Bixby. Most complete team. Was very young at the beginning of the year, and now they are playing like an experienced team."
Michael Swisher: Bixby over Stillwater - While Stillwater has - rightfully - received a lot of attention for its 10-0 season, Bixby has quietly, at least on this side of the state, racked up a 9-1 record. Now that it’s playoff time, the Spartans will make all the noise. Stillwater can hurt you in multiple ways and its ground game is a great formula for success in the postseason, but Bixby will find a way. It’s the 6A-II playoffs. It’s just what Bixby does. The Spartans have given up more than seven points once in their last eight games. They’ll find a way to frustrate Stillwater and score just enough points to win the class they own yet again.
Ben Johnson: Bixby over Stillwater - Much like Class 6AI, the semifinals in this class will be off the charts. Stillwater, should it reach the semifinals, will have its hands full with either Del City or Booker T. Washington. Meanwhile, Bixby would have to overcome Lawton's Miles Davis in the quarterfinals and then Midwest City's slew of talent in the semifinals. But the Spartans are good enough to overcome all of that with Mason Williams at quarterback, Braylin Presley at running back and a host of wide receivers, including Cade Cavender and Brennan Presley. And that Sparans defense, yowza. Oh, should also mention that Braylin Presley is a freshman for the Spartans, so have fun with him for three more years, other 6AII teams.
Whitt Carter: Bixby over Stillwater - Some wondered if Bixby would continue their reign on 6A-2, but the Spartans picked right up where they left off and are one of the favorites heading into the playoffs. Bixby is 9-1 and has played for the 6A-2 state title all four years since the inception of the class in 2014. Mason Williams has thrown for 30 touchdowns and 2,621 yards on the year to go with the usual stellar Bixby defense, allowing just over 10 points per game. Stillwater, on the other hand, has been arguably the state's biggest surprise this season. The Pioneers are loaded with offensive talent, led by star running back Qwontrel Walker and rock-solid quarterback Gunnar Gundy. I think this is the matchup everyone wants to see, but this class is loaded. It should be a fun few weeks no matter who plays for the title, but I'll take Bixby to win its' fourth state championship in five years.
| Ben Johnson
Here's the top 10 in each class heading into Week 10
1. Broken Arrow (1) - 9-0
2. Jenks (2) - 8-1
3. Union (3) - 7-2
4. Edmond Santa Fe (4) - 7-2
5. Putnam City North (6) - 8-1
6. Moore (8) - 5-4
7. Owasso (5) - 5-4
8. Yukon (9) - 5-4
9. Norman (10) - 5-4
10. Westmoore (7) - 5-4
1. Stillwater (1) - 9-0
2. Bixby (2) - 8-1
3. Midwest City (4) - 7-2
4. Del City (5) - 7-2
5. Booker T. Washington (6) - 6-3
6. Lawton (4) - 5-4
7. Muskogee (8) - 6-3
8. Sapulpa (7) - 6-3
9. Choctaw (9) - 4-5
10. Sand Springs (NR) - 3-6
1. Carl Albert (1) - 9-0
2. Ardmore (2) - 9-0
3. Collinsville (3) - 9-0
4. Bishop McGuinness (4) - 8-1
5. Altus (5) - 8-1
6. Bishop Kelley (8) - 7-2
7. Tahlequah (8) - 8-1
8. Guthrie (6) - 7-2
9. Claremore (9) - 6-3
10. Duncan (10) - 8-1
1. Poteau (1) - 9-0
2. Tuttle (2) - 9-0
3. Wagoner (5) - 8-1
4. Blanchard (3) - 7-2
5. Bristow (4) - 8-1
6. Bethany (6) - 8-1
7. Broken Bow (8) - 7-2
8. Hilldale (9) - 8-1
9. Catoosa (8) - 7-2
10. Clinton (10) - 8-1
1. Heritage Hall (1) - 8-1
2. Berryhill (2) - 9-0
3. John Marshall (3) - 8-1
4. Sulphur (4) - 8-1
5. Lincoln Christian (5) - 8-1
6. Plainview (6) - 7-2
7. Kingfisher (7) - 6-3
8. Seminole (8) - 7-2
9. Stigler (10) - 7-2
10. Locust Grove (NR) - 7-2
1. Millwood (1) - 9-0<