Lawton, OK 73507
Record: 1-3 | Unranked
|vs Altus||Missing Score|
|vs Bishop McGuinness||L||34-56|
|@ Western Heights||10/2|
|vs Carl Albert||11/6|
| 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org - Have a question you want answered on the podcast? Email us & we'll talk about it on the next show.
Girls Basketball | | Jacob Unruh | NewsOK
Putnam West star Ce’Nara Skanes led the Patriots to a Class 6A state runner-up finish and now she’s the top player in the Big 10 Conference. Skanes was named the All-Conference Player of the Year this week by coaches. She is a Florida International signee.
Girls Basketball | | Kevin Green | The Lawton Constitution
Nothing could stop the Eisenhower girls on Friday night, and everyone got in on the action during the first round of the Class 5A West Regional.
Eleven players recorded points, pacing the Lady Eagles to a dominant, 79-29, win over Northwest Classen at the Eagles' Nest. The victory extended Ike's winning streak to four games, putting them in the championship game scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Monday on Ike's home court.
Ike coach Daniel Wall said he and the assistant coaches implemented the theme of "being a family" before the game, and the Lady Eagles displayed that mindset through their seemingly flawless play.
| Michael Swisher
It was halftime of one of the most anticipated Class A matchups of this young football season.
Top-ranked Cashion and third-ranked Thomas featured some of the state’s best talent and physical specimens and were embroiled in a battle that saw them separated by just seven points at the game’s midway point.
The teams were exiting the field on the west end and headed for their respective locker rooms.
Cashion assistant Cale Cochran was in the throng of players and coaches marching up the incline when he heard someone shout out “Coach!”
“Coach!” the voice rang again. “Hold up!”
Cochran turned around and saw the Terriers’ big No. 71 running right toward him.
It was Aden Kelley.
“He was THE baddest dude on the field,” Cochran said of Kelley.
And the baddest dude on the field had Cochran in his sights and nobody was going to be able to stop him.
• • •
July 2 was supposed to be the greatest day of Cale Cochran’s life.
It was then that his wife, Jacie, gave birth to their firstborn, Jaxon Jay.
However, complications after the baby’s birth led to Jacie’s unexpected and tragic death at the age of 26.
It left Cochran without a wife and Jaxon without a mother.
The outpouring of support since that day has been tremendous.
Both Cashion and Washington – Jacie’s hometown – erected memorials in her honor.
There have been fundraisers and numerous other showings of comfort from both communities.
Cochran gets help with the baby from his family around Cashion as well as Jacie’s parents in Washington.
Still, times aren’t easy.
“One of the toughest things is being at home,” Cochran said. “That’s where we were all going to build our memories together.”
One of the best breaks from reality for Cochran is coaching football.
“Football is my smokescreen,” he said. “I can go out on the field and not think about things for a few hours.”
That’s what Cochran was doing last Friday night.
His Cashion Wildcats got on top of Thomas 14-0 early, but the Terriers had cut their deficit in half and had a modicum of momentum headed into halftime.
Cochran was contemplating the myriad of adjustments that could be made in preparation for the second half when he heard that voice behind him.
• • •
Aden Kelley is no ordinary 18-year-old kid.
He’s a 6-foot-3, 285- pound monster on the field.
Kelley plays right tackle and defensive end for Thomas and his rare combination of size, ability and athleticism garnered him 21 Division I football offers.
247 Sports has him rated as a four-star prospect and the fourth-best recruit in Oklahoma in the Class of 2021.
In July, Kelley committed to play at Oklahoma State University.
He’d just spent 24 football minutes in the trenches trying to clear paths for his running backs and quarterback on one side of the ball while being double- and triple-teamed on the defensive side.
With his entire face covered in eye black and sweat soaking his uniform, Kelley was also headed to his locker room.
However, he wasn’t thinking about adjustments.
When he realized Cale Cochran was in front of him, all he thought about was getting his arms wrapped around him.
Kelley was aware that Cochran’s world had been shattered nearly three months ago.
“I remember back when it happened,” Kelley said. “I was heartbroken about it.”
Thomas was off the week before when Cashion played at Minco, but Kelley was among the Terrier contingent who went to scout the Wildcats.
“I wasn’t real sure what he looked like, but he walked by us and someone said that was him,” Kelley recalled. “I didn’t say anything to him then and it frustrated me all week.”
So when Kelley looked ahead of him and saw Cochran pacing toward the locker room, he wasn’t going to let another opportunity pass.
“I had no intentions on making it a point to find him,” Kelley said. “Of course, you want to say something, but you don’t know if it’s going to work out.”
Kelly shouted out: “Coach! Coach! Hold up!”
Cochran turned around and Kelley charged toward him.
“He ran up to me and gave me a huge hug,” Cochran said.
“He told me that I have a beautiful baby boy and prays for me everyday.”
Simply put, Cochran was blown away.
“It was surprising,” he said. “I didn’t know what he was going to say to me.”
To Kelley, it was just the right thing to do.
“There’s more to life than what I was going in to listen to at halftime,” Kelley said.
“The fact is, that man is hurting. He’s hurting bad and I wanted to do what I could to make him feel better.”
Initially, it had the reverse effect.
Football was supposed to be Cochran’s escape. Kelley’s gesture momentarily took him out of that.
“It was one of those things that reminded me again that she’s not here anymore,” Cochran said. “I went inside the locker room and couldn’t think about football anymore.
“It was hard to leave the locker room. It was probably the first time since I’ve been coaching football where football became very small to me.”
As halftime came to an end, Cashion head coach Lynn Shackelford and assistant D.L. Robertson told Cochran it was time to head back out.
“Something came over me and I got up and went out there and coached,” Cochran said. “It took a couple of minutes into the half for me to get back into football mode.”
Cashion eventually won the game 28-7 as the Wildcats pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“Man they’re a great team,” Kelley said. “That was such a great test for us and I just hope we get a chance to do it again in the playoffs.”
Cochran later had the time to truly let it soak in what Kelley had done in the heat of battle.
“There’s an 18-year-old kid going through a big game and he had the gumption to come up and say that to me.
“That shows the kind of kid he is.”
“Absolutely he is,” said Rob Friesen, the first-year Thomas superintendent who spent the previous seven years as superintendent at Okarche.
“He is as good as they get.”
Cochran chronicled the interaction the next day on social media.
“Although it hit me pretty hard where I was reminded yet again that I’ll never see her again…I was absolutely impressed with this young kid’s actions. I have always heard how great of a kid he is, but I sure am thankful he came up and said those nice words. He is an 18-year-old kid who was brought up to respect and support people going through a hard time,” Cochran wrote.
The Facebook and Twitter posts received tons of interactions.
“It’s cool to see how you reach and touch people like that,” Kelley said. “I didn’t want it to blow up. I was just trying to do the right thing.”
The right thing meant a lot to Cochran.
“It was a reminder that she’s not here, but also a nice reminder that people are thinking of me,” he said.
Life went on for Kelley this week and it’s a busy one.
On Thursday alone he had school, football practice, a team meal, an FFA meeting (he’s the chapter’s vice president) and then he helped his classmates work on their homecoming parade float.
Although his actions on Sept. 14 will stick with people for a long time, he didn’t feel it was out of the ordinary.
“There’s a bigger picture,” he said. “The good Lord has a plan for us all and I believe you have to stick to that.
“And I just wanted (Coach Cochran) to know he had my support.”
| Michael Swisher
By John Hardaway - Missing the State Fair
Someplace I like to eat - State Fair of Oklahoma
Sadly, there was no State Fair this year.
That means no annual food gorging pilgrimages for thousands of Oklahomans to indulge in all things deep fried, smoked, on a stick, and low carb/low calorie.
In honor of this sacred rite of passage for so many, here is the State Fair food blog from last year.
Enjoy and remember the good times!
And, like so many things, hopefully the State Fair is back in 2021.
Someplace to eat if going to Game of the Week…Flamingo
Check out the food blog post from last year that covered the Flamingo Lounge in Enid.
If you’re going to ANY game in Enid, that’s where you need to go…and there should be plenty of you in town.
We have our Game of the Week as undefeated Crescent is visiting Oklahoma Bible Academy.
However, Jenks will be in town to play Enid and Chisholm is hosting Oklahoma Christian School fans.
So all of you Crescent, Jenks and Edmond folks are strongly encouraged to stop by the Flamingo. You won’t be disappointed.
Something to make at home this Week - Camp Potatoes
This is one of the best potato casserole recipes of all time and, ironically, maybe the easiest to make.
Mrs. Debbie Weckstein, wife of Frontier boys basketball coach Bob Weckstein, gets the credit for this classic with what she calls “Sinful Potatoes.”
She has been making massive pans of this for as long as I can remember for the coaches at Frontier Team Camp.
I asked her for the recipe several years ago and I have probably made it 1,000 times since and it never disappoints.
My absolute favorite part of Camp Potatoes is the slightly burnt crispy corners/edge, but let’s be honest, all of it is really good.
I love it alongside a great steak or with BBQ (shocker, I know).