Woodward, OK 73801
Record: 5-6 | Unranked
|vs Elk City||W||28-20|
|vs Bishop McGuinness||L||20-56|
|@ Northwest Classen||W||14-49|
|vs Carl Albert||L||14-49|
|vs Piedmont||Missing Score|
OSSAA 1st Round at Noble HS
| Ben Johnson
Whitt and I have reached red-alert status for this season. If we're not careful, we may be stripped of our picking duties. Either that, or our picks will be distributed for pure comedy.
Week 4 picks - Swisher 15-3 | Coach Turney 16-2 | Whitt 15-3 | Ben 13-5
Overall - Swisher 66-25 | Turney 64-27 | Ben 57-34 | Whitt 57-34
My apologies in advance to the teams I pick below:
Midwest City at Stillwater
Michael Swisher: Stillwater 28, Midwest City 17
Ben Johnson: Stillwater 37, Midwest City 32
Whitt Carter: Stillwater 34, Midwest City 27
Randy Turney: Stillwater 34, Midwest City 20
Heritage Hall at John Marshall
Michael Swisher: Heritage Hall 24, John Marshall 22
Ben Johnson: John Marshall 20, Heritage Hall 18
Whitt Carter: Heritage Hall 27, John Marshall 14
Randy Turney: Heritage Hall 24, John Marshall 21
Booker T. Washington at Bixby
Michael Swisher: Booker T. Washington 27, Bixby 20
Ben Johnson: Bixby 21, Booker T. Washington 20
Whitt Carter: Bixby 21, Booker T. Washington 20
Randy Turney: Bixby 28, Booker T. Washington 20
Altus at Ardmore
Michael Swisher: Ardmore 23, Altus 17
Ben Johnson: Ardmore 20, Altus 19
Whitt Carter: Ardmore 35, Altus 21
Randy Turney: Ardmore 21, Altus 20
Tahlequah at Skiatook
Michael Swisher: Skiatook 24, Tahlequah 14
Ben Johnson: Tahlequah 24, Skiatook 20
Whitt Carter: Tahlequah 35, Skiatook 31
Randy Turney: Skiatook 28, Tahlequah 21
Lincoln Christian at Seminole
Michael Swisher: Lincoln Christian 31, Seminole 21
Ben Johnson: Lincoln Christian 27, Seminole 19
Whitt Carter: Lincoln Christian 42, Seminole 28
Randy Turney: Lincoln Christian 22, Seminole 14
Davenport at Dewar
Michael Swisher: Davenport 41, Dewar 33
Ben Johnson: Davenport 37, Dewar 22
Whitt Carter: Davenport 52, Dewar 42
Randy Turney: Davenport 48, Dewar 40
Berryhill at Locust Grove
Michael Swisher: Berryhill 30, Locust Grove 29
Ben Johnson: Berryhill 29, Locust Grove 20
Whitt Carter: Berryhill 28, Locust Grove 21
Randy Turney: Berryhill 34, Locust Grove 21
Yukon at Edmond Santa Fe
Michael Swisher: Edmond Santa Fe 31, Yukon 20
Ben Johnson: Edmond Santa Fe 24, Yukon 17
Whitt Carter: Edmond Santa Fe 27, Yukon 17
Randy Turney: Edmond Santa Fe 21, Yukon 14
Yale at Regent Prep
Michael Swisher: Regent Prep 42, Yale 28
Ben Johnson: Regent Prep 38, Yale 30
Whitt Carter: Regent Prep 38, Yale 32
Randy Turney: Regent Prep 38, Yale 14
Crescent at Crossings Christian
Michael Swisher: Crescent 29, Crossings Christian 24
Ben Johnson: Crossings Christian 27, Crescent 23
Whitt Carter: Crossings Christian 24, Crescent 20
Randy Turney: Crossings Christian 28, Crescent 20
Jones at Meeker
Michael Swisher: Jones 35, Meeker 20
Ben Johnson: Jones 42, Meeker 27
Whitt Carter: Jones 36, Meeker 28
Randy Turney: Jones 34, Meeker 22
Clinton at Weatherford
Michael Swisher: Clinton 18, Weatherford 14
Ben Johnson: Clinton 22, Weatherford 17
Whitt Carter: Weatherford 24, Clinton 18
Randy Turney: Weatherford 22, Clinton 20
Broken Bow at Hilldale
Michael Swisher: Hilldale 21, Broken Bow 20
Ben Johnson: Hilldale 27, Broken Bow 21
Whitt Carter: Hilldale 34, Broken Bow 28
Randy Turney: Hilldale 22, Broken Bow 14
Woodward at Bishop McGuinness
Michael Swisher: Bishop McGuinness 31, Woodward 14
Ben Johnson: Bishop McGuinness 33, Woodward 22
Whitt Carter: Bishop McGuinness 37, Woodward 21
Randy Turney: Bishop McGuinness 38, Woodward 20
Memorial at Collinsville
Michael Swisher: Collinsville 28, Memorial 17
Ben Johnson: Collinsville 23, Memorial 12
Whitt Carter: Collinsville 28, Memorial 13
Randy Turney: Collinsville 22, Memorial 21
Union at Mustang
Michael Swisher: Union 28, Mustang 26
Ben Johnson: Union 37, Mustang 17
Whitt Carter: Union 27, Mustang 16
Randy Turney: Union 38, Mustang 18
| Ben Johnson
District play has arrived in full force, and there are great games all over the state this week.
Narrowing down the list to the top 10 games wasn't easy, but here it is:
1. 6AII No. 2 Midwest City (3-1) at 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (4-0): In a loaded Class 6AII District 1, the winner here has to feel good about having the inside edge to a district title. The Bombers, having beaten Stillwater four of the last six matchups since 2012, topped the Pioneers in a 35-21 clash last season. In that game, Midwest City quarterback Preston Colbert accounted for 234 yards through the air, including three touchdowns. For good measure, he also rushed for two scores. Last week, Lawton's Miles Davis torched Midwest City for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and now Stillwater will deploy Qwontrel Walker, who rushed for 300-plus yards against Deer Creek last week.
2. 3A No. 1 Heritage Hall (3-1) at 3A No. 2 John Marshall (4-0): Heritage Hall's Billy Ross is closing in on 2,000 career rushing yards. John Marshall quarterback Jerod Leviston is closing in on 1,000 yards through the air this season. And while the offenses may have superb star power, it's the defense stealing the spotlights here. Heritage Hall has only given up 51 points -- most coming in a 30-20 loss to Millwood. John Marshall has yielded only 28 points -- most recently only giving up 10 in a 76-10 win over Bridge Creek last week. These two -- both reigning state champions: Heritage Hall (4A) and John Marshall (3A) -- have met in non-district play the last two seasons with the Chargers winning both. Now they get to square off with district supremacy on the line.
3. 6AII No. 4 Booker T. Washington (2-2) at 6AII No. 3 Bixby (3-1): Rematch of last year's 6AII title game -- one that saw Booker T. Washington come from behind to win. Both teams showcase stellar defensive units. Bixby is led by Ryan Kerr, Brody Sartin, Ethan Hall, Noah West and others, while Booker T. Washington's defense is led by Dax Hill, one of the nation's top recruits who just committed to Michigan. The key for both teams will be finding offensive success. Bixby will lean on quarterback Mason Williams, tailback Braden Roller and wideout Brennan Presley. Booker T. Washington was without its top tailback, Thomas Grayson, against Bartleville last week, and primary quarterback Dwight Hamilton also suffered an arm injury against the Bruins. If Hamilton is unable to go, the Hornets are likely to turn to Tai Dobbins. These two clubs have met every year since 2014, and the Hornets have won three of the five games.
4. 5A No. 3 Altus (4-0) at 5A No. 2 Ardmore (4-0): This might end being the quickest game of the week. Lots and lots of running and by a multitude of players. The Bulldogs have had at least seven players carry the ball at least 16 times and for more than 130 yards to this point in the season. And six of those seven have found the end zone. Ardmore has five -- Cameron Petties, Tero Roberts, Jadrien Monor, Jermaine Scallion and Eean Ross -- primary ball carries, all of which have shared the ball for more than 1,100 yards. Since 2010, Altus and Ardmore have shared district space, and Ardmore has gone 5-2 in those contests.
5. 5A No. 7 Tahlequah (4-0) at 5A No. 4 Skiatook (4-0): Two of the most unheralded players in the state -- Tahlequah's Dae Dae Leathers and Skiatook's Jayden Garner -- will battle it out this week. Leathers and the Tigers rushing attack has been nearly impossible to stop, and Skiatook has been extremely balanced on offense with Garner and Cody Evans at quarterback. One area where Skiatook could have the advantage is defense; the Bulldogs have given up only 19 points through four games. Twice opponents have scored 20 or more points against the Tigers.
6. 3A No. 4 Lincoln Christian (4-0) at 3A No. 7 Seminole (4-0): Much like Heritage Hall and John Marshall, Lincoln Christian and Seminole spent the last two seasons playing as non-district foes (with Lincoln Christian winning both). Seminole will undoubtedly turn to Cameron Gunville (761 yards on 70 carries) in the ground game, while Lincoln Christian will spread it around, thanks to quarterback Chase Ricke (875 yards, 10 TDs on 41 of 69 attempts), tailback Brendyn Harris (402 yards on 66 carries) and Sam Brueggemann (436 yards on 14 catches).
7. B No. 2 Davenport (4-0) at B No. 4 Dewar (4-0): Jacob Acord and Stevie Orr have been nothing short of stellar on the offensive side of the ball for Davenport. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' defense remains tough to crack. These two teams put on a show last year in a 44-42 win for Davenport.
8. 3A No. 3 Berryhill (4-0) at 3A No. 9 Locust Grove (4-0): Here's a solid matchup of two quarterbacks that don't get the credit they deserved. Berryhill's Cody Ross has tossed for 750 yards and six touchdowns while completing 46 of 80 attempts. For Locust Grove, Caden Bendabout is completing 71 percent (54 of 76) of his passes for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. These two teams have met every year since 2013, and Locust Grove has won three of the five, although Berryhill has won the last two (a 46-14 win last year).
9. 6AI No. 6 Yukon (4-0) at 6AI No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (4-0): The winner here might announce itself as a potential threat to Broken Arrow, Jenks or Union at the top of 6AI. The Wolves have won the past seven games dating back to 2011, and they'll test Yukon's defense with Kanan Hansen at quarterback.
10. B No. 7 Yale (4-0) at B No. 3 Regent Prep (3-0): Yale hasn't gotten the credit it deserves this season, but that'll end if it's able to knock off Regent Prep. The Rams' Braden Gilbert has thrown for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 37 of 57 passes this season. The two teams have only met once, and Yale won 38-14 in 2011.
Crescent at Crossings Christian: Another week, another big showdown in District A-3. These two haven't met since 2015 with the series tied 2-2.
Jones at Meeker: Meeker's unbeaten start will be tested with these two clubs facing off for the first time since 2009.
Clinton at Weatherford: These two Interstate-40 rivals have met every year since 1957, including several some memorable playoffs showdown. Weatherford won last year's meeting 30-7.
Broken Bow at Hilldale: Hornets have beaten Broken Bow two years in a row, including last year's 21-6 decision.
Woodward at Bishop McGuinness: Woodward hasn't beaten Bishop McGuinness since 1996. The Irish have won the last seven matchups between the two clubs.
Memorial at Collinsville: Jamoni Jones rushed for 300-plus yards against East Central last week, but now he'll face a test in the Cardinals' stout defense. Collinsville's defense has been a lockdown unit since allowing 250-plus yards to Bartlesville's DeAndre Young in week two.
Union at Mustang: Union has won all six games against Mustang in the series between the two. Three times it has finished as a one-possession game, but Union won last year 48-28.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo by Jimmy Gillespie/Stillwater NewsPress
| 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.
Photo by Bonnie Vculek/Enid News & Eagle
“We were together at Drummond and at Dover and at Burlington,” recalled Feely. “In those years, we had a lot of good times. We had a lot of time to talk about our games, what went right, what went wrong.
“And the playoffs were always special. We had a lot of good times together. They sure outweighed the bad.”
Turney eventually left Burlington for a five-year stint in large-school basketball as he coached Enid from 1992-97, won 67 games and even got the Plainsmen to state in 1995.
His coaching career became a true family affair for the next eight years as Turney coached boys and girls at Medford from 1997-2002.
The girls teams averaged more than 22 wins a season with Robyn by his side as his assistant.
It was there that he coached Tasha through her high school career. She was a senior and Tana a freshman when the Lady Cardinals reached the 2002 Class A semifinals.
His boys teams at Medford averaged 21 wins a season.
David Zachary, now the superintendent at Granite, was his boys’ assistant for each of those five seasons.
“For me, a veteran coach of 15 years, it was astounding at what I learned from him in the five years we were together,” Zachary said. “I only wished I would have known what he taught me when I started all those years ago.”
After the 2002 campaign, Tasha went on to a career at Oklahoma Christian while the rest of the Turneys ventured to Cherokee for the next three years.
Finally in 2005, after 27 years and more than 650 career wins, Turney called an end to his career.
Or so he thought.
Feely’s own path had led him back to Burlington as the principal and, in 2007, the boys basketball position was open.