Sperry, OK 74073
Record: 13-1 | Rank: 5
OSSAA Semifinals at Clarmore
OSSAA 2nd Round
|@ Victory Christian||W||27-51|
|vs Caney Valley||Missing Score|
|@ Caney Valley||W||0-62|
|vs Commerce||Missing Score|
|vs Sequoyah (Claremore)||W||54-7|
| Ben Johnson
SHAWNEE -- Every wrestling team that entered FireLake Arena on Friday and Saturday scored teams points somewhere along the way. Except for the three that faced Tuttle.
The Tigers put a chokehold on the Class 4A field and breezed to their 10th straight dual state championship and 16th overall. And Tuttle did it by finishing off Wagoner 63-0 in the finals.
“Pretty good team performance,” Tuttle’s Luke Surber said. “Other than that, our team was pretty dominant.”
That’s an understatement.
The Tigers won their three duals in the tournament by a combined score of 209-0. It started with a 75-0 win over Grove in the quaterfianls, and Cache was Tuttle’s semifinal victim with a 71-0 score.
Then came Wagoner, making its first dual state championship appearance.
Tuttle’s Ryder Ramsey set the tone against Wagoner with a win by fall in only 58 seconds against the Bulldogs’ Alex O’Quinn at 132 pounds. Brady DeArmond (145), Dustin Plott (170), Carson Berryhill (195), Ashton Grounds (106) and Logan Farrell (126) also won by fall for the Tigers. Surber added a 15-0 technical fall victory at 152.
But it was Tuttle’s Reese Davis who came up with the Tigers’ biggest victory against Wagoner. Down 8-2 to Wagoner’s Braden Drake, Davis kicked it into high gear and rallied for a 14-11 win.
“I was pretty nervous about it,” Davis admitted afterward. “I wasn’t ready for the first period, but I kept my head straight and came back.”
For Davis, a freshman, it was his first time to experience Tuttle’s winning ways.
“It’s great,” Davis said. “The crowd is big and it’s awesome.”
**See results from Tuttle-Wagoner finals dual below.
3A: Perry picks up another dual state title
When you win as often as Perry does, minor bumps along the way become more noticeable. Such was the case with Perry coach Ronnie Delk, despite his team beating Marlow 38-27 for the Maroons’ 11th straight dual state championship -- and 20th overall.
“Definitely not pleased with that effort at all,” Delk told the Stillwater NewsPress.
Marlow, ranked second in 3A, managed to stay within striking distance early on in the finals. Jordan Taylor (138) and Kobey Kizarr (145) both won by fall, Marlow led 12-6 early on. But Perry did what Perry does and overpowered its opponent before the dual finished up.
Jace Burdick (170) picked up a 5-2 victory over Marlow’s Kyle Wilson, and Perry was within 15-12 at that point. The Maroons then fired off wins in five of the next six weights to take control. During that span, Kohl Owen (182) came up with a win by fall to put Perry in front 18-15, and Teaguen Wilson (heavyweight) and Gave Valencia (106) followed with pins to put Perry firmly in front 38-18.
And before the night was through, Wilson had a message for everyone in 3A.
“I think regionals and state won’t be as close,” he said.
| Ben Johnson
Postseason wrestling is here. The dual state tournament kicks things off this weekend in Shawnee at Firelake Arena. Here’s everything you need to know before the first dual begins.
*All championship duals will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Friday - Quarterfinals at noon
Choctaw vs. Owasso
Sand Springs vs. Edmond North
Broken Arrow vs. Deer Creek
Mustang vs. Jenks
Saturday - Semifinals at noon
Choctaw-Owasso winner vs. Sand Springs-Edmond North winner
Broken Arrow-Deer Creek winner vs. Mustang-Jenks
Championship dual on Mat 1
The favorite: Broken Arrow
There’s a reason the Tigers are ranked 14th in the nation, according to Intermat.com. It’s because Broken Arrow has a lot of senior-laden firepower, including nationally-ranked wrestlers, Reece Witcraft (132), Gavin Potter (195) and Zach Marcheselli (220). Then there’s Emmanuel Skillings (182), Blake Gonzalez (138) Bryce Mattioda (170) for added depth. Last weekend, Witcraft finished sixth at the Glenpool tournament, but that’s only because he injury defaulted in his final three matches. With postseason wrestling around the corner last weekend, there wasn’t any reason to push a stalwart at his weight; the Broken Arrow coaches know his importance this weekend, at regionals and the state tournament.
Watch out for… Choctaw
The Yellowjackets are the real deal, and they proved that again last season with a dual state championship. A lot of key pieces are back from last season -- Colt Newton (126/132), Gabe Johnson (145) and Zane Coleman (170) -- but there are a lot of young pieces around them. Choctaw has had some impressive dual performances this season, including a 63-18 win over Edmond North last week. The Yellowjackets also beat Deer Creek 37-28 to open the season.
Keep an eye on… Mustang
Likely a two-horse race in the 6A field, but the Broncos have a few stars of their own -- Keegan Luton (132), Cameron Picklo (138) and Tate Picklo (160). The question will be, where will the rest of Mustang’s points come from? Mustang is 19-2 in duals this season with the only losses against Tuttle (54-13) and Allen, Texas (43-28). And having wins against other teams -- Deer Creek, Owasso and Edmond North -- in the 6A dual state field will inspire confidence, but Broken Arrow will be quite the obstacle for the Bronco, if the two collide in the semifinals.
Storyline to know: There hasn’t been a repeat champion in 6A since Ponca City in 2004-2005
Seven different teams have claimed the 6A dual state crown since 2010, including Broken Arrow and Choctaw doing it twice. Choctaw
Prediction: Broken Arrow 33, Choctaw 21
These two were supposed to meet in January, but the dual was called off because of poor weather conditions outside. But here’s where the big showdown happens. The Tigers, minus a dual state title since 2011, have quality pieces nearly top to bottom, and then their standouts who are likely to secure bonus points. However, if Witcraft is hobbled for the Tigers, that could throw everything out the window and make for a free-for-all in the 6A field.
Friday - Quarterfinals at 4 p.m.
Piedmont vs. Coweta
Collinsville vs. Lawton MacArthur
Skiatook vs. Altus
Duncan vs. Durant
Saturday - Semifinals at 2 p.m.
Piedmont-Coweta winner vs. Collinsville-Lawton MacArthur winner
Skiatook-Altus winner vs. Duncan-Durant winner
Championship dual on Mat 2
The favorite: Skiatook
The Bulldogs were oh so close last year, finishing as the 5A dual state runner up in 35-18 loss to Lawton MacArthur. But this could be the beginning of something special for Skiatook. Only Trey Bowman (113), Cash Calfy (182) and Korbin McLaughlin (220) are seniors, so Skiatook is poised to begin some prolonged success. Skiatook will lean on Josh Taylor (126), Cougar Anderson (152) and Owasso transfer Richie Lee (160). Skiatook has also been a tremendously tough dual team, too. The Bulldogs have knocked off Vinita, Owasso, Wagoner, Sperry and Collinsville this season.
Watch out for… Collinsville
This will come as no surprise but the Cardinals are stacked again at the lower weights. Cameron Steed (106), Jordan Williams (113), Rocky Stephens (120), Garrett Strickland (120), Eli Benham (126), Caleb Tanner (132) and Connor Henson (138) is a formidable group that can rack up points in a hurry for the Cardinals. But Collinsville’s fate will rest in the hands of the wrestlers at the heavier weights, and if they can steal points then the Cardinals could be in store for their first dual state crown since 2015.
Keep an eye on… Piedmont and Duncan
Piedmont doesn’t have a ton of firepower, but it has Braden Culp (170) and Josh Heindselman (285), so it has some key pieces to come up with some big points. Same goes for Duncan, who has Hunter Jump at 160.
Storyline to know: Only three schools have won dual state titles since 2011. Lawton MacArthur is the reigning champion with titles in 2017 and 2018, and Coweta won a championship in 2016. But before that, it was Collinsville winning gold from 2011 to 2015.
Prediction: Skiatook 39, Piedmont 19
This is the year. This is when Skiatook finally captures that elusive dual state title. The Bulldogs take what they learned from last year’s finals and get over the hump. All that said, the competition for the team title at the state tournament in a few weeks will be fascinating to watch.
Friday - Quarterfinals at 6 p.m.
Tuttle vs. Grove
Vinita vs. Cache
Wagoner vs. Clinton
Cushing vs. Mannford
Saturday - Semifinals at 2 p.m.
Tuttle-Grove winner vs. Vinita-Cache winner
Wagoner-Clinton winner vs. Cushing-Mannford winner
Championship on Mat 3
The favorite: ?????
Just kidding. It’s Tuttle. Duh! The Tigers aren’t ranked 10th in the country for nothing. Tuttle is loaded top to bottom. Try to find a weakness in the Tigers’ lineup. It’s not possible. Dustin Plott (170) might be the best wrestler in the state, regardless of class. He’s ranked third in the country and has lost only once in two seasons. He’s on track to start winning college championships in a few years. Then there’s Luke Surber (152) and Carson Berryhill (195) who are both nationally ranked. Just one heavy hitter after another for Tuttle.
Watch out for… Vinita
Alex Prince (120), Lane Enyart (145), Zach Wattenbarger (170) and Brodi Miller (195) are all solid, but the problem for the Hornets is their placement in the bracket. A quarterfinal victory over Cache would mean a meeting with Tuttle on Saturday, and good luck with that.
Keep an eye on… Cushing
The biggest drama in the 4A field will be who wins the bottom half of the bracket to advance to the finals against Tuttle. The Tigers are balanced from top to botto and could get there, but beating a team like Wagoner in the semifinals would be a challenge.
Storyline to know: There used to be a time when Cushing and Bristow owned the 3A class at dual state. (Class 4A now is what 3A used to be up until 2009). Now 4A belongs to Tuttle, who hasn’t let any other team touch the dual state trophy since 2009.
Prediction: Tuttle 59, Cushing 9
What would be great is if all the dual state champions wrestled in a round robin-style event afterward. It would be great to see Tuttle matched up against the 5A and 6A champions. But we can only dream until that day.
Friday - Quarterfinals at 2 p.m.
Perry vs. Vian
Jay vs. Pawnee
Comanche vs. Mangum
Marlow vs. Sperry
Saturday - Semifinals at noon
Perry-Vian winner vs. Jay-Pawnee winner
Comanche-Mangum winner vs. Marlow-Sperry winner
Championship on Mat 4
The favorite: Perry
The Maroons have had far more dominating teams in the past, but Perry is once again putting forth a balanced attack. Ryan Smith (113), Dylan Avery (132), Hadyn Redus (152) and Teaguen Wilson (285) are all rock solid. Once again it’ll be difficult for other teams to cripple Perry’s chances at claiming another dual state championship.
Watch out for… Comanche
Konner Doucet (220) -- ranked sixth in the country -- drives Comanche’s success. Beyond him, there are plenty of quality depth to score points, and even some bonus points.
Keep an eye on… Sperry
The Pirates are a longshot to win a football championship and then a dual state title, but the Pirates have some stout wrestlers. Bryce Carter (170) leads the way with a 28-2 record, despite mostly 5A-6A wrestlers this season.
Storyline to know: His stay in the dual state tournament might not last long since Vian will be a sizeable underdog, but watch Vian’s River Simon at 182 pounds. Recently signed with Army to wrestle and play football, and he’ll likely be matched up with Perry’s Kohl Owen.
Prediction: Perry 26, Comanche 24
I might be crazy but I think Comanche has a solid chance at upending Perry. The Indians knocked off 6A No. 2 Choctaw on Jan. 22, but not long before that Perry beat Comanche by 20. But when the dust settles, it’ll be Perry hoarding its 11th straight dual state title.
| Ben Johnson
KIEFER -- Trent Worley is a small-town kid at heart. Plus, he and his wife Ashley have most of their family living in northeast Oklahoma.
That made the head coaching vacancy at Kiefer so intriguing.
And sure enough, Worley was named the Trojans’ head man Monday night, becoming only the program’s second head coach in 12 years.
“It’s a really good spot to be in, both for me and my family,” Worley told Skordle. “But to a lot of people, it’ll look like a crazy move.”
Worley, a Foyil alum, recently wrapped up a two-year tenure at Piedmont, where he went 8-13. The Wildcats went 5-6 in 2018 and earned a playoff berth before being eliminated in the first round by eventual Class 5A runner-up, Ardmore.
In Kiefer, Worley will fill the void left by Josh Calvert, who is stepping away from coaching to take a job in Oregon. From 2008 to last season, Calvert led the Trojans to a 94-37 record.
“This is something I’m looking forward to,” Worley said. “What was impressive to me about Kiefer was how the town places a priority on athletics, and those being bright spots in the community. Plus, there they place a great deal of importance on building relationships in settlings like Kiefer.”
Kiefer is coming off a 3-7 campaign in 2018. The Trojans shared a spot in District 2A-3 with Class 2A’s state champion, Sperry, and runner-up, Beggs. Kiefer entered the final week of the regular season vying for postseason spot, alongside Haskell and Morris.
“I’m a small-town guy,” Worley said. “I’m going into year No. 20 in my career. The older you get the more you realize what’s important, so I’m excited for the move for my family. And I’m excited about the Kiefer program, which as unlimited potential.”
| Ben Johnson
Tuttle went west and struck gold over the weekend. Not far from gold rush areas in northern California, the Tigers won the 2019 MidCals Tournament in Gilroy on Saturday.
Luke Surber (152), Dustin Plott (170) and Carson Berryhill (195) each won their weight class, and Tuttle recorded 305 points to win the tournament after finishing second in 2018.
“I was proud of our guys,” Tuttle coach Matt Surber said. “They had the right attitude heading the tournament, knowing they were prepared and ready to go. They also knew it was going to take each and every one of them wrestling tough for us to be in position to win the team title.
“It was a full team effort, placing 12 in the top eight.”
Plott wrestled six times during the tournament, and he recorded five wins by fall and one by technical fall. In the finals, he pinned Bakersfield’s Jarad Priest at 1:16 to repeat as a MidCals champion for the second straight season. In Plott’s five wins by fall, only one made it to the second period -- and it ended at 3:09.
“Dustin continues to be impressive and totally dominating the weight class,” Surber said of Plott, who’s ranked third nationally at 170, according to Intermat.com. “He’s such a hard worker and never settles with where he’s at in his development.”
Luke Surber’s matchup in the finals was against Poway’s Aaron Gandara, who is ranked 16th in the country at 152. Surber, ranked 15th, beat Gandara by major decision, 8-0, and was ultimately named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
“Luke has been so tough on top all year, and that’s been his biggest asset,” said Matt Surber, Luke’s father. “Gandara has been nationally ranked all season, so he knew he’d have a tough finals matchup. Scoring the first takedown early in the match was key since that’s Gandara’s best position, and that allowed (Luke) to control him from the top position. He didn’t give up a single point all tournament, so that shows the kind of dominant weekend he had.”
Berryhill, the No. 2 seed at 195, knocked off Gilroy’s Ryan Reyes, the No. 1 seed, 2-0 in the finals.
Garrett Steidley (113) and Ryder Ramsey (132) both finished in second place, while Brady DeArmond (145) and Reese Davis (120) each won their respective consolation bracket to finish in third.
“It’s not the ideal time of year to travel and compete in a super tough tournament like this one, but I feel with this being our third year (in California), we handled the whole trip well. We made some adjustments with travel times and the upcoming schedule, so that our guys will be rested up and recovered from the trip. We try to wrestle the best competition we can find week in and week out, and this is a great tournament to attend.”
Tuttle, now ranked 10th in the country, also mixed in some fun on the trip. In 2018, the Tigers were able to sightsee around San Francisco, and this year they penciled in some spare time in Monterey.
“We arrived late Wednesday night in Gilroy, and the plan is for Thursday to be a prep day for the tournament,” Surber said. “This year, we got up and drove an hour south to Monterey. It was a great little trip. We spent four hours there just sightseeing, walking around the ocean front and of course everyone got to see some fresh seafood. It’s just another opportunity for our guys to hang out and spend time together.”
Wrestling notes- Dual state tournament teams have been finalized, but brackets won’t be released until Monday. In 6A, Broken Arrow, Choctaw, Mustang, Edmond North, Sand Springs, Deer Creek, Jenks and Owasso will be in the field, and Owasso and Jenks will dual Thursday to determine seeding at dual state.
In what figures to be the most wide-open field, Skiatook, Collinsville, Piedmont, Duncan, Lawton MacArthur, Altus, Durant and Coweta will be in the 5A field.
The 4A teams consist of Tuttle, Cushing, Wagoner, Vinita, Cache, Mannford, Grove and Clinton. Tuttle will be chasing its 10th straight dual state title and 16th overall.
Perry, in search of its 11th consecutive dual state title and 20th overall, will compete against Comanche, Marlow, Jay, Sperry, Vian, Mangum and Pawnee in the 3A field.
- Perry won the 4+4 tournament at home last weekend. The Maroons finished with 223 points, and Choctaw was second at 192.5. Gabe Valencia (106), Ryan Smith (113), Hadyn Redus (152) Kohl Owen (182) and Brandon Speikers (220) each picked up first-place finishes for Perry.
Choctaw had four individual champions: Colt Newton (132), Gabe Johnson (145), Zane Coleman (170) and Marquonn Journy (heavyweight).
- Wagoner won the Maverick Conference Tournament with 258 points. Jay was a distant second with 135 points.
- Cushing won the Hub City Tournament in Clinton with 292.5 points, and Marlow (244.5) and Cache (200) rounded out the top three.
| Ben Johnson
Putting together an All-State team sounds like fun and games, but when you start narrowing down the field, you hate yourself for leaving off a player here or a player there. Trust me when I say it was not pleasant leaving off guys like Lincoln Christian’s Chase Ricke, Metro Christian’s Asher Link or Fairview’s Kade Dillard on the small school All-State list.
For the small school team, it consists of players in Class 3A through Class C. Each class also had a designated Player of the Year, Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP.
The teams were chosen by those who covered high school football for Skordle all year long: Michael Swisher, Whitt Carter and myself (Ben Johnson).
And ps, there’s some hope in doing a podcast here before too long to discuss the thought process and how we ended up picking the teams. As for now, check out this year’s small school selections…
Player of the Year: CONNER CAREY (Heritage Hall) - A receiver by trade throughout most of his varsity career, Carey was called upon to switch to running back for his senior season. And he passed the test with flying colors. At 5 feet, 11 inches and 195 pounds, Carey rushed for 1,844 yards and 32 touchdowns on 204 carries. While leading the Chargers to another championship, Carey accounted for 163 yards on the ground and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving). On offense, Carey finished with 2,002 yards rushing and 1,315 yards receiving and 48 combined touchdowns. Carey was also a key contributor on defense during his senior season with 57 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.
Heritage Hall coach Brett Bogert: “Conner had one of the best individual all-around seasons by a Charger since I’ve been coaching here. He broke (Wes) Welker’s single-season touchdown record! It was awesome to watch him grow as a player and leader while excelling on the big stage this season. We will miss him.”
Offensive MVP: JETT STERNBERGER (Kingfisher) - Despite missing two games, the Yellowjackets quarterback propelled Kingfisher all the way to the 3A semifinals. Sternberger, little brother of Texas A&M star Jace Sternberger, crushed opponents on the ground and through the air during his senior campaign. He completed 180 of 270 passes for 2,411 yards and 33 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also ran for 481 yards and 13 touchdowns on 127 carries.
Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers: “Jett has been a tremendous asset to us the last two years. His ability to run our offense has been a big reason for our success. Add in the injuries and changes we’ve endured at running back and offensive line, and his performances are even more impressive. We will certainly miss his presence as a player and a leader next year.”
Defensive MVP: TREY KISER (Sulphur) - One of the state’s best two-way players in 2018, Kiser was a standout at 6 feet, 200 pounds. On defense, Kiser racked up 131 tackles and eight sacks for a Sulphur defense that yielded only 16.9 points per game. Kiser was also one of the state’s best ball carriers with 2,572 yards and 39 touchdowns on 293 carries. He even set a new Sulphur record with 403 yards on just 15 carries in the Bulldogs’ win over rival Davis on Sept. 7.
Sulphur coach Jim Dixon: “He’s the best player I’ve ever coached. He’s truly as good as anyone I’ve ever coached. I’m really proud of the way he worked every year and his effort each day. And he was very, very blessed with a lot of ability. He’s a great kid and was a heck of a player.”
Player of the Year: BEAU TEEL (Sperry) - A two-year standout for the Pirates, Teel guided Sperry to its first-ever OSSAA championship without a blowout victory over Beggs. Along the way, the senior quarterback passed for 2,305 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 133 of 233 passes. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Teel accounted for 31 tackles, two sacks and an interception at linebacker. He polished off his career with 10,046 total yards through the air (7,635) and on the ground (2,411).
Sperry coach Robert Park: “State champion quarterback for the Sperry Pirates. Nobody else can say that.”
Offensive MVP: RYAN JOHNSON (Metro Christian) - Was the closest thing to a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in Oklahoma during the 2018 season, right alongside Heritage Hall’s Billy Ross Jr. Johnson was a nightmare for opposing defenses with 2,036 yards and 28 touchdowns on 184 carries. He also hauled in 47 passes from quarterback Asher Link for 609 yards and five touchdowns. And just for the heck of it, he completed 4 of 5 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson helped spark the Patriots to a 2A semifinal run, which ended with a loss to eventual runner-up Beggs.
Metro Christian coach Jared McCoy: “He’s a great player. His best games were against our best competition and he did whatever he had to do to help us win. He averaged over 100 yard rushing and 100 yards receiving in our four playoff games. His kind of stats are really difficult to attain while operating in a pass-first offense where our quarterback also led 11-man football in passing yards. Ryan also had two late interceptions against Broken Bow to help us win that game and a couple of key tackles on defense in the playoffs that helped us beat Jones and Washington. I’m most proud of the type of young man Ryan is. He’s a 4.0 student that’s loved by his teachers, coaches and fellow students. He’s extremely gifted, yet very grounded and humble for the way God has gifted him.”
Defensive MVP: RIVER SIMON (Vian) - Perhaps the hardest postseason superlative to hand out goes to a soon-to-be West Point cadet. The Army signee is another in a long line of Simon standouts at Vian. The 6-foot, 215-pound middle linebacker guided the Wolverines to the 2A quarterfinals, thanks to 128 tackles and eight sacks to cap off his senior season. “He was really, really good,” an opposing 2A coach said. “A great linebacker and one of the best tacklers I have seen.” On offense, he rushed for 466 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, and he even graded at 92 percent while blocking at tight end.
Vian coach Gary Willis: “Toughest- and hardest-working player that I’ve ever coached. He’s played through a lot of pain throughout his high school career.”
Player of the Year: ZACH HALE (Christian Heritage) - The Crusaders had themselves a solid regular season, and they capped it off with a win over Crescent to steal the No. 4 spot in District A-3. That’s when the real fun started for Christian Heritage. While captivating the state as postseason darlings, the Crusaders knocked off Ringling, Thomas, Stroud and Rejoice Christian on their way finishing as Class A runners-up to Tonkawa. And leading the charge was Hale, a two-way standout at quarterback and free safety. Hale finished the season with 2,638 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing 193 of 309 passes, and he also ran for 867 yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense, he amassed 202 tackles, including 73 in the playoffs. Hale also finished his senior season with one sack and eight interceptions.
Offensive MVP: JACOB BRUCE (Hulbert) - When you finish as the state’s leading rusher for a season, you’re probably due for some accolades. When you re-write the state’s record book for rushing yards, you’re guaranteed some postseason shine. And that’s what Bruce did in 2018, finishing his senior season with 3,268 yards and 41 touchdowns on 306 carries. He capped his career with 8,586 yards, which is 143 more than the previous record holder, Luther’s Larry Dupree (8,443). Bruce also scored on two kickoff returns this season while averaging 28.6 yards per return. For good measure, he added 57 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
Defensive MVP: SIMEON SHEPARD (Tonkawa) - In a district full of offensive stalwarts, Tonkawa used defense to win the District A-5 crown -- and eventually the Class A championship. The Buccaneers gave up more than 20 points only twice, and neither one of the occurrences surfaced in the postseason. And all the while, Shepard was leading the way as the Bucs’ leading tackler, alongside fellow defensive star Braydon Hampton. Shepard’s impressive senior season included 176 tackles, 27 sacks/tackles for loss, four interceptions, including to returns for touchdowns (69 and 48 yards).
Player of the Year: GATLIN GOODSON (Shattuck) - Leading the Indians to their second consecutive title -- and third in four years -- was Goodson, who did it all for Shattuck. The senior quarterback rushed for 1,760 yards and 31 touchdowns on 124 carries. He passed on occasion and finished with 441 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 21 of 37 attempts. At free safety, he recorded 72 tackles and three interceptions.
Offensive MVP: BRADEN GILBERT (Regent Prep) - Only two other passers in the history of Oklahoma high school football have had better seasons, yardage-wise, than what Gilbert put forth for the Rams. Gilbert passed for 4,065 yards and 63 touchdowns this season, and settled just behind Locust Grove’s Mason Fine (5,006 in 2014 and 4,227 in 2015) and Norman North’s Brandon Marquardt (4,609 in 2016). Gilbert’s 63 touchdowns were third-best in a single season, and he completed 195 of 328 passes along the way. The junior quarterback also rushed 105 times for 555 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading the Rams to the Class B title game.
Defensive MVP: JAXSON WALKER (Davenport) - The junior middle linebacker made sure life was miserable for opposing offenses throughout the 2018 season. The Bulldogs gave up only 11.5 points per game prior to losing to Shattuck in the Class B semifinals, and leading the way was Walker with 98 tackles, one sack and two interceptions.
Player of the Year: SEMAJ MCBRIDE (Tipton) - The Tigers’ dynamic ball carrier finished off his varsity career by guiding Tipton to its third consecutive championship. And to help secure the Tigers’ seventh title, McBride took over in the second half of the championship game with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns while adding in 43 receiving yards and a TD catch. He logged 128 carries for 1,654 yards during his senior campaign, and he hauled in 18 catches for 611 yards. He scored 26 total touchdowns. On defense, he collected 46 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Offensive MVP: BEN WEBB (Southwest Covenant) - Junior quarterback was instrumental in getting the Patriots to the Class C title game. Capped his year off by completing 109 of 177 passes for 2,130 yards and 40 touchdowns, and he also ran for 374 yards and nine touchdowns on 63 carries.
Defensive MVP: BRYCE WAUGH (Tipton) - Senior defensive end led the Tigers’ defense throughout the season, including five shutout victories throughout the regular season. Waugh was instrumental for the Tigers while coming up with 73 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.
SMALL SCHOOL ALL-STATE TEAM
Coach of the Year: ROBERT PARK (Sperry) - He’s spent two decades at Sperry, and in his 20th season Park claimed his first championship with the Pirates. In fact, it was Sperry’s first OSSAA championship with a 35-14 victory over Beggs in the 2A title game. Not bad for a coach of a program who most figured to have no shot at winning the gold ball. That’s because Millwood was the clear frontrunner by most who follow 2A football, but that was all derailed by Vian in the second round. The Pirates may have lost the District 2A-3 crown to Beggs with a Week 10 loss, but the Pirates rebounded and outscored opponents 252 to 55 in the playoffs, including a 56-8 thrashing of Adair to reach the state finals.
QB: Braden Gilbert (Regent Prep) - Junior quarterback logged the fourth-best season in Oklahoma history, yardage-wise. Threw for 4,065 yards and 63 touchdowns, which is the third-best among single season TD records in the Sooner State.
RB: Andrew Crow (Rejoice Christian) - Senior tailback rushed for 2,554 yards and 43 touchdowns and even had 10 catches for 192 yards and a score.
RB: Jacob Bruce (Hulbert) - Became the state’s all-time leading rusher by churning out 3,268 yards and 44 touchdowns during his senior season. Finished his career with 8,586 yards on the ground.
RB/WR: Ryan Johnson (Metro Christian) - One of the state’s best rushing-receiving players with 2,036 yards and 28 touchdowns on the ground and 47 receptions for 609 yards and five touchdowns through the air during his senior season.
WR: Jack Wright (Regent Prep) - Led the state in receiving as Gilbert’s top target. Junior wideout hauled in 81 catches for 1,840 yards and 34 touchdowns.
WR: Sam Brueggeman (Lincoln Christian) - Was quarterback Chase Ricke’s favorite target in the passing game, and Brueggeman finished with 67 receptions, 1,487 yards and 17 touchdowns during his junior season.
OL: Melvin Swindle (Heritage Hall) - Sophomore offensive lineman paved the way for the Chargers offense, which averaged 39.5 points per game, including 69 and 50 in the 3A semifinals and finals, respectively.
OL: Baylor Christy (Beggs) - Senior Missouri State signee was the key cog on the Golden Demons’ offensive line, which spearheaded Beggs’ efforts in averaging 43.3 points per contest.
OL: Eli Russ (Plainview) - Senior Oklahoma State signee received a 95 percent overall grade for his efforts along the Indians’ offensive front.
OL: Perry Lewis (Millwood) - Junior guard was instrumental in the Falcons averaging 352.3 yards and 48.3 points per game.
OL: Brandon Collier (Cashion) - Junior tackle led the Wildcats’ high-octane offense that posted 375.5 yards and 40.5 points per game.
DL: Walker Niver (Sperry) - Junior defensive end finished with 80 tackles and 10 sacks for a Pirates defense that only allowed 174 points in 15 games.
DL: Kaavn Green (Crescent) - Senior tackle had 81 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Tigers.
DL/LB: Jaden McDaniel (Heritage Hall) - Senior defensive specialist had 100 tackles and 12 sacks.
LB: Zac Anderson (Eufaula) - Finished his career with the Ironheads with 159 tackles and 12 sacks during his senior season.
LB: Trey Kiser (Sulphur) - Senior standout had 131 tackles and eight sacks on defense while also serving as one of the better running backs in the state.
LB: Laike Wilhelm (Newkirk) - Senior collected 129 tackles and two sacks on defense and also turned produced 2,243 yards and 25 touchdowns rushing on offense.
LB: Simeon Sheperd (Tonkawa) - Set a new Tonkawa record with 176 tackles during his senior season. Also had 27 sacks, four interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
DB: Conner Carey (Heritage Hall) - Senior two-way player had 57 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. Also led the Chargers with 1,844 rushing yards and 32 TDs.
DB: Zach Hale (Christian Heritage) - The Crusaders’ sparkplug through the playoffs who finished off his senior season with 202 tackles, one sack and eight interceptions. Also passed for 2,600-plus yards and 33 touchdowns.
DB: Gatlin Goodson (Shattuck) - Senior free safety had 72 tackles and three interceptions. Also served as quarterback and ran for 17,60 yards during his senior season.
DB: Dawson James (Berryhill) - Sophomore snagged 12 interceptions while also recording 30 tackles for the Chiefs.
K: Alex Felkins (Holland Hall) - Columbia signee was the state’s leader with 15 field goals. Senior kicker’s longest in 2018 was 41 yards.
P: Zach Ramay (Fairview) - Senior averaged 39.7 yards per punt for the Yellowjackets in 2018.
KR/PR: DeMariyon Houston (Millwood) - Finished the season with three kickoff returns for 184 yards and one touchdown, and also had four punt returns for 145 yards and a touchdown. Senior wideout also caught 35 passes for 772 yards and 11 TDs.
ATH: Beau Teel (Sperry) - Passed for 2,305 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 14 touchdowns. Senior linebacker also had 31 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
ATH: Jett Sternberger (Kingfisher) - Senior quarterback completed 180 of 270 passes for 2,411 yards and 33 touchdowns. Also ran for 481 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
And let us know what you think. Tweet at Skordle or email Ben Johnson at email@example.com.
*Photo credit: Russell Stitt
| Ben Johnson
OWASSO -- Friends and family members had premonitions about Kohlby Foster. They knew he was about to be a standout in Thursday’s Class 2A championship game at Owasso Stadium.
And sure enough, they were exactly right.
Foster hauled in two interceptions, including one that set the stage for Sperry’s final touchdown as the Class 2A No. 5 Pirates knocked off third-ranked Beggs, 35-14, for their first-ever state championship.
“Everybody told me I was going to do it,” Foster said. “But I didn’t see it.”
What he did see was two passes from Beggs’ Dalton Spring landing in his hands.
Foster’s first interception derailed Beggs’ attempt to get back in the game in the third quarter. The Golden Demons were trailing 28-7 and deep into Sperry territory, but Spring’s pass into coverage over the middle resulted in the ball being tipped before Foster snagged it out of the air.
“Man that guy is an athlete,” Sperry coach Robert Park said of Foster. “I know he hadn’t been sleeping, either. He had been watching film for hours. He’s such a good player, and he wasn’t healthy early in the season. But he made plays (Thursday).”
And Foster’s performance left him with a euphoric feeling that might not go away for a while.
“This is out of this world,” said the junior defensive back. “(Coach Park) always said this group was going to be the one to (win a championship), and we did it.”
Sperry was able to hoist its first gold ball, due in large part to a dominant second half.
The Pirates began the second half with a 10-play drive that chewed up 59 yards and was punctuated by Joe Whiteley’s 7-yard touchdown run just inside the end zone’s left pylon.
Once Sperry went up 21-7, it cracked down on defense, not allowing Beggs to score until there was only 2:16 left in the fourth quarter.
By that time, Bryce Carter had tacked on a 1-yard TD run in the third period, and Walker Niver had put the game away with his 1-yard touchdown run with 3:44 left in the game.
“We learned that we needed to play all four quarters,” said Carter, who rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries.
Much different story than when Beggs controlled the entire second half in a 35-21 win on Nov. 2.
“We turned the table,” Park said. “We got some stops on defense, and we’re able to score twice. That third quarter was big in both games, and we just happened to win it (this time).”
The first half mirrored much of the first meeting between the two teams. In the final week of the regular season, Sperry led its District 2A-3 rival 14-0 at halftime, but the Demons rallied for 35 unanswered points for a 35-21 win.
This time around it was Beggs to strike first. The Golden Demons took advantage of a short field and went 36 yards in nine plays, and they capped it off with Spring’s 3-yard quarterback sneak.
Sperry answered right back, thanks to Kyle Jobe’s 64-yard kickoff return to Beggs’ 22-yard line. Four plays later, Beau Teel was in the end zone on a 2-yard TD run.
The Pirates would go ahead after Cooper Park picked off Spring with 1:48 left until intermission. A 17-yard screen pass to Carter put Sperry at the 1-yard line, and the Pirates followed with Teel’s 1-yard plunge for a score.
Sperry finished the game with four takeaways and a superb defensive effort that kept Beggs to 83 yards on the ground and 157 yards in the passing game.
But perhaps the highlight of the night was Beggs players and fans applauding Sperry and its fans prior to the game. The Beggs administration also presented a plaque to Sperry and its school leaders during the pregame festivities.
When news broke that Beggs’ Kayson Tolliver had been gunned down the day before the two were supposed to meet on Nov. 2, the Sperry community rose to the occasion and offered its full support by offering warmth, love and strength through conviction.
“They showed what it’s like to be a servant,” Beggs coach David Tenison said of the Sperry faithful that paid tribute to Tolliver by wearing T-shirts with his number (27) at the game in Beggs in early November. “We would have been amiss if we had shown up here and not thanked them for that.”
The two teams continue to share a special bond, and Beggs players and coaches offered warm congratulations after the game -- something you don’t often see following a game with a title on the line.
In the end, though, it was the small town in western Tulsa County that prevailed and added to its 16 other championships previously won in baseball and wrestling combined.
“I didn’t know it was going to feel this good, but it’s been a long time coming,” Park said. “Just look at (everyone from Sperry), they’ve been hungry for a title for a while. When you’ve been doing football for so long, and now we finally have something in that trophy case. We’re very proud and we’re very happy.”
No. 5 Sperry 35, No. 3 Beggs 14
Sperry 7 7 14 7 -- 35
Beggs 7 0 0 7 -- 14
BEGGS -- Dalton Spring 3 run (Dusty Pendergrass kick), 4:38
SPERRY -- Beau Teel 2 run (Jacob Sutherland kick), 3:40
SPERRY -- Teel 1 run (Sutherland kick), 0:11
SPERRY -- Joe Whiteley 7 run (Sutherland kick), 7:13
SPERRY - Bryce Carter 1 run (Sutherland kick), 2:32
SPERRY -- Walker Niver 1 run (Sutherland kick), 3:44
BEGGS -- Jaidan Grayson 21 pass from Spring (Pendergrass kick), 2:16
First downs: Sperry 17; Beggs 16
Rushing (carries-yards): Sperry 49-170; Beggs 32-83
Passing (C-A-I): Sperry 10-14-1; Beggs 17-25-3
Passing yards: Sperry 103; Beggs 157
Total yards: Sperry 273; Beggs 240
Penalties: Sperry 3-35; Beggs 10-63
Sperry -- Beau Teel 20-71
Beggs -- Jared Sutter 18-57
Sperry -- Teel 10-14-1 98
Beggs -- Spring 16-24-3 145
Sperry - Jacob Sutherland 4-37
Beggs -- Jaidan Grayson 10-122
| Ben Johnson
When Sperry and Beggs met the first time this season, it was an extremely emotion affair. News broke the day before the two met that Beggs running back Kayson Tolliver has been gunned down in his bed.
It was as tragic as it gets.
But Beggs opted to play and honor the life that Tolliver had lived. The scene on the field was highly irregular, as Sperry quarterback Beau Teel tells it.
“I can remember being in eighth grade, and Sperry had a player pass away and we had to play Claremore Sequoyah and emotions were so high,” Teel recalled. “That’s how that game was against Beggs.
“Players were crying on the field and everything. Makes you realize that football isn’t the most important thing in the world.”
Now the two teams will meet again -- and emotions will be high again. This time, it’ll be for the Class 2A championship at Owasso Stadium on Thursday.
“It means a lot, but not just to me, but our team and town have been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time,” Sperry’s Bryce Carter said. “We want to make the most of it.”
Third-ranked Beggs beat Sperry 35-21 on Nov. 2. The Pirates led 14-0 at halftime, but the Golden Demons went on a torrid rally in the second half, including scoring 28 points in the third quarter.
“Our first time playing Beggs made us realize that you have to play your best football for all four quarters,” Teel said. “Beggs is a great second half team that plays with a lot of heart. They know what it takes to win big games. We can not let up any this time around.”
For No. 5 Sperry, it’s the Pirates first appearance in a championship game since 1968. That’s created a considerable amount of buzz around the small town on the western edge of Tulsa County.
“The town is so excited to be in this game,” Teel said. “It’s been over 50 years since this town has been in the championship game, and it’s just really awesome. People we’ve never seen before have started coming out just to watch us play. It’s great.”