Spiro, OK 74959
Record: 8-4 | Unranked
|@ Sequoyah Tahlequah||W||13-32|
|vs Holland Hall||L||33-36|
| Ben Johnson
Fort Coffee is headed for the big stage.
Wait, Fort Coffee? Where is that? Is it in Oklahoma?
It’s a town that might go unrecognized, outside of severe weather coverage in Oklahoma, but Fort Coffee sits in the Arkansas River bend near Skullyville and northeast of Spiro. Just find LeFlore County in far eastern Oklahoma, and it sits at the very northern tip of the county.
It’s where McKinley Whitfield has called home all his life.
Now Whitfield will fly the Fort Coffee flag proudly when he attends New York Giants mini camp.
“It means everything in the world to me to represent Spiro and Fort Coffee,” said Whitfield, a former standout at Spiro High School before playing college football at the University of Tulsa.
“I grew up there my whole life, and I just try my best to be a inspiration to all the younger kids there.”
Whitfield, measuring at 6 feet, 3 inches and 217 pounds, knows professional athletic endeavors don’t come along often for those growing up in Fort Coffee.
“Not many people from the area get changes like these,” he said, “so it’s a blessing.”
Whitfield, a safety by trade, recently watched the NFL Draft intently, hoping for his name to appear in the later rounds. But all seven rounds breezed by, despite a few draft boards mentioning Whitfield as a possible late-round candidate.
“It was very frustrating,” said Whitfield, who logged 264 tackles and 19 pass breakups during his collegiate career. “Everybody was thinking that I was going to get drafted, so I didn’t want to let anybody down. I just tried to keep myself busy during the whole process and be around my family.”
It didn’t take long for Whitefield to draw an invitation to New York’s minicamp, which begins this weekend.
“It feels good getting a chance to go play at the next level,” said Whitfield, who nabbed four interceptions while at Tulsa. “Of course I would rather have gotten drafted or a free agent deal, but it’s just more motivation for me.
Whitfield joins four other TU players as mini camp invitees. Justin Hobbs and Willie Wright will work out for the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns, respectively, and two other in-state talents, Tyler Bowling (Yukon) and Chandler Miller (Bixby), will try to earn a spot with the Atlanta Falcons.
Leading up to the draft, Whitfield never had much interaction with the Giants, chatting with the organization once while at a senior event in Texas. But now he gets a chance to prove Fort Coffee belongs in the NFL.
“I’ve always been a hard worker since I was a kid,” Whitfield said. “That definitely isn’t going to stop now.”
*Photo credit: University of Tulsa
| 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
All hail Randy Turney and his picking skills. He made it look easy while beating the snot out of Swisher, Whitt and myself. He spent 11 weeks picking games and gradually putting all of us away -- well, most of us. Swisher might have an outside shot of catching him. We'll see how it plays out. Me, on the other hand, I have to face the music and wave the white flag. Picking for pride now!
Week 10 picks - Coach Turney 19-7 | Whitt 19-7 | Swisher 18-8 | Ben 13-13
Overall - Turney 158-52 | Swisher 151-59 | Whitt 148-58 | Ben 140-70
Now I present picks for the first round of the playoffs:
Norman at Owasso
Michael Swisher: Owasso 38, Norman 24
Ben Johnson: Owasso 33, Norman 31
Whitt Carter: Owasso 34, Norman 24
Randy Turney: Owasso 28, Norman 7
Edmond Santa Fe at Union
Michael Swisher: Union 31, Edmond Santa Fe 21
Ben Johnson: Union 31, Edmond Santa Fe 13
Whitt Carter: Union 37, Edmond Santa Fe 13
Randy Turney: Union 32, Edmond Santa Fe 14
Del City at Booker T. Washington
Michael Swisher: Del City 33, Booker T. Washington 20
Ben Johnson: Del City 23, Booker T. Washington 19
Whitt Carter: Del City 27, Booker T. Washington 21
Randy Turney: Booker T. Washington 21, Del City 20
Lawton at Bixby
Michael Swisher: Bixby 28, Lawton 13
Ben Johnson: Bixby 28, Lawton 7
Whitt Carter: Bixby 41, Lawton 21
Randy Turney: Bixby 42, Lawton 20
Sapulpa at Midwest City
Michael Swisher: Midwest City 39, Sapulpa 24
Ben Johnson: Midwest City 36, Sapulpa 20
Whitt Carter: Midwest City 35, Sapulpa 14
Randy Turney: Midwest City 42, Sapulpa 7
Altus at Bishop McGuinness
Michael Swisher: Bishop McGuinness 28, Altus 14
Ben Johnson: Bishop McGuinness 24, Altus 16
Whitt Carter: Bishop McGuinness 37, Altus 24
Randy Turney: Bishop McGuinness 24, Altus 14
Guthrie at Duncan
Michael Swisher: Duncan 14, Guthrie 12
Ben Johnson: Duncan 20, Guthrie 13
Whitt Carter: Duncan 28, Guthrie 27
Randy Turney: Guthrie 21, Duncan 14
Claremore at Edison
Michael Swisher: Edison 24, Claremore 22
Ben Johnson: Claremore 29, Edison 23
Whitt Carter: Edison 34, Claremore 28
Randy Turney: Claremore 23, Edison 21
Coweta at Tahlequah
Michael Swisher: Tahlequah 27, Coweta 23
Ben Johnson: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 27
Whitt Carter: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 21
Randy Turney: Tahlequah 30, Coweta 16
Hilldale at Bristow
Michael Swisher: Bristow 38, Hilldale 30
Ben Johnson: Bristow 29, Hilldale 18
Whitt Carter: Bristow 37, Hilldale 31
Randy Turney: Bristow 42, Hilldale 10
Catoosa at Broken Bow
Michael Swisher: Broken Bow 30, Catoosa 12
Ben Johnson: Broken Bow 20, Catoosa 10
Whitt Carter: Catoosa 27, Broken Bow 24
Randy Turney: Broken Bow 38, Catoosa 20
Blanchard at Cache
Michael Swisher: Blanchard 31, Cache 30
Ben Johnson: Cache 37, Blanchard 32
Whitt Carter: Cache 21, Blanchard 20
Randy Turney: Blanchard 32, Cache 14
Seminole at Berryhill
Michael Swisher: Berryhill 28, Seminole 20
Ben Johnson: Berryhill 36, Seminole 27
Whitt Carter: Seminole 37, Berryhill 35
Randy Turney: Berryhill 28, Seminole 14
Stigler at Locust Grove
Michael Swisher: Locust Grove 19, Stigler 16
Ben Johnson: Locust Grove 23, Stigler 22
Whitt Carter: Stigler 28, Locust Grove 26
Randy Turney: Locust Grove 24, Stigler 16
John Marshall at Plainview
Michael Swisher: John Marshall 22, Plainview 20
Ben Johnson: John Marshall 30, Plainview 26
Whitt Carter: Plainview 35, John Marshall 31
Randy Turney: John Marshall 27, Plainview 20
Victory Christian at Metro Christian
Michael Swisher: Victory Christian 30, Metro Christian 24
Ben Johnson: Metro Christian 42, Victory Christian 27
Whitt Carter: Metro Christian 34, Victory Christian 21
Randy Turney: Metro Christian 30, Victory Christian 24
Kellyville at Perry
Michael Swisher: Perry 24, Kellyville 21
Ben Johnson: Perry 24, Kellyville 17
Whitt Carter: Perry 27, Kellyville 20
Randy Turney: Perry 34, Kellyville 20
Spiro at Eufaula
Michael Swisher: Eufaula 20, Spiro 19
Ben Johnson: Eufaula 32, Spiro 22
Whitt Carter: Spiro 21, Eufaula 18
Randy Turney: Eufaula 24, Spiro 23
Okemah at Oklahoma Christian School
Michael Swisher: OCS 38, Okemah 20
Ben Johnson: OCS 43, Okemah 32
Whitt Carter: OCS 35, Okemah 28
Randy Turney: OCS 34, Okemah 21
Chisholm at Meeker
Michael Swisher: Meeker 30, Chisholm 28
Ben Johnson: Meeker 31, Chisholm 19
Whitt Carter: Chisholm 24, Meeker 20
Randy Turney: Meeker 32, Chisholm 14
Christian Heritage at Ringling
Michael Swisher: Ringlng 30, Christian Heritage 22
Ben Johnson: Ringlng 26, Christian Heritage 21
Whitt Carter: Ringling 31, Christian Heritage 28
Randy Turney: Ringling 28, Christian Heritage 7
Thomas at Frederick
Michael Swisher: Frederick 24, Thomas 14
Ben Johnson: Thomas 26, Frederick 22
Whitt Carter: Thomas 37, Frederick 24
Randy Turney: Thomas 14, Frederick 13
Central Sallisaw at Wayne
Michael Swisher: Central Sallisaw 34, Wayne 32
Ben Johnson: Wayne 33, Central Sallisaw 27
Whitt Carter: Wayne 42, Central Sallisaw 38
Randy Turney: Wayne 28, Central Sallisaw 18
Wynnewood at Gore
Michael Swisher: Gore 31, Wynnewood 28
Ben Johnson: Wynnewood 34, Gore 31
Whitt Carter: Gore 35, Wynnewood 31
Randy Turney: Wynnewood 20, Gore 18
Yale at Foyil
Michael Swisher: Foyil 30, Yale 22
Ben Johnson: Yale 44, Foyil 29
Whitt Carter: Yale 44, Foyil 36
Randy Turney: Yale 42, Foyil 12
Pioneer at Seiling
Michael Swisher: Seiling 24, Pioneer 21
Ben Johnson: Pioneer 45, Seiling 19
Whitt Carter: Seiling 42, Pioneer 40
Randy Turney: Pioneer 27, Seiling 22
Covington-Douglas at Paoli
Michael Swisher: Paoli 38, Covington-Douglas 28
Ben Johnson: Paoli 39, Covington-Douglas 28
Whitt Carter: Paoli 42, Covington-Douglas 32
Randy Turney: Paoli 34, Covington-Douglas 22
Medford at Graham-Dustin
Michael Swisher: Graham-Dustin 50, Medford 33
Ben Johnson: Graham-Dustin 49, Medford 32
Whitt Carter: Graham-Dustin 38, Medford 34
Randy Turney: Medford 34, Graham-Dustin 20
Tyrone at Fox
Michael Swisher: Tyrone 40, Fox 35
Ben Johnson: Tyrone 38, Fox 37
Whitt Carter: Fox 46, Tyrone 38
Randy Turney: Tyrone 38, Fox 20
Midway at Coyle
Michael Swisher: Coyle 39, Midway 30
Ben Johnson: Coyle 55, Midway 22
Whitt Carter: Coyle 36, Midway 30
Randy Turney: Coyle 48, Midway 12
Let us know what you think. Tweet your predictions to us at @Skordle.