Pawnee Black Bears
Pawnee, OK 74058
Record: 8-3 | Unranked
|@ Langston Hughes||W||22-40|
|@ Langston Hughes||W||22-40|
| Ben Johnson
The playoffs are here! Well, not quite but for some teams it will feel that way. Some teams are playing to extend their seasons while some are playing to better position themselves for long postseason runs. Week 10 is always a whirlwind, so buckle up and hold on!
Here's what's on tap:
1. 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (9-0) at 6AII No. 4 Del City (7-2): It has been a day or two since Stillwater last laid claim to a district championship. Since 1995 to be exact. Pioneers can clinch the District 6AII-1 title with a win. A Del City victory (plus a Midwest City win over PC West) creates a three-way tie at the top of the district with district points deciding the champion. Stillwater is 2-0 against Del City, but they haven't played since 2007.
2. 5A No. 1 Carl Albert at 5A No. 4 Bishop McGuinness (8-1): If these two are squaring off, there's always something significant on the line. Last season it was the Class 5A championship. This time, it's for 5A-2 supremacy. The winner claims the district crown. For Carl Albert, it would two years in a row. For the Irish, it would be the third district title in four years.
3. A No. 2 Cashion (9-0) at A No. 3 Minco (8-1): Take the Stillwater-Del City playoff scenario and apply it here. Cashion wins the District A-3 title with a win. A victory for Minco creates a logjam atop the district with Crossings Christian off for the way and cemented at 7-1 in the district. A Cashion win also moves Minco to third.
4. 2A No. 2 Sperry (9-0) at 2A No. 4 Beggs (8-1): It's been 77 years -- SEVENTY. SEVEN. -- since Sperry was 9-0. The Pirates have won a district title more recently than that (1992), but it's still been a long time for that, too. Beggs, on the other hand, is coming off a runner-up finish in Class 3A, so this is familiar territory for the Demons. The winner here claims the District 2A-3 title, and the loser finishes second. The quarterback matchup -- Sperry's Beau Tell against Beggs' Dalton Spring -- should be a good one, too.
5. 3A No. 3 John Marshall (8-1) at 3A No. 7 Kingfisher (6-3): Winner finishes second in 3A-1 and gets a home playoff game. Loser finishes third and hits the road -- likely to Plainview -- in the first round of the playoffs.
6. 4A No. 8 Hilldale (8-1) at 4A No. 1 Poteau (9-0): Poteau will have to reverse a recent trend if it wants to win District 4A-4. The Pirates can win the district with a win, but a Hilldale victory likely creates a three-team tie atop the standings with Broken Bow also involved. The streak Poteau has to end is its losing ways to Hilldale, who has beaten the Pirates four times in a row, dating bcak to 2010. Poteau's last win over Hilldale was 2009.
7. 6AI No. 7 Owasso (5-4) at 6AI No. 5 Putnam City North (8-1): Neither one can catch Union in 6AI-2, but the Panthers can lock up second place with a win over Owasso, the reigning 6AI champion. An Owasso win likely means the Rams, PC North finish in a tie for second and resort to district points. A win for PC North would be its first ever against Owasso. The Rams are 4-0 all-time against PC North.
8. 5A No. 7 Tahlequah (8-1) at 5A No. 9 Claremore (6-3): This one is simple enough -- winner gets second place in 5A-4, the loser finishes third. The running back battle between Tahlequah's Dae Dae Leathers and Claremore's Jace Hightower should be fun to watch.
9. 6AII No. 2 Bixby (8-1) at 6AII No. 7 Muskogee (6-3): Regardless of records, it seems as though Bixby always struggles with Muskogee. The Spartans have secured the 6AII-2 title and can look toward a home playoff game next week, while Muskogee needs a win to finish third in 6AII-2.
10. 5A No. 5 Altus (8-1) at 5A No. 10 Duncan (8-1): Same at the Tahlequah-Claremore game -- winner gets second place, loser finishes third.
Edmond Santa Fe at Norman: The Wolves are in the playoffs, but a win would assure a third-place finish. A Norman victory gives the Tigers a chance to make the playoffs with Westmoore headed to Jenks.
Ada at Edison: Winner finishes second in 5A-3, loser gets third since both Edison and Ada are vastly ahead of McAlester in district points.
Clinton at Cache: The Red Tornadoes are no strangers to district titles with 38, according to Iwasatthegame.com. Yet, Clinton hasn't won one since 2011. Cache hasn't won one since 1983. It's a winner-take-all game in 4A-1.
Oologah at Catoosa: A Catoosa win likely means third place and would leave Bristow and Wagoner to settle the district title. An Oologah victory likely means Bristow, Wagoner and Oologah finish tied for the district title, and would likely go to Bristow based on district points.
Checotah at Lincoln Christian: Well, the best way to describe the District 3A-3 standings is jumbled. But don't over-think it. More likely than not, Seminole, Stigler and Idabel should bag victories this week, so this game will decide whether there's a five-way tie for first place or a three-way tie for second place. Either way, it's all about district points at that stage.
Locust Grove at Vinita: After Berryhill at the top of this district, it gets a bit chaotic. Vinita need to win to keep its playoff hopes alive, whereas Locust Grove claims second place with a win.
Lindsay at Kingston: Even if Lindsay wins here, Kingston will have wrapped up its first district championship since 1987. That's how sizeable Kingston's district points lead is.
Panama at Holland Hall: The Dutch win a district title with a win over Panama, whereas a Panama victory likely hands the district title to Vian.
Christian Heritage at Crescent: Someone's season will end here. District A-3 is deep so this game will decide who finishes fourth. Crazy to think Crescent could go from Class A runner-up to out of the playoffs, but that's the scenario headed into this week's slate of games.
Pawhuska at Pawnee: Pawnee has to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. A Pawhuska win would assure the Huskies of third place in District A-5.
Hobart at Frederick: Simple enough on this one. The winner claims the District A-2 title and the loser finishes second.
Ringling at Apache: Did you read the Hobart-Frederick breakdown? Same thing applies here. Would be Ringling's eighth straight district title.
Gore at Central Sallisaw: Gore is looking for its first district championship since 2011. A Central Sallisaw win would give it a chance at a district title for the first time since 2001.
Weleetka at Wetumka: District B-5 will be decide in this one. Winner gets first place, loser gets second place.
Regent Prep at Foyil: These two clubs have played some stout defense this year, giving up only a combined 112 points in 17 games. The better defense here will help its win a district championship. The loser of the game stays home for the playoffs but won't claim a district title.
Paoli at Graham-Dustin: Winner claims the District C-4 championship. Loser finishes second.
*Photo courtesy of Jason Elmquist/Stillwater NewsPress
| Ben Johnson
Well, I can't lie, my performance in Week 3 was disgraceful. It's been a rough go of it for myself and Whitt this season. But we're just waiting for district play to kick it into gear.
Week 3 picks - Swisher 11-3 | Coach Turney 10-4 | Whitt 9-5 | Ben 8-6
Overall - Swisher 51-22 | Turney 48-25 | Ben 43-30 | Whitt 42-31
Week 4 picks comin' at ya:
Jenks at Broken Arrow
Michael Swisher: Broken Arrow 23, Jenks 14
Ben Johnson: Broken Arrow 24, Jenks 17
Whitt Carter: Broken Arrow 27, Jenks 17
Randy Turney: Broken Arrow 21, Jenks 20
Blanchard at Bethany
Michael Swisher: Blanchard 34, Bethany 25
Ben Johnson: Blanchard 32, Bethany 27
Whitt Carter: Blanchard 34, Bethany 31
Randy Turney: Blanchard 28, Bethany 7
Lawton at Midwest City
Michael Swisher: Midwest City 35, Lawton 30
Ben Johnson: Lawton 21, Midwest City 20
Whitt Carter: Midwest City 27, Lawton 17
Randy Turney: Midwest City 35, Lawton 31
Owasso at Union
Michael Swisher: Owasso 38, Union 30
Ben Johnson: Union 34, Owasso 28
Whitt Carter: Union 42, Owasso, 40
Randy Turney: Union 28, Owasso 24
Thomas at Hooker
Michael Swisher: Hooker 21, Thomas 18
Ben Johnson: Hooker 25, Thomas 24
Whitt Carter: Thomas 21, Hooker 14
Randy Turney: Hooker 20, Thomas 14
Noble at Duncan
Michael Swisher: Duncan 22, Noble 7
Ben Johnson: Duncan 28, Noble 24
Whitt Carter: Duncan 28, Noble 14
Randy Turney: Duncan 24, Noble 13
Wagoner at Catoosa
Michael Swisher: Wagoner 24, Catoosa 22
Ben Johnson: Catoosa 20, Wagoner 17
Whitt Carter: Wagoner 27, Catoosa 24
Randy Turney: Wagoner 34, Catoosa 20
Bixby at Sapulpa
Michael Swisher: Bixby 29, Sapulpa 20
Ben Johnson: Bixby 33, Sapulpa 31
Whitt Carter: Bixby 42, Sapulpa 21
Randy Turney: Bixby 30, Sapulpa 14
Lawton MacArthur at Ardmore
Michael Swisher: Ardmore 31, Lawton MacArthur 22
Ben Johnson: Ardmore 32, Lawton MacArthur 23
Whitt Carter: Ardmore 34, Lawton MacArthur 21
Randy Turney: Ardmore 22, Lawton MacArthur 7
Cashion at Christian Heritage
Michael Swisher: Cashion 33, Christian Heritage 14
Ben Johnson: Cashion 41, Christian Heritage 17
Whitt Carter: Cashion 37, Christian Heritage 27
Randy Turney: Cashion 34, Christian Heritage 14
Guthrie at Piedmont
Michael Swisher: Guthrie 28, Piedmont 21
Ben Johnson: Guthrie 30, Piedmont 20
Whitt Carter: Guthrie 21, Piedmont 13
Randy Turney: Guthrie 31, Piedmont 13
Stigler at Lincoln Christian
Michael Swisher: Lincoln Christian 31, Stigler 24
Ben Johnson: Lincoln Christian 22, Stigler 20
Whitt Carter: Lincoln Christian 38, Stigler 28
Randy Turney: Lincoln Christian 38, Stigler 20
Chandler at Jones
Michael Swisher: Jones 30, Chandler 19
Ben Johnson: Chandler 17, Jones 16
Whitt Carter: Jones 32, Chandler 20
Randy Turney: Jones 42, Chandler 14
Haskell at Sperry
Michael Swisher: Sperry 34, Haskell 10
Ben Johnson: Sperry 27, Haskell 20
Whitt Carter: Sperry 34, Haskell 13
Randy Turney: Sperry 20, Haskell 14
Meeker at Kellyville
Michael Swisher: Kellyville 19, Meeker 14
Ben Johnson: Kellyville 22, Meeker 18
Whitt Carter: Kellyville 21, Meeker 17
Randy Turney: Kellyville 18, Meeker 14
Spiro at Vian
Michael Swisher: Vian 33, Spiro 23
Ben Johnson: Vian 29, Spiro 21
Whitt Carter: Vian 42, Spiro 21
Randy Turney: Vian 31, Spiro 20
Pawnee at Tonkawa
Michael Swisher: Tonkawa 24, Pawnee 18
Ben Johnson: Tonkawa 20, Pawnee 16
Whitt Carter: Tonkawa 37, Pawnee 26
Randy Turney: Tonkawa 28, Pawnee 20
Davenport at Strother
Michael Swisher: Davenport 55, Strother 20
Ben Johnson: Davenport 61, Strother 12
Whitt Carter: Davenport 50, Strother 14
Randy Turney: Davenport 58, Strother 12
Let us know what you think. Tweet your predictions to us at @Skordle.
| 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. 6AI No. 2 Jenks (3-0) at 6AI No. 1 Broken Arrow (3-0): This game was an offensive showcase for both teams last year, despite a relatively low-scoring 26-13 final, which was won by Jenks. Both teams accumulated more than 400 yards on offense, and Noah Cortes rushed for 164 yards on 22 carries. But it was Jenks quarterback Ian Corwin who passed for 365 yards and three scores. And thus Jenks' domination of Broken Arrow throughout the years continued. The Trojans have gone 14-2 against Broken Arrow since the Tigers won back-to-back seasons against Jenks in 2002 and '03.
2. 4A No. 1 Blanchard (3-0) at 4A No. 5 Bethany (3-0): Heck of a way to get things started in 4A-2. Blanchard is 6-3 against Bethany since 2008, but the two club have altered wins in the series since 2013. And it was Blanchard who won last year, 17-0.
3. 6AII No. 6 Lawton at 6AII No. 2 Midwest City (2-1): Expect points aplenty. Between Lawton's Miles Davis and Midwest City's Preston Colbert, there should be plenty of offensive fireworks. Midwest City has won the last two meetings, including a 41-35 victory last season.
4. 6AI No. 3 Owasso (1-2) at 6AI No. 4 Union (1-2): The Rams have scored at will this season with Will Kuehne at quarterback, but Owasso's defense has failed to stop anyone. Owasso is yielding an average of 44 points per game, and that's exactly how much Union scored against the Rams in last year's regular-season showdown. But then Owasso got its revenge with a 21-14 victory in the 6AI title game.
5. A No. 5 Thomas (2-1) at A No. 1 Hooker (3-0): Hooker has punished some out-of-state teams recently with wins over Booker (Texas) and Clayton (New Mexico). But now the Bulldogs return the the Sooner State and get fifth-ranked Thomas in District 1 play. Thomas won last year's game, 20-0, and expect another moderately low-scoring game again this year.
6. 5A No. 10 Noble (2-1) at 5A No. 8 Duncan (3-0): Talk a one-sided matchup throughout history. Since 1999, Duncan is 8-0 against Noble and the closest result along the way a 21-0 win for Duncan in 2006. The rest have been routs, including the last meeting between the two -- a 41-0 pummeling in 2011.
7. 4A No. 2 Wagoner (3-0) at Catoosa (3-0): Copy and paste the Noble-Duncan series information here. Only it's Wagoner owning the series for more than two decades. Since 1996, Wagoner is 10-1 against Catoosa, with the Indians' lone victory in 2011 (45-27). The two clubs have shared District 4A-3 real estate since 2010, and this one will go a long way in determining who finishes atop 4A-3 this year.
8. 6AII No. 3 Bixby (2-1) at 6AII No. 8 Sapulpa (3-0): Eli Williams and Co. have posted some impressive wins over Edison, Claremore and East Central and are off to a 3-0 start -- the best start to a Chieftains' season since going 4-0 to begin the 2013 campaign. The winning streak in 2013 was snapped by Jenks in Week 5 and Bixby followed with a win over the Chieftains. That actually began a current five-game winning streak for the Spartans over Sapulpa, including last year's 48-10 rout.
9. Lawton MacArthur (1-1) at 5A No. 2 Ardmore (3-0): The Tigers may be the higher-ranked team here, but it's been Lawton MacArthur with all the wins in this series dating back to 2005. The Highlanders won last season against Ardmore, 36-7, but the games in 2016 and 2015 were both decided by one point apiece.
10. A No. 2 Cashion (4-0, 1-0 A-3) at Christian Heritage (2-1, 1-0): These two reunite for the first time since 2009. The Wildcats' offense gets its rightful share of attention, but so far it's been the Cashion defense that has been dominant, allowing a total of 18 points through four games. And in an incredibly-deep District A-3, every victory is important.
5A No. 9 Guthrie at Piedmont: Bluejays are 7-1 since the two started playing each other in 2006.
Stigler at 3A No. 4 Lincoln Christian: District 3A-3 is going to be deep, and someone among Lincoln Christian, Seminole, Stigler, Checotah and Idabel is going to miss the playoffs. Look for plenty of offensive fireworks in this one.
Chandler at 2A No. 4 Jones: Jones is 4-0 against Chandler since 1999, including a 58-6 victory in last year's playoffs.
Haskell at 2A No. 2 Sperry: The last time these two met was 2007 -- a 20-7 win for Sperry.
Meeker at Kellyville: Both clubs are off to surprising 3-0 starts, and they meet for the first time.
Spiro at 2A No. 3 Vian: Wolverines are 4-0 against Spiro since 2006, including a 32-14 win in the last meeting in 2013.
Pawnee at Tonkawa: Playoffs spots in District A-5 look like they will be difficult to come by with the likes of Barnsdall, Morrison, Pawhuska, Tonkawa and Pawnee off to solid starts. Since 2008, Tonkawa has won seven of eight meetings against the Black Bears.
B No. 2 Davenport at Strother: The Bulldogs have mercy-ruled Strother the past two seasons, but Strother is coming off solid wins of its own against Bowlegs and Sasakwa. One problem for Strother: Davenport posted 80 points last week!
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
| Ben Johnson
Look back at 2017
2017 district champs
A-1: Thomas - The Terriers hit the half-century mark in district titles with an unbeaten run against A-1 foes. A 20-0 win over Hooker set the stage for a district crown, and that was part of the Terriers' 10-game winning streak, which continued into December. But Afton derailed Thomas' playoff run in the semifinals.
A-2: Watonga - A September win over Cordell proved to be the deciding factor for the A-2 crown for Watonga. The Eagles went on to avenge a season-opening loss against Okeene with a win to open the playoffs, but then Watonga was dispatched from the postseason in the next round against Oklahoma Christian Academy.
A-3: Ringling - The Blue Devils knocked off Apache to begin district play, and they rolled the rest of the way against A-3 opponents. Ringling's playoff run lasted until the second round when Hooker moved on to the quarterfinals.
A-4: Minco - Led by Cole Burchfield in the backfield, Minco motored to the district title last year. Eleven straight wins, including six in district play, preceded Minco's run to the Class A quarterfinals, where the Bulldogs were beaten by Afton.
A-5: Crescent - Cashion, Pawnee and Morrison were no match for the Tigers during district play. Crescent manhandled every opponent it faced in its first 14 games, including wins over Cashion (54-14), Morrison (51-24) and Pawnee (35-14) during the regular season. The Tigers' unbeaten run, though, came to a halt in the Class A title game, which ended with a 44-12 loss to Afton.
A-6: Kiefer - The Trojans started the season 0-4, but a 34-14 win over Woodland in late September turned Kiefer's season around. Kiefer, Woodland and Hominy all finished atop the district at 5-1, but it was the Trojans who prevailed, thanks to district points. Kiefer, though, was bounced quickly from the playoffs, a 28-0 loss to Morrison in the opening round of the postseason.
A-7: Afton - The Eagles labored through a stout district -- that included Rejoice Christian, Barnsdall and Hulbert -- and emerged unscathed. A 22-20 victory over Rejoice Christian in mid October propelled Afton a district title, and from there the Eagles went into cruise control the rest of the season. In the playoffs, Afton outscored its opponents 214 to 46.
A-8: Talihina - Led by seniors Heath Humphreys and Sooner Box, the Tigers coasted to the A-8 crown. Talihina dismantled Central Sallisaw, 36-0, in a showdown of the district's top two teams. The Tigers finished the regular season 9-1 and beat Barnsdall in the opening round of the playoffs before being upset by Hominy in the second round.
Talking title game: Afton 44, Crescent 12
Afton quarterback Wil Amos put on a show for the ages. Crescent had no answer for Amos on either side of the ball, with the Eagles' senior signal caller racking up 418 yards and six touchdowns on 39 carries to lead Afton to its first football championship. Amos added an interception on defense, while the Eagles held Crescent to 196 yards of offense.
On to 2018...
Players to watch
- Landon McCracken (Apache): An offensive stalwart during his junior season in 2017. He passed for 2,591 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 202 of 309 passes. He also ran for 776 yards and eight touchdowns on 92 carries.
- Griffin Lamb (Cashion): While leading Cashion to a 9-3 season, Lamb was the Wildcats' offensive catalyst. He racked up 2,250 yards and 31 touchdowns through the air while completing 66.3 percent (138 of 208) of his passes.
- Hunter Bowers (Crescent): The Tigers' junior quarterback was a driving force in getting Crescent to the Class A championship game. An ankle injury limited his output in the title game, but his numbers all season long were outstanding. He passed for 2,250 yards and 34 touchdowns with 121 completions on 195 attempts. He also mixed in 1,052 yards and 22 touchdowns on 129 carries.
- Tanner McBee (Hooker): A difference maker on both sides of the ball. He amassed 1,165 yards and 17 touchdowns on 207 carries, and on defense he collected 68 tackles and three interceptions.
- Karder Neville (Hooker): As a junior, Neville reeled in 40 receptions for 731 yards and eight touchdowns. He also totaled 80 tackles and three sacks on defense.
- Nathan Malchaski and Garrett Malchaski (Dibble): Defensive pair racked up a ton of tackles in 2017. Nathan, a sophomore last season, had 126 tackles and four tackles, while Garrett notched 115 tackles and four tackles as a junior.
- Tyler Grove (Wynnewood): Sophomore season saw Grove blossom into a solid contributor with 882 yards and 10 touchdowns passing. On defense, he hauled in four interceptions, and he also punted 15 times with a 35.8 yard average.
- Josh Harvey (Healdton): There were 121 tackles on defense during his sophomore campaign to go with 440 yards and seven touchdowns on 69 carries on offense.
- Dylan Roach (Hominy): Burst onto the scene during his junior season. He racked up 2,264 yards and 31 touchdowns on 155 carries. However, he did that while leading Prue to an 11-3 season, and he's transferred to Hominy for his senior season.
- Blake Hipp (Hominy): The signal caller alongside Roach in the backfield. A 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior who passed for 1,753 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, on top of rushing for 547 yards and nine touchdowns on 101 carries.
- Joe Smith (Barnsdall): Came up just short of 1,000 yards during his junior season. He piled up 951 yards and 12 touchdowns on 91 carries.
- Tommy Smith (Gore): The 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior was a key cog on both sides of the ball as a junior in 2017. He ran the ball 210 times for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns, and he added 79 tackles and an interception.
- Josh Factor (Kiefer): At middle linebacker, Factor racked up 103 tackles as a sophomore last season for the Trojans.
- Andrew Crow (Rejoice Christian): Emerged as the Eagles' primary threat out of the backfield with 1,054 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2017.