Prague Red Devils
Prague, OK 74864
Record: 5-5 | Unranked
| Ben Johnson
State tournament wrestling is back. It's the weekend that every high school wrestler circles on the calendar. Now time to make predictions for every single weight class inside Jim Norick Arena.
Brackets posted here
106: Cruz Aguilar (Edmond Memorial): Spent his freshman season at Heritage Hall, where he finished second at 106 in 2017. Almost went with Owasso’s Jared Campbell or Sand Springs’ Brendon Wiseley, but opted for a Bulldog to win a title for the first time since Johny Hendricks in 2002.
113: Tucker Owens (Mustang): Finished second as a freshman last season at 113. A title for Owens would be the first for the Broncos since 2005 -- and only the second since 1999.
120: Zach Blankenship (Bixby): Has burst onto the scene as a freshman for the Spartans this season. Blankenship’s only loss of the season was to Sand Springs’ Seth Jones, when Bixby bumped Blankenship up a weight class for a regular-season dual. Blankenship is 27-0 at 120 pounds this season, including a dominant run through last week’s regional in Jenks. Nic Roller (220 pounds in 2016) won Bixby’s last state championship, but before him was Shane Roller in 1998.
126: Carter Young (Stillwater): Upended Yukon’s Studd Morris for the 106 crown in 6A last season. But he did it at Sand Springs. Now at 126, Young has potential obstacles in his way, like Broken Arrow’s Blazik Perez (27-9) and Bartlesville’s Laif Jones (last year’s 6A champion at 120). Should mention, Stillwater also has gone two years without a state champion. Young could bring that to a halt.
132: Reece Witcraft (Broken Arrow): Went from second at 126 with Coweta in 2017 to state champion last year with Broken Arrow at 126. Witcraft, ranked fifth in the nation on InterMat, pinned Choctaw’s Colt Newton in the finals last year, and this year it could be a semifinals matchup. The two didn’t clash at dual state, so a semifinal showdown would be the first in a year. The 132 field is loaded, for sure. Edmond Memorial’s Jackson Oplotnik (20-5), Mustang’s Keegan Luton (33-10) and Owasso’s Zeke Washington (34-4 and 6A’s runner-up at 120 last season) all share space on the top half of the bracket. Witcraft has been hobbled by a bum ankle, but he beat Washington 7-2 in the regional finals so there’s little doubt he’ll be ready to go in Oklahoma City.
138: Peter Rolle (Edmond Memorial): There was some personal anguish in making a selection here. So many qualified wrestlers in this field that it was hard to pick who might finish above the fray. Ultimately, sided with Rolle, because why not? The Edmond Memorial senior is 30-5, and he’s got Deer Creek’s Parker Wright (32-8) and Broken Arrow’s Blake Gonzalez (21-7) on his side of the bracket. Then there’s Mustang’s Cameron Picklo (41-3) and Ponca City’s Spencer Schrickram (39-2) on the bottom half of the bracket. This weight will be a gauntlet to get through.
145: Gabe Johnson (Choctaw): Went from not placing as a freshman at 106 in 2017 to a runner-up spot at 132 last season for the Yellowjackets. Lost in last year’s finals to Ponca City’s Dylan Schickram, 7-3. And another tough field awaits Johnson, including Edmond North’s Jaxon Randall (24-11) on Johnson’s half of the bracket. Then there’s Deer Creek’s Micah Lugafet (21-3), Enid’s Chance Davis (21-5) and Ja’len Hernandez (35-5) in the bottom half of the bracket. Would be Choctaw’s first championship at 145 since Jaryn Curry in 2016.
152: Drake Vannoy (Jenks): This one was tough to pick. Sand Springs’ Scott Patton beat Vannoy for last week’s regional crown, but Vannoy was last year’s champion at 152. A championship for Vannoy would be Jenks’ first back-to-back champion since Justin DeAngelis won in 2008 through 2010.
160: Tate Picklo (Mustang): Went 35-4 as a freshman en route to a second-place showing at 145 last year in 6A. Now Picklo is 40-0 and ranked 11th in the country at 160. Putnam City’s Rene Martinez might be Picklo’s biggest challenge in the field, and Picklo beat Martinez in an 18-6 major decision to win last week’s regional crown.
170: Zane Coleman (Choctaw): Ranked sixth in the nation and looking to join the four-timers club. After two suspenseful championships during his freshman and sophomore years, Coleman cruised to last year’s title at 170 by pinning Broken Arrow’s Bryce Mattioda in the first period. Coleman, an Arizona State signee, enters his final state tournament with a record of 145-8 -- and only two losses in the last two seasons. Coleman’s only loss this year was in the 170 finals of the Geary Tournament, when he lost to Blair Academy’s Peyton Craft.
182: JT Stambeck (Norman North): Narrowly missed out on the 170 finals last season after enduring a 3-2 loss to Mattioda. Enters this year’s state tournament at 29-1. Would be the Timberwolves’ first state champion since Levi Berry (160) in 2013.
195: Carson Savage (Deer Creek): Entered last year’s state tournament as the No. 4 seed out of the West at 182. This season, Savage is 35-2 and the top seed from out west. He’ll have to contend with a deep field, though. Broken Arrow’s Gavin Potter (last year’s champion at 195), Sand Springs’ Kaden Glass (31-9), Union’s Elijah Tomlin (36-7) and Mustang’s Judson Rowland are all contenders. Took Savage over Potter after Savage picked up a 9-2 win over Potter at dual state a couple of weeks ago.
220: Zach Marcheselli (Broken Arrow): Another wrestler in 6A aiming to be a member of the four-timers club. Marcheselli, ranked ninth in the country, has been on cruise control for most of the season. After guiding the Tigers to their first football championship, Marcheselli, a Texas Christian University signee for football, could add to his collection of hardware in a 220 field that could end up seeing a rematch of the east regional last weekend. Marcheselli knocked off Edmond North’s Jake McCoy 8-2 for the regional crown, and both appear to be on a collision course for the finals in Oklahoma City.
285: Noah Cortes (Broken Arrow): Jenks’ Caleb Orr beat Cortes for the regional crown last week, but it was a 3-2 decision in an ultimate tiebreaker. This could go any direction, including Choctaw’s Marquan Journey (33-6) and Yukon’s Ashton Aldridge (32-7) vying for the title. Last year, Cortes didn’t even make it out of the pigtail round of the state tournament.
Brackets posted here
106: Cameron Steed (Collinsville): Should come as no surprise that Collinsville has yet more freshmen contending for championships at the lower weights. This year it’s Steed and Jordan Williams (below) as favorites in their respective fields. Steed tech-falled Coweta’s Brody Gee, 16-1, in the regional finals and don’t see any reason to think he won’t do the same to anyone he comes across in Oklahoma City.
113: Jordan Williams (Collinsville): Previously ranked sixth in the nation at 106 pounds, Williams has been unbeatable at both 106 and 113 this season. And this is a weight Collinsville has controlled for several years in recent memory with four championships since 2013 -- Davion Jeffries (2013), Christian Moody (2014), Caleb Tanner (2017) and Rocky Stephens (2018).
120: Rocky Stephens (Collinsville): Turned a third-place finish as a freshman into a state championship last year at 113 pounds. Could be stream-rolling straight ahead to a solid showdown in the finals between Stephens and Carl Albert’s Jayston Cato (33-2).
126: Josh Taylor (Skiatook): Surprising turn of events at the east regional last week with Collinsville freshman Jordan Cullors knocking off Taylor, 2-1. But that loss for Taylor puts him on the top half of the bracket, and he avoids Tahlequah’s Jakob Lyons, who has routinely wrestled Taylor tough these past two seasons. Don’t be surprised if it’s a Taylor-Cullors rematch -- but this time for a state championship.
132: Caleb Tanner (Collinsville): Last year’s champ at 126, Tanner could put himself in position for a special senior year if he wins this year’s state championship at 132. It would be Tanner’s third state championship, and he would be a season away from joining Gary Wayne Harding and Will Steltzlen -- who both became four-time state champions at the 2014 5A state tournament.
138: Kobi Gomez (Altus): Someone other than a Collinsville wrestler will win a state championship in Oklahoma City this weekend. It just won’t feel much like it through the first handful of weights. Collinsville’s Connor Henson certainly has a shot at claiming the 138 crown, but I’m going with the reigning state champion here to win his second title. Could pave the way for two more special years for Gomez.
145: Gage Hight (Glenpool): It’s now or never for Hight. He’s knocked on the doorstep twice, but in back-to-back state tournaments he’s had to settle for second place. Last year, Coweta’s Ricky Turner who upended Hight, 3-2, in the finals after Hight had won the reginal matchup between the two. Durant’s Cody Hicks (32-3) and El Reno’s Jacob Catagas (22-3) are lurking, but surely it’s going to be Hight’s year.
152: Cougar Anderson (Skiatook): If the Bulldogs are going to challenge Collinsville for the team title, Anderson winning at 152 could be key. Anderson, a sophomore, is 35-0, and he’s on the same side of the bracket as El Reno’s Cole Thomas (28-3). Anderson was dominant last year en route to his first title, and expect him to be ready to roll in Oklahoma City.
160: Hunter Jump (Duncan): After second-place finishes as a freshman and sophomore at Lawton MacArthur, Jump picked up a title for the Highlanders last season at 160, and he did so in convincing fashion. Now at Duncan, Jump will enter a stout field that includes Skiatook’s Richie Lee (37-1) and El Reno’s Kord LaFoe (24-5). A title for Jump would be Duncan’s first since 2011 (Markwae Sanders and Justin Hughes).
170: Christian Maldonado (Lawton Mac): This is a wide open field. Maldonado was second to Coweta’s Talon Borror last season, and Maldonado is a week removed from knocking off Piedmont’s Braden Culp, 7-4. But Culp is more than capable to make a run at a championship. Same goes for Skiatook’s Hunter Hall. This is about as wide open as it gets.
182: Talon Borror (Coweta): In 2016, Lawton MacArthur’s Nick Mahan beat Borror in the 160 quarterfinals. Since then, Borror hasn’t lost inside Norick Arena. Borror stormed to titles in 2017 and 2018. He’s 35-2 and looking for a third title to cap his high school career. Standing in his way could be Lawton Ike’s Muhammad A Al Zeragi (23-1) and Piedmont’s Austin Cooley (28-2).
195: Cabe Dickerson (Altus): It was Piedmont’s Will Heindselman that knocked off Dickerson, 8-7, in an ultimate tiebreaker in last year’s state finals. It was a crushing end to Dickerson’s sophomore season, and then he followed it up with an elbow injury that’s limited him to 12 matches this season. But if Dickerson is a full strength, the 195 crown should be his to lose.
220: Korbin McLaughlin (Skiatook): This is could make things interesting late into the state tournament. If Skiatook is coming down to the wire against Collinsville or Piedmont for the team crown, the Bulldogs will need McLaughlin to pick up as many points as possible. McLaughlin has posted two fourth-place finishes, but if he captures a championship it could propel Skiatook to a title.
285: Josh Heindselman (Piedmont): It was a Heindselman party at last year’s state tournament with Josh (220) and Will (195) both capturing gold. Now Josh will aim for Piedmont’s second-ever title at heavyweight, despite being possibly the smallest guy in the field. Lawton Mac’s Montana Phillips is a two-time state champion, and he’ll be out for some revenge after getting pinned at 2:15 by Heindselman at last week’s regional tournament.
Brackets posted here
106: Eli Griffin (Cascia Hall): Ranked 15th in the country, Griffin is aiming for his second championship in as many years. In order for the sophomore to do so, he’ll have to navigate a field that looks a lot like it did in 2018. Returning as qualifiers at 106 are Tuttle’s Ashton Grounds (35-8) and Cushing’s Luke Ahrberg (31-3) -- and they share space in the top half of the bracket. One way or another, the finals in 106 will be extremely entertaining.
113: Garrett Steidley (Tuttle): After grabbing his first title as a sophomore last season, Steidley is a heavy favorite at 113. Steidley rolled through regionals last week, but he enters a field with some solid contenders from the east -- Sallisaw’s Kaleb Harris (25-6) and Mannford’s Wade Landrum (28-8).
120: Reese Davis (Tuttle): With some big wins under his belt as a freshman, perhaps none were bigger than his rally at dual state against Wagoner in the finals to keep the Tigers’ unbeaten streak intact throughout the entire weekend. That win was against Wagoner’s Braden Drake, and Davis breezed past Harrah’s Breaden Williams in the regional semifinals. Then he did the same against Heritage Hall’s Cole Allen in the regional finals. Davis could be hitting his stride at the right time as a freshman.
126: Thaddeus Long (McLain): This time there’s no Ryder Ramsey in Long’s way. Long was second to Ramsey at 126 last season, and before that he finished third at 106 for Union in 2017. If Long captures a title for the Titans, it would be the school’s first since Greg Hawkins won at 178 in 1977.
132: Ryder Ramsey (Tuttle): Picking up his first title as a sophomore last season, Ramsey entered the state tournament 36-9. Now he heads to Oklahoma City at 43-3 and another key cog in Tuttle’s deep lineup.
138: Val Park (Heritage Hall): Since 2012, the Chargers have produced 17 state champions, including Kaden Gfeller’s four-year run from 2014 to 2017. And while he might not join the four-timers club, Val Park has been a staple of consistency for Heritage Hall at the lower weights since teaming with Gfeller during his senior season in 2017. Park will be after his third title in as many years, winning previously at 113 (2017) and 132 (last season).
145: Brady DeArmond (Tuttle): Despite Tuttle being so utterly dominant across the board in 4A for quite some time now, last season’s state tournament felt a little off with Tuttle only claiming three state titles. And DeArmond was one that settled for third place after losing to Heritage Hall’s Carson West in the 145 semifinals. DeArmond enters a field that could pose some challenges, including Fort Gibson’s Cade Waltman, but DeArmond appears poised to snare his first title during his junior season.
152: Luke Surber (Tuttle): Elgin’s Jacob Butler dashed any hopes that Surber had of becoming a four-time state champion with a sudden victory win against Surber in last year’s 138 finals. Since then, Surber has been nearly unbeatable on the mat for the Tigers, including tournament titles at the MidCals in Gilroy, California, and an individual championship at the Geary Tournament in January. There are some quality wrestlers at 152 -- Cache’s Duncan Shafer (30-2), Bristow’s Anthony Bigpond (20-5), Catoosa’s Abel Perez (41-6) -- but good luck trying to knock off Surber this year.
160: Jacob Ahrberg (Cushing): It was a fourth-place finish for Ahrberg last year at 145, a year after not placing at 126. Now Ahrberg arrives in Oklahoma City at 23-0, fresh off a dominant run at the east regional in Catoosa. Madill’s Colt Crowson (26-5) could pose a significant threat to Ahrberg in the bottom half of the bracket, and then there’s Tuttle freshman Harley Andrews lurking in the top half. Also, a little surprising but a Cushing wrestler hasn’t won a title since 2014 (Gage Stallworth).
170: Dustin Plott (Tuttle): There might not be a better wrestler in the state right now than Plott, ranked third nationally and who has gone 88-1 over the course of his sophomore season and his current junior campaign. The lone loss was a 6-5 decision to Blair Academy’s Julian Ramirez in the Geary Tournament finals this January. Plott went fall-fall-major decision to win last year’s title at 160, so don’t be surprised this year with tech fall-fall-fall (or something impressive like that).
182: Gage Hockett (Cushing): There’s been a natural progression each year Hockett has been in the state tournament. As a freshman, he was third at 160 in 2017, and last season he finished second with a loss to Plott in the 160 finals in 4A. This season he returns to Norick Arena at 29-0 after taking down Cleveland’s Tyler Johnson (18-8) with an 8-5 decision in the regional finals. The winner between Anadarko’s John Mark Holton (29-6) and Oologah’s Landon Brown (30-6) could pose a threat to Hockett in the semifinals on Friday, though.
195: Carson Berryhill (Tuttle): A state champion as a sophomore in 2017, Berryhill lost to Heritage Hall’s Colton Denney in the 170 finals last season. But Berryhill bounced back in the fall by quarterbacking the Tigers to the 4A title, and now he sports a 37-1 mark (only loss to Mustang’s Judson Rowland at the Geary Tournament), heading into the state tournament. Berryhill has even worked his way up to 11th in the nation at 195. In Berryhill’s crosshairs in Oklahoma City could possibly be Poteau’s Nate Ulmer (32-1) and Cushing Eriq Simpson (34-2).
220: Luke Fortney (Bristow): Now a junior, the best Fortney has done at the state tournament was fourth at 195 last season. Now he’s 25-0 and coming off a solid weekend at regionals. He’s steamrolled his way to titles at the Chuck West Invitational and the Cushing tournament, and if Fortney can with a title he’d be Bristow’s first since 2007 (Kale Biggs at 160).
285: Griffon Williams (Madill): Guaranteed to not have a Tuttle winner here. It’s the one weight the Tigers didn’t qualify at. It’s a pretty balanced field that includes Wagoner’s Jaydn Marshall (31-12), Bristow’s Steven Marlow (23-7) and Blanchard’s Ryder Wiese (31-6). But this could be the year Madill wins its first individual title since 2003, when Brent Parkey picked up his third title in as many years.
Brackets posted here
106: Gabe Valencia (Perry): Finished fourth last year in his first crack at the state tournament. Now a junior, Valencia drops down a weight class and enters the final weekend at 44-6. At dual state, Valencia beat Marlow’s Case Rich, but the Outlaws will send Tyler Lawson (38-6) into the mix for a possible showdown against Valencia in the finals.
113: Ryan Smith (Perry): There’s a lot of quality depth at this weight, but none more superlative than Smith (43-2), last year’s champion at 106. Bridge Creek’s Kaden Smith (37-8) and Locust Grove’s Hunter Fitzpatrick (24-5) could make for tough semifinals draws, but Smith could be on a collusion course with Walters’ Remington White, the program’s only wrestler and a 2017 state champion. White to Plainview’s Jaxson Roney in the 113 finals, and it could be Smith standing in the way of only the second wrestling championship at Walters.
120: Alex Prince (Vinita): It was Perry’s Logan Smith -- the weight’s top seed from the east -- who pinned Prince in the final two seconds of their semifinal class at Perry last week. That leaves Prince (40-7) with a tough draw of Hinton’s Brian Pastrana (27-3) in the quarterfinals and possibly Smith (24-11) in the semifinals. If he advances beyond that, Checotah’s Luke Collett (28-6) or Newkirk’s Dayton Cary could be waiting in the finals. That’s quite a load for Prince in his junior season.
126: Kolton Smith (Bridge Creek): Two years in a row, Smith has watched while a Perry wrestler stood atop the podium. In 2017, Smith lost 7-4 to Perry’s Cale Betchan at 120, and last season Smith was on the wrong end of a 4-2 decision against Perry’s Cade Nicholas. And now, Smith enters as the top seed from the west after beating Marlow’s Anthony Orum (31-4) in the west finals. If a Bridge Creek wrestler wins a title this season, it would be the school’s first.
132: Dylan Avery (Perry): Now a junior, Perry will be after his second title in as many years. The field is deep at 132, though, with the likes of Sulphur’s Kolbe Madron (36-8), Marlow’s Jordan Taylor (42-5), Pawnee’s Wesley Scott (35-2) and Morris’ Kolby Adams (31-6).
138: Price Perrier (Pawhuska): Mike Perrier won a state championship at 136 in 1990. That’s Price’s father. Dax Perrior won a state championship at 160 in 2010. That’s Price’s brother. Price could be carrying on a family legacy with a title. But the field is a deep one. Plenty of candidates could snag the 138 crown -- Perkins-Tryon’s Ayron Lawson (30-7), Marlow’s Kobey Kizarr (43-4), Kingfisher’s Stone Snodgrass (29-8) and Salina’s Austin Wilkins (20-8).
145: Kolby DePron (Bridge Creek): Like his teammate, Kolton Smtih, DePron watched as a Perry wrestler celebrated a championship last year. As a freshman, DePron logged a second-place showing at 132. Now he’s the favorite at 145, despite plenty of qualified candidates -- Morris’ Ryan Allred (30-7), Geary’s Landon Holt (31-5) and Salina’s Brier Smith (46-3).
152: Hadyn Redus (Perry): A title would be Redus’ second in as many years. Redus pinned Little Axe’s Alec McDoulett in the third period of last year’s 138 finals, and sure enough, McDoulett is back in the same state tournament field as Redus again. Mangum’s Daelin Stacy (24-7), Pawnee’s Blake Skidgel and Comanche’s Gage Miller (33-5) all pose serious threats, too.
160: Cade Shrosphire (Checotah): The only state champion in the history of Checotah Public Schools will go for his second straight title as a senior now. This time the field is a tad deeper. Barnsdall’s Joe Smith (31-3) is on the top half of the bracket with Shrosphire, and Marlow’s Tyler Lavey (38-3) occupies the bottom half. And Shrosphire narrowly edged past Lavey in the regional finals, 3-2.
170: Bryce Carter (Sperry): The returning champion at this spot is Comanche’s Cade Cook (35-4), and he’s back as the top seed out of the west for his junior year. He could pair up with Jay’s Zach Coy (46-1) in the semifinals, and that could end up being a coin toss -- which is basically was when Cook beat Coy, 2-1, in last year’s quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Carter is up from 160 at this time last year, and he enters the state field at 33-2. And much like Tuttle’s Carson Berryhill, he’s going for the one-two punch of football-and-wrestling championships. And never count out Perry’s Jace Burdick (34-13), who finished second to Cook in last year’s 170 finals.
182: River Simon (Vian): Only two wrestlers have ever won state championships at Vian, and one just so happens to be Simon (2017 at 170; the other is Landon Decker in 2012). Simon, an Army signee, missed last year’s state tournament due to various injuries, and he hasn’t wrestled a full schedule to this point (only 22-1). But when he’s on the mat, he’s tough to beat. Sulphur’s Trey Kiser (36-7) is on the bottom half of the bracket, and he gets Vinita’s Zach Wattenbarger (43-3) in the quarterfinals. Then there’s Perry’s Kohl Owen (37-10), last year’s champion at 182.
195: Drake Barbee (Blackwell): What a story Barbee is. Endured a horrifying car accident two years ago, and now he’s back in the state tournament field as the top seed from the east. Barbee is 34-4 and he finished second at 182 at his last state tournament in 2017 -- when he wrestled for Stilwell. Already signed to wrestle at Arkansas-Little Rock in college, Barbee motored through the regional field, including a win by fall over Tonkawa’s Simeon Shepherd in the third period. The 195 field also features Little Axe’s Caeden Guthary (30-5), Hinton’s Denver Dahlenburg (29-3) and Perry’s Brandon Speikers (44-8).
220: Konner Doucet (Comanche): Already halfway to the four-timers club, Doucet, for the first time, enters the state tournament unbeaten in a season. He is 37-0 cruised through the regional tournament last weekend. Last year, he knocked off Sperry’s A.J. McEntire in the finals, 4-2, and as a freshman he was pegged as the 195 champion when Sulphur’s Dan Baker was disqualified in a controversial ending in extra time. Now Doucet is ranked sixth nationally at 220. Some of the others at 220 include Vinita’s Brodie Miller (39-6), Vian’s Cruz Partain (34-2) and Berryhill’s Nico Lopez.
285: Cooper Webb (Davis): Looking for his second straight title, Webb is 29-1 this season. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the likes of Geary’s Chase Merkey (33-3), Perry’s Teaguan Wilson (30-6) and Locust Grove’s Dalton Shatto (26-1). In fact, it was Webb who beat Shatto, 9-5, in last year’s heavyweight finals. Fun fact: Cooper’s brother, Conner Webb, won three titles for Davis from 2015 to 2017, and Cooper could still tie him with a championship this year and next.
**Photos courtesy of Austin Bernard/Owrestle.com
Have your own predictions or have feedback? Email me at email@example.com
| Ben Johnson
We are two weeks away from playoff games starting. But for now, it's time to hand out playoff berths and district titles.
Here's what's on tap for week nine:
1. 5A No. 4 Bishop McGuinness (7-1) at 5A No. 6 Guthrie (7-1): Laying low and waiting for the final two weeks of the season -- that's been Bishop McGuinness for about a month now. The playoffs essentially start now for the Irish with Guthrie in the crosshairs, followed by Carl Albert. The winner all but secures a home playoff game in the first round, whereas a Bishop McGuinness win sets up a showdown for the district title next week against the Titans. Should mention that Bishop McGuinness has won four of the past six matchups against Guthrie since 2012.
2. 6AI No. 2 Jenks (7-1) at 6AI No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (7-1): The Wolves had a chance to make a splash against Broken Arrow two weeks ago and got beat 35-7. But Edmond Santa Fe can still earn a home playoff game and all but wrap up second place in 6AI-1 with a victory. Jenks, meanwhile, has been on a roll since losing to Broken Arrow on Sept. 20
3. A No. 2 Cashion (8-0) at A No. 5 Crossings Christian (8-1): Another week, another District A-3 game in the top 10. This time, it's the top two teams clashing for the district title. This is it for Crossings Christian in the regular season; a win and the Knights enjoy a bye week in week 10 with the playoffs around the corner. A victory for Cashion will be followed by a another interesting matchup with Minco next week. Never a dull moment in A-3.
4. 4A No. 7 Catoosa (7-1) at 4A No. 5 Bristow (7-1): For the first time since 1989, these two I-44 establishments will square off, and thanks to Oologah and Wagoner it's a glorified mess atop 4A-3. Wagoner, Oologah, Bristow and Catoosa are all 4-1 in district play, so the winner of this one at least feels better about staying home for a first-round playoff matchup. Plus, Bristow's Tyler Wayland and Catoosa' Daniel Queen sharing a field is exciting within itself.
5. 6AII No. 5 Del City (6-2) at 6AII No. 4 Lawton (5-3): The Wolverines had Stillwater on the ropes, and they flat out gave up too many points against Midwest City. Del City was throttled last week by Midwest City. Needless to say, one of these two desperately needs a victory. The winner likely finishes third and earns a date at Booker T. Washington in the opening round of the playoffs. That's a much better option than venturing to Bixby.
6. 3A No. 5 Lincoln Christian (7-1) at 3A No. 9 Idabel (6-2): Raise your hand if you have a firm handle on how things are playing out in District 3A-3. Now put it down, because no one knows what's happening in that chaotic mess. Both Lincoln Christian and Idabel seem likely to be playoff representatives from 3A-3, so this one is more about district supremacy. It's likely the result will be whatever further creates havoc in that bizarro district.
7. Hominy (6-2) at A No. 9 Morrison (7-1): Class A has itself some stacked districts -- A-3 and A-5 come to mind. Here we have more A-5 hijinks afoot. Morrison has been dominant this season, outside of its loss to Tonkawa. Hominy's only district loss was a six-point setback against Pawhuska. Morrison's rushing attack against Hominy Hipp brothers (Blake and Mike) should be fun to watch. All eight clashes between these two have occurred since 2008, and Morrison has won six of them.
8. Skiatook (6-2) at 5A No. 3 Collinsville (8-0): A few weeks ago, this one looked like it had all the makings of a week nine district clash for the 5A-4 title. Then Skiatook went and lost to Tahlequah and Claremore and now appears to be almost assuredly locked into the No. 4 spot in the district. The Bulldogs, though, can claim some Highway 20 bragging rights with a win. Neither defense has given up more than 69 points this season, so expect plenty of carries and a quick game.
9. B No. 6 Dewar (7-1) at B No. 10 Keota (6-1): Perhaps the best defense not mentioned in the state resides in Keota this season. The Lions have given up only 58 points and only 14 in their last four games. Then there's Dewar, a team that's averaging 47.6 points per contest. Winner here claims the B-6 crown.
10. 4A No. 4 Blanchard (6-2) at Cushing (4-4): Upon further review, Cushing might have been overlooked early on this season. But the Tigers continue to churn out points, much like they've done in recent seasons. Bryce Madron is a running machine for the Lions, and Cushing's Wil Moyer continues to rack up passing yards every week. Expect some offensive fireworks in this one.
Westmoore at Norman: Fourth place in 6AI-1 is up for grabs here. Of course, being in the playoffs will mean a trip to Union in the first round. But, better to have a shot than closing up shop after the regular season.
Midwest City at Choctaw: Choctaw in desperate need of a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Any letdown from the Bombers after torching Del City last week?
Coweta at Bishop Kelley: The Comets have been coasting along in 5A-3 play this year. Their defense, though, should get a challenge from Coweta quarterback J.D. Geneva this week.
Perkins-Tryon at John Marshall: In a different district in 3A, Perkins would be competing for a district title. But the Demons' have the misfortune of being paired with Heritage Hall, John Marshall and Kingfisher. Still, though, don't sleep on Perkins-Tryon against the Bears this week.
Pauls Valley at Plainview: Winner likely finishes second in 3A-2 and welcomes Kingfisher to town in the first round of the playoffs. That's no picnic, but seems like a better option than traveling to John Marshall.
Verdigris at Locust Grove: Berryhill is the class of 3A-4, but Verdigris has worked itself into position to possibly host a playoff game. The Pirates' defense has been stingy this season, but next up is Verdigris quarterback Brant Hager and running back Hayden Hutchinson.
Okemah at Jones: The Longhorns haven't been challenged much this season. The Panthers need a win to keep playoff hopes alive in 3A-2.
Prague at Meeker: Staying in 3A-2, Meeker can solidify its spot in the No. 2 spot with a win. Prague is tussling with Kellyville and Okemah just to get into the playoffs.
Shattuck at Seiling: A victory for Shattuck wraps up the B-1 crown.
Tyrone at Pond Creek-Hunter: Buffalo has reigned supreme in C-1, so it's now down between PC-Hunter and Tyrone to claim the second spot.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo courtesy of Coweta football
| Ben Johnson
It's time for fall break, and some district titles could be decided this week.
Here's what's on tap:
1. 6AII No. 4 Midwest City (5-2) at 6AII No. 3 Del City (6-1): District 6AII-1 has become a three-team race, and this one will go a long way in deciding whether it's a two-horse race or not. If Midwest City wins, it remains a three-team sprint to the end -- so long as Del City knocks off Stillwater in two weeks. A win for Del City sets up a clash for district supremacy on Nov. 2. Midwest City has dominated this matchup with five straight wins dating back to 2013. Overall, Midwest City is 35-16 against its long-time rival.
2. 4A No. 2 Tuttle (7-0) at 4A No. 3 Blanchard (6-1): Buckle up for Blanchard tailback Bryce Madron against Tuttle's defense, which has yielded only 56 points this season. Also, can Blanchard slow down Tuttle quarterback Carson Berryhill? A win for Tuttle all but wraps up the 4A-2 crown. Since 2011, Blanchard has won four of the seven meetings, but before Tuttle had won all 13.
3. 4A No. 4 Bristow (7-0) at 4A No. 5 Wagoner (6-1): This had all the looks of two unbeaten teams clashing for district bragging rights up until Oologah upset Wagoner in overtime last week. Another loss all but keeps Wagoner from winning the 4A-3 crown, and it would be the first time since 2011 that the Bulldogs hadn't claimed a district title. As for Bristow, quarterback Tyler Wayland leads a dynamic rushing attack that's powered by a demoralizing offensive line. The Bulldogs will counter with Schyler Adair in the backfield.
4. 4A No. 7 Broken Bow (6-1) at 4A No. 1 Poteau (7-0): When it comes to two teams not liking one another, here is exhibit A. And this time the District 4A-4 title is up for grabs. A win for Broken Bow all but secures the district title, whereas Poteau still has Hilldale looming on the schedule. Neither one of these teams has given up more than 48 points this season, so don't expect a wild, high-scoring shootout. Poteau and Broken Bow have met every year since 1996, and it's been Poteau with wins in five victories in the last seven seasons.
5. 5A No. 6 Duncan (7-0) at 5A No. 2 Ardmore (7-0): The similarities are striking between these two. Both are 4-0 in 5A-1. Duncan has scored 268 points this season, compared to Ardmore's 267. Then on defense, the Tigers have given up 51 points, whereas Duncan has issued 53 points to opposing teams. So the only question remains is what prevails in the game: Duncan's balanced offensive attack or Ardmore's nonstop rushing attack? Ardmore has won five straight against the Demons, including a 28-7 victory last season.
6. 2A No. 3 Vian (6-1) at 2A No. 6 Holland Hall (5-2): These two generated a memorable showdown during the 2016 playoffs when Holland Hall edged past the Wolverines, 27-26. This time, however, Vian has River Simon and Bodhi Vann back as seniors with the 2A-5 title on the line. The winner can start preparing for the fourth-place finisher in 2A-6.
7. 3A No. 1 Heritage Hall (6-1) at 3A No. 6 Kingfisher (5-2): A Charger victory all but nails down the 3A-1 district title. A win for Kingfisher creates chaos at the top of the district with Heritage Hall, Kingfisher and John Marshall in a three-team clash to the end. The Yellowjackets have scored an average of 38.7 points per game, but can their defense slow down Conner Carey and Billy Ross on the other side of the ball?
8. B No. 6 Laverne (6-1) at B No. 1 Shattuck (6-0): Perhaps the first of two matchups this season? That's how it's gone the past two years. Laverne and Shattuck have squared off in district play -- both games won by Laverne -- and twice in Class B title games -- split between the two schools -- since 2016. Only wrench in the plans this year could be Seiling, a team sitting there unbeaten in B-1 play like Laverne and Shattuck.
9. 2A No. 2 Sperry (7-0) at Victory Christian (6-1): Pure excitement surrounded the outcome of last year's game -- a 26-21 win for Victory Christian. The Conquerors won on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the game when quarterback R.J. Wakley found Caleb Calhoon for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Both of those players are gone now for the Conquerors, who have to win to keep pace with Sperry in 2A-3. A win for Sperry creates a winner-take-all showdown with Beggs in week 10.
10. A No. 3 Minco (6-1) at Christian Heritage (4-3): District A-3 never disappoints when it comes to top-notch matchups each week, so it's no surprise to see this game crack the top 10. Despite being in third place in A-1 right now, Minco has given up the fewest amount of points in the district at 70. Christian Heritage isn't far off with 95. With Crossings Christian and Cashion atop the district standings, the winner of this one at least feels more secure in nabbing a playoff spot. Also, Christian Heritage is 3-0 all-time against Minco with the last game between the two being played in 2009.
Edmond Santa Fe at Westmoore: The Wolves are looking to bounce back from last week's 35-7 loss to Broken Arrow. A win over Westmoore for Edmond Santa Fe would create a clash against Jenks for second place in 6AI-1 next week.
Muskogee at Booker T. Washington: Muskogee's two losses have been by a combined three points this season. Meanwhile, the Hornets continue to struggle on offense, and they just lost a receiving weapon in DJ Jones for the rest of the season.
Mustang at Owasso: Mustang desperately needs to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Owasso is 3-1 in 6AI-2, but the Rams are issuing 24.7 points per game.
Weatherford at Cache: Weatherford can work its way back into 4A-1 contention with a win. For Cache, it's been quite a week with Arthur McDonald appearing on national shows with his highlight-reel TD run.
Idabel at Stigler: Idabel hammered Stigler last year, 62-10. But 3A-3 has proven to be chaotic every single week, so expect an outcome that further mucks up the 3A-3 standings.
Seminole at Checotah: More 3A-3 craziness here. At this point, both of these teams need victories to stay in postseason contention. Seminole is 4-1 against Checotah, but they haven't met since
Kellyville at Prague: Ponies and Red Devils -- what a combo. District 3A-2 has proven to be pretty deep, and someone among Meeker, Prague, Kellyville and Okemah will miss the playoffs. The outcome of this one could help determine who advances beyond the regular season.
Commerce at Rejoice Christian: Commerce's Chris Ibarra is coming off a monster week against Oklahoma Union last week -- 18 carries, 301 yards, four touchdowns. And that doesn't even account for his defensive contributions. The Ibarra vs. Andrew Crow showdown at running back should be a fun one to watch.
Oklahoma Bible Academy at Hooker: District A-1 is all but a done deal if Hooker wins. Oklahoma Bible Academy can make it an interesting final few weeks among Hooker, Fairview and itself with a win.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo courtesy of Chance Batey/Bristow
| Ben Johnson
what a relief for myself and Whitt in week 5. Swisher and Coach Turney
were leaving us in the dust. But we were able to gain a little bit of
ground in the overall standings. Just have to ride the wave of momentum
Week 5 picks - Whitt 14-3 | Ben 14-3 | Coach Turney 13-4 | Swisher 12-5
Overall - Swisher 78-30 | Turney 77-31 | Ben 71-37 | Whitt 71-37
And per usual, my apologies in advance to the teams I pick below:
Collinsville at Tahlequah
Michael Swisher: Collinsville 21, Tahlequah 18
Ben Johnson: Collinsville 17, Tahlequah 10
Whitt Carter: Tahlequah 35, Collinsville 31
Randy Turney: Collinsville 21, Tahlequah 14
Washington at Millwood
Michael Swisher: Millwood 45, Washington 14
Ben Johnson: Millwood 32, Washington 19
Whitt Carter: Millwood 36, Washington 21
Randy Turney: Millwood 41, Washington 14
Tuttle at Bethany
Michael Swisher: Tuttle 24, Bethany 22
Ben Johnson: Tuttle 21, Bethany 17
Whitt Carter: Tuttle 24, Bethany 20
Randy Turney: Tuttle 24, Bethany 13
Coyle at Southwest Covenant
Michael Swisher: SW Covenant 48, Coyle 14
Ben Johnson: SW Covenant 43, Coyle 38
Whitt Carter: SW Covenant 42, Coyle 40
Randy Turney: SW Covenant 38, Coyle 28
Stillwater at Choctaw
Michael Swisher: Stillwater 30, Choctaw 23
Ben Johnson: Stillwater 33, Choctaw 21
Whitt Carter: Stillwater 41, Choctaw 13
Randy Turney: Stillwater 34, Choctaw 14
Putnam City North at Union
Michael Swisher: Union 35, PC North 14
Ben Johnson: Union 42, PC North 9
Whitt Carter: Union 37, PC North 14
Randy Turney: Union 38, PC North 14
Muskogee at Sapulpa
Michael Swisher: Muskogee 24, Sapulpa 20
Ben Johnson: Muskogee 39, Sapulpa 29
Whitt Carter: Muskogee 42, Sapulpa 28
Randy Turney: Muskogee 28, Sapulpa 20
Ardmore at El Reno
Michael Swisher: Ardmore 28, El Reno 7
Ben Johnson: Ardmore 24, El Reno 9
Whitt Carter: Ardmore 32, El Reno 24
Randy Turney: Ardmore 31, El Reno 20
Seminole at Idabel
Michael Swisher: Seminole 27, Idabel 21
Ben Johnson: Seminole 45, Idabel 27
Whitt Carter: Seminole 42, Idabel 28
Randy Turney: Seminole 42, Idabel 20
Tyrone at Buffalo
Michael Swisher: Tyrone 34, Buffalo 24
Ben Johnson: Buffalo 35, Tyrone 26
Whitt Carter: Buffalo 41, Tyrone 34
Randy Turney: Buffalo 34, Tyrone 26
Westmoore at Broken Arrow
Michael Swisher: Broken Arrow 38, Westmoore 18
Ben Johnson: Broken Arrow 49, Westmoore 13
Whitt Carter: Broken Arrow 52, Westmoore 14
Randy Turney: Broken Arrow 42, Westmoore 14
Stigler at Checotah
Michael Swisher: Checotah 31, Stigler 29
Ben Johnson: Checotah 34, Stigler 28
Whitt Carter: Checotah 28, Stigler 24
Randy Turney: Stigler 24, Checotah 14
Haskell at Victory Christian
Michael Swisher: Victory Christian 30, Haskell 15
Ben Johnson: Victory Christian 37, Haskell 22
Whitt Carter: Victory Christian 42, Haskell 16
Randy Turney: Victory Christian 31, Haskell 20
Okemah at Prague
Michael Swisher: Okemah 33, Prague 21
Ben Johnson: Okemah 30, Prague 20
Whitt Carter: Prague 32, Okemah 21
Randy Turney: Okemah 21, Prague 20
Wynnewood at Stroud
Michael Swisher: Stroud 29, Wynnewood 24
Ben Johnson: Wynnewood 29, Stroud 23
Whitt Carter: Wynnewood 28, Stroud 14
Randy Turney: Wynnewood 20, Stroud 14
Prue at Yale
Michael Swisher: Yale 35, Prue 17
Ben Johnson: Yale 43, Prue 22
Whitt Carter: Yale 47, Prue 38
Randy Turney: Prue 38, Yale 30
Regent Prep at Watts
Michael Swisher: Regent Prep 34, Watts 28
Ben Johnson: Regent Prep 55, Watts 41
Whitt Carter: Regent Prep 49, Watts 34
Randy Turney: Regent Prep 48, Watts 12
Tipton at Mountain View-Gotebo
Michael Swisher: Tipton 24, Mt. View-Gotebo 19
Ben Johnson: Tipton 56, Mt. View-Gotebo 22
Whitt Carter: Tipton 47, Mt. View-Gotebo 28
Randy Turney: Tipton 48, Mt. View-Gotebo 6
| Ben Johnson
There are some quality games to be had in week 6, but nothing like the run of games recently.
Here's what's on tap this week:
1. 5A No. 3 Collinsville (5-0) at 5A No. 5 Tahlequah (5-0): District 5A-4 supremacy is on the line, and another big game on tap for Tahlequah, who knocked off Skiatook last week. Meanwhile, Collinsville put the clamps on Memorial running back Jamoni Jones, who was coming off a 300-yard rushing game the week prior. Both Collinsville and Tahlequah can play some defense, so points could be at a premium here. And the matchup of Tahlequah tailback Dae Dae Leathers against Collinsville should be must-see theater. Also, these clubs have met every year since 2012, and the Cardinals are 5-1. Tahlequah did manage to win last year's game, 31-21.
2. 2A No. 6 Washington (4-1) at 2A No. 1 Millwood (5-0): Rematch of last year's Class 2A title game, but now there is District 2A-7 positioning at stake. The Falcons labored through a victory over Community Christian last week, so can Washington pounce on the Falcons? Should mention Millwood is 3-0 all-time against Washington.
3. 4A No. 3 Tuttle (5-0) at 4A No. 4 Bethany (5-0): A win for Bethany all but wraps up the 4A-2 crown. That would give the Bronchos wins over both Tuttle and Blanchard. Tuttle had been 1-5 against Bethany since 2006, but the Tigers won last year's game, 21-12.
4. B No. 5 Coyle (3-1) at B No. 2 Southwest Covenant (6-0): Southwest Covenant has beaten Coyle two years in a row. And the winner here keeps pace with Covington-Douglas for the C-3 crown.
5. 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (5-0) at 6AII No. 8 Choctaw (3-2): It appears a good football team will be left out of the playoff picture in District 6AII-1. Stillwater and Del City sit atop the district, but teams like Choctaw, Midwest City and Lawton all figure to be there in the final week competing for postseason spots. A win for Choctaw here creates a large mess in 6AII-1. But first, Choctaw would have to shut down the Pioneers' offense, which has generated 234 games in five contests so far. Since 2008, Stillwater has beaten Choctaw five out of six times.
6. 6AI No. 6 Putnam City North (5-0) at 6AI No. 3 Union (3-2): The Panthers have risen to the top -- along with Edmond Santa Fe -- as the two Oklahoma City-area teams in 6AI to challenge the likes of Broken Arrow, Jenks and Union this season. Perhaps this is PC North's chance to upend Union -- something the Panthers haven't done since 2001.
7. 6AII No. 7 Muskogee (4-1) at 6AII No. 9 Sapulpa (4-1): Should be plenty of offensive fireworks in this one, especially for a Chieftains team that score 63 last week against Bartlesville. The winner here puts Bixby in its crosshairs in an attempt to go after the 6AII-2 title. The Roughers have won the past four games in this match, including last season's 27-14 victory.
8. 5A No. 2 Ardmore (2) at El Reno (4-1): El Reno has posted some quality wins over Piedmont, Chickasha and Noble. But now comes a stout test against the Tigers and a stingy defense. Through five games, Ardmore is giving up an average of 6.8 points per contest. Since 2000, Ardmore is 5-3 against El Reno, and that includes a current five-game winning streak after last season's 37-13 win.
9. 3A No. 4 Seminole (5-0) at Idabel (4-1): Seminole running back Cameron Gunville has been stellar through five games, racking up 1,107 yards and 16 touchdowns on 111 carries. Averaging 10 yards per rush will usually get the job done, and in this case it has the Chieftains 5-0 after a statement win over Lincoln Christian. Idabel has allowed a lot of points (134), but the Warriors can score, too, posting 214 to this point. Expect an offensive barrage in this one. Oh, and Seminole is 3-0 against Idabel in the all-time series.
10. C No. 6 Tyrone (4-0) at C No. 4 Buffalo (5-0): It's a three-team race to the C-1 title, and the winner here has to like its chances with Pond Creek-Hunter as the final district hurdle. Tyrone is 7-17 against Buffalo since 1980, but the Bobcats own a four-game winning streak over Buffalo after last year's 30-6 win.
Westmoore at Broken Arrow: Westmoore has been solid, but can it figure out a way to slow down Noah Cortes and the Tigers?
Stigler at Checotah: Last time these two met was a 22-15 win for Stigler in 2013. Expect a lot of points on the scoreboard in this one.
Haskell at Victory Christian: Tayden Lucero continues to turn in one spectacular performances after another for Haskell. But Garrett Williams, Josh Sirleaf and Gabe Byrams have the Conquerors' offense humming along.
Okemah at Prague: District 2A-2 is providing some quality depth early on. The winner here could potentially challenge Jones for the district title.
Wynnewood at Stroud: District A-7 is on the line in this one. Winner faces very few speed bumps the rest of the way.
Prue at Yale: These two haven't met since 2003, and Yale was 4-1 from 1999 to 2003 against Prue. The winner here can shift its focus to Davenport for the B-7 crown.
Regent Prep at Watts: The Engineers (superb team nickname, by the way) have been a pleasant surprise in Class B. They can prove they're Class B title contenders by taking down the high-powered Rams.
Tipton at Mountain View-Gotebo: A throwback matchup to late 1950's here. These two haven't met since 1991 despite only being one hour apart from each other. Winner here as the inside track to the C-2 title.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo courtesy of Tahlequah Daily Press
| Ben Johnson
Look back at 2017
2017 district champs
2A-1: Chisholm - The Longhorns were golden when they weren't facing Washington in 2017. Luckily for them, Washington was in a different district, so Chisholm made an unbeaten 6-0 run through A-1 last season, including a 33-21 victory over Alva in October. But unfortuntaely for Chisholm, its only two losses were to Washington in non-district play in September and then in the second round of the playoffs in November.
2A-2: Millwood - A machine -- that's what Millwood was in 2017. The Falcons scored no fewer than 37 points in all 14 of their games, and they never gave up more than 18. That's pure dominance. And to cap it all off, Millwood outscored its opponents 228 to 7 in the postseason.
2A-3: Lindsay - The Leopards were hard to get a read on in 2017, but they finished atop 2A-3 by the end of the regular season. A 27-21 loss to Hobart landed Lindsay in a tie atop the district with Washington, but the Leopards followed that loss with a 38-21 victory over Washington to claim the tiebreaker. But while Washington was making a run to the state championship game, Lindsay ended up with a second-round loss to Alva to cap a 7-5 season.
2A-4: Davis - Head coach Jody Weber capped his 17-year run as the Wolves' head coach with the program's 34th district title. Davis knocked off every 2A opponent it faced in 2017 until it clashed with Washington in the semifinals.
2A-5: Vian - The Wolverines coasted in 2A-5 play, winning all five contests comfortable. The closest was a 26-12 win over Okemah in late October. The district title segued into playoff wins over Panama and Victory Christian and the first two rounds, but then Millwood was waiting in the quarterfinals to pull the plug on Vian's postseason run.
2A-6: Valliant - Really only one word sums up 2A-6 in 2017: craziness. Five -- yes, five! -- teams finished atop the district standings at 4-2. It was Valliant that ended up with its fifth district crown, and then there was Hartshorne that missed the playoffs altogether. Valliant, Spiro and Antlers all won their first round playoff matchups, but none of the three advanced past the second round.
2A-7: Holland Hall - It was the first district championship for the Dutch, a team that had joined the OSSAA ranks in 2016 after transitioning over from the Southwest Preparatory Conference with mostly Texas teams. Holland Hall looked like a potential opponent for Millwood in the finals, but a furious comeback by Davis in the quarterfinals ended the Dutch's postseason run.
2A-8: Adair - The Warriors picked up their seventh straight district title, thanks in large part to a 36-14 win over Commerce in the final week of the regular season. Adair marched into the quarterfinals, where Alva dispatched the Warriors with a 40-8 rout.
Talking title game: Millwood 42, Washington 7