Norman North Timberwolves
Norman, OK 73069
Record: 4-2 | Unranked
|vs Edmond Memorial||W||49-25|
|@ Putnam City||W||0-23|
|@ Putnam City||10/17|
|@ Edmond North||10/29|
| Ben Johnson
Michael Swisher: 10-2
Ben Johnson: 10-2
Whitt Carter: 9-3
Swisher & Ben: 28-8
Week 3 games
Metro Christian at Holland Hall
Jones at Lincoln Christian
Thomas at Cashion
Heritage Hall at John Marshall
Cherokee at Shattuck
Booker T at McGuinness
Muskogee at Coweta
Noble at Piedmont
Clinton at Millwood
Beggs at Chandler
Alex at Davenport
Pond Creek at Medford
Norman North at Yukon
Berryhill at Cushing
| Michael Swisher
It’s official now.
The 2020 All-State football game will take place after an agreement was signed Wednesday between the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association and Oklahoma Baptist University.
OBU’s Crain Family Stadium in Shawnee will be the host site when All-State selections from East take on those from the West at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25.
“This is just a way to provide something for a group of seniors who lost so much this year,” said Norman North head coach Justin Jones, who is also the OFBCA executive director.
“From proms to graduations and even to evaluations in football, they missed out, so we wanted to find a way to have this game.”
Skordle is serving as the title sponsor of the event and will be live streaming the game free of charge.
Skordle, which provides streaming services for schools, on top of providing live scoring updates for high school events across the state, will also be offering other promotional opportunities before, during and after the game.
“Like everyone else, we were devastated when so many events and opportunities for these student-athletes were lost this year,” said Korry Rogers, Skordle founder.
“When we had the opportunity to be a part of helping make this event possible, we didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to work with a great institution like OBU and organization like the OFBCA.”
The game is annually contested the last week of July at the end of the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s weeklong of other All-State games and clinics.
However, due to COVID-19, the OCA was forced to cancel this year’s events.
“As soon as we found out they were unable to have it, we started looking for a creative and safe way for our seniors to have this opportunity,” Jones said.
“We couldn’t do this without OBU,” Jones said. “When we reached out to them, their football staff and athletic department were quick to try to work with us and do everything to help.”
OBU’s staff, starting with head coach Chris Jensen, is stocked full of former Oklahoma high school coaches.
“A lot of them are even former OFBCA board members,” Jones said. “So they understand the importance of this game.”
Rosters for the game are not finalized, but the base of them will be the OFBCA’s selections that were released in January.
Kingfisher’s Jeff Myers will be the head coach for the West. Assisting on the West will be Hobart’s Travis Sims, Noble’s Greg George and Edmond Santa Fe’s Daniel Maly.
Chris Elerick of Stroud will be the head coach for the East team. His assistants will include Adair’s Mark Lippe, Bethel’s Joey Ginn and Collinsville’s Kevin Jones are the assistants.
Game day specifics and regulations will be announced soon, but Jones assures that player safety will be of the utmost importance in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
Even if that means eventually calling off the game.
“When we first began to discuss this, the foundation principle with everyone in the room was that our No. 1 priority would be to keep athletes safe,” Jones said.
“We are going to follow the state’s direction as we move forward and take every precaution we have to in order to keep them safe while at the same time knowing there’s always the contingency that we may have to cancel it.”
Provided the game is played, officials with OBU, the OFBCA and Skordle said they plan to make it a memorable day.
"Making All-State is something most football players never achieve, so to earn the honor and not get to play the game would be a major disappointment," said Skordle President Adam Diesselhorst.
"Now that the opportunity has presented itself yet again, we are excited and determined to work with OBU and the OFBCA to make this a tremendously memorable event."
| Ben Johnson
Zero week was all about Swisher flexing on both myself and Whitt. Let’s see if we can’t bring him back down to earth this week….
Michael Swisher: 11-3
Whitt Carter: 7-7
Ben Johnson: 8-6
(Should mention that my wife and Whitt’s wife are picking on the side, and once I can get these picks posted on time I’ll make sure to include Madison Carter’s picks so she doesn’t get mad at me anymore!)
Millwood at Heritage Hall
Michael Swisher: Heritage Hall
Whitt Carter: Heritage Hall
Ben Johnson: Heritage Hall
Broken Arrow at Union
Michael Swisher: Broken Arrow
Whitt Carter: Union
Ben Johnson: Union
Carl Albert at Midwest City
Michael Swisher: Carl Albert
Whitt Carter: Carl Albert
Ben Johnson: Carl Albert
Bixby at Jenks
Michael Swisher: Jenks
Whitt Carter: Bixby
Ben Johnson: Jenks
Booker T. Washington at Bishop Kelley
Michael Swisher: Booker T. Washington
Whitt Carter: Booker T. Washington
Ben Johnson: Booker T. Washington
Bishop McGuinness at Del City
Michael Swisher: Del City
Whitt Carter: Del City
Ben Johnson: Bishop McGuinness
Lincoln Christian at Jones
Michael Swisher: Lincoln Christian
Whitt Carter: Jones
Ben Johnson: Lincoln Christian
Tuttle at Kingfisher
Michael Swisher: Tuttle
Whitt Carter: Tuttle
Ben Johnson: Tuttle
Sapulpa at Edison
Michael Swisher: Sapulpa
Whitt Carter: Sapulpa
Ben Johnson: Sapulpa
Crossings Christian at Rejoice Christian
Michael Swisher: Rejoice Christian
Whitt Carter: Rejoice Christian
Ben Johnson: Rejoice Christian
Norman at Norman North
Michael Swisher: Norman
Whitt Carter: Norman North
Ben Johnson: Norman
Claremore at Bartlesville
Michael Swisher: Claremore
Whitt Carter: Claremore
Ben Johnson: Bartlesville
Broken Bow at Idabel
Michael Swisher: Broken Bow
Whitt Carter: Broken Bow
Ben Johnson: Broken Bow
Cascia Hall at Holland Hall
Michael Swisher: Holland Hall
Whitt Carter: Cascia Hall
Ben Johnson: Cascia Hall
Vian at Eufaula
Michael Swisher: Vian
Whitt Carter: Vian
Ben Johnson: Vian
Davenport at Weleetka
Michael Swisher: Davenport
Whitt Carter: Davenport
Ben Johnson: Davenport
Medford at Buffalo
Michael Swisher: Buffalo
Whitt Carter: Buffalo
Ben Johnson: Buffalo
| Ben Johnson
An absolutely tremendous slate of games this week. Let’s get to it…
1. Millwood at Heritage Hall
One team was thought to be the preeminent favorite in its class last year until it was upset in the playoffs by Vian. That was Millwood in 2018. One team was head and shoulders above every other team in its class and coasted to a state championship. That was Heritage Hall in Class 3A, of course. Not too shabby when these two clash, and they do it again this year after Millwood won last year, 30-20.
2. Broken Arrow at Union
This one had been one-sided for quite some time, and Broken Arrow put a stop to that last season. Union still owns a 38-5 record all-time against Broken Arrow, but the Tigers took out frustration of 14 straight losses by dismantling Union, 33-10. The Tigers went on to win the state championship and finally join Union among the ranks of state champions in 6AI. One matchup to watch will be Union’s passing game against Broken Arrow’s secondary, led by the likes of Oregon commit Myles Slusher, who had an interception return for a touchdown in a blowout win over Mansfield on Saturday.
3. Carl Albert at Midwest City
This one had been all Midwest City, dating back to 1976 when the Bombers started their six-game winning streak against Carl Albert. But the Titans put a stop to that with a 28-21 victory last season. Then the Titans did what they always do – win a 5A championship.
4. Bixby at Jenks
Both were dominant last week with wins over teams in Mansfield, Texas, last week. Jenks’ defense was stout, pitching a shutout against Mansfield Legacy, while Bixby’s offense was unstoppable against Mansfield Timberview. Bixby managed to thwart Jenks in 2017, but the Trojans won this matchup last year, 28-14, and they now own a 47-13 record against Bixby.
5. Booker T. Washington at Bishop Kelley
The Hornets were shut out last week in a loss to North Little Rock (Ark.), and they’ll get another stout defensive challenge from Bishop Kelley, who lost to Booker T. Washington last year, 24-14.
6. Bishop McGuinness at Del City
Plenty of offensive firepower will be on the field for both teams, including Del City’s Quinlan Ganther and Bishop McGuinness’ Dominic Richardson. Del City won this one last year, 47-7.
7. Lincoln Christian at Jones
Bust out the calculators for this one; could be plenty of points being scored. Both teams soared on offense last week, with Lincoln Christian beating Inola, 51-19 and Jones knocking off Oklahoma Christian School, 56-8. Last year it was Lincoln Christian that prevailed over Jones, 34-19.
8. Tuttle at Kingfisher
Tuttle knocked off Kingfisher 26-14 last season, and now the reigning 4A champions will explore life without quarterback Carson Berryhill.
9. Sapulpa at Edison
The Chieftains, powered by Eli Williams, a TCU commit, at quarterback, took down Edison, 34-13, last season. But it wasn’t long after that game that Edison running back – now a Nebraska commit – Sevion Morrison started taking down every Edison rushing record that ever existed.
10. Crossings Christian at Rejoice Christian
Two heavy favorites in Class A, and for good reason. Rejoice Christian won both matchups last season – 21-20 in the regular season and 33-14 in the playoffs. In fact, Rejoice has won the past four showdowns with Crossings, dating back to 2016.
Norman at Norman North
Claremore at Bartlesville
Broken Bow at Idabel
Cascia Hall at Holland Hall
Vian at Eufaula
Davenport at Weleetka
Medford at Buffalo
| Ben Johnson
STATE OF THE PROGRAM
BROKEN ARROW TIGERS
The trophy made the rounds all across Broken Arrow. The Tigers showed up off the Class 6AI championship trophy all over town for the first time in program history, after Broken Arrow took down Jenks for the championship in 2018.
Now it’s time to turn the page.
This time the Tigers are the ones everyone is chasing.
“Our approach is: we aren’t defending anything,” Broken Arrow coach David Alexander said. “Every year they make a new trophy. Last year’s team won last year’s trophy. We are going to attack the season, and try to see how good we can get.”
Here’s a look at what to expect from the Tigers in 2019….
Biggest on-field question: How will the front seven on defense look with so many new faces?
Zach Marcheselli and Gavin Potter served as a dynamic duo at linebacker last season, and the two tackling machines both graduated. Same goes for Kaizer Newell, DeMeco Roland and Colton Collier on the defense front. That leaves Jaylen Moss on the defensive line and middle linebacker Campbell Yeager, alongside Zeno Marcheselli, Logan Stovall, Darryan Moss and Jadahian Floyd-Wright at outside linebacker to lead the charge in 2019.
“Those are some of the guys fighting for playing time at outside linebacker right now,” Alexander said. “All four of those guys are smart and can run.”
Depth chart breakdown
Offense: Maurion Horn (5-feet-11, 180 pounds) takes over in the backfield at running back after Noah Cortes set every rushing record at Broken Arrow. KeJuan Tolbert will be another that gets plenty of carries alongside Horn.
At quarterback, it’s anybody’s guess on who’s slinging passes in 2019. Jake Raines figures to have the inside edge with the season’s first game this wek.
The bulk of those passes will make their way to Isaiah Keller and Tori Dillard.
Paving the way at offensive line will be the nation’s most sought-after right tackle, Andrew Raym (6-5, 285), an Oklahoma commit. Also on the line with Raym will be Trevor Burckhartzmeyer at 6-2, 295 pounds.
Defense: Myles Slusher (6-0, 185) is committed to Oregon, and gives the Tigers a veteran presence at cornerback.
Linebacker responsibilities will fall upon middle linebacker Campbell Yeager with Zeno Marcheselli, Logan Stovall, Darryan Moss and Jadahian Floyd-Wright vying for time at outside linebacker.
And it’ll be Jaylen Moss (6-4, 235) providing pressure up front on the defensive line.
Special teams: Skyler Segraves was a potent weapon in the kicking game last season, but now it’ll be Tyler Crawford’s turn in 2019.
Missed the most: Noah Cortes
Both Quintevin Cherry and Tate Robards graduated from the quarterback spot, but Cortes was the offense’s motor in 2018. The Tigers’ new all-time leading rusher will pass the torch on to guys like Maurion Horn and KeJuan Tolbert in 2019.
“So excited to get this group of running backs on the field,” Alexander said. “Best way to describe these guys is explosive! None of them are as big as Noah, so we will hand the ball to two or three guys to make up for the number of carries.”
Aug. 31 - @ Mansfield (Texas)
Sept. 6 - @ Union
Sept. 13 - Owasso
Sept. 27 - @ Jenks*
Oct. 4 - Norman*
Oct. 10 - @ Westmoore*
Oct. 17 - Edmond Santa Fe*
Oct. 25 - Yukon*
Nov. 1 - Edmond Memorial*
Nov. 8 - @ Enid*
*District 6AI-1 games
No surprise that it’s another stout schedule for Broken Arrow. The games against Union and Owasso in non-district play are almost always certainties, and Broken Arrow -- along with several other Oklahoma schools -- are playing a collection of teams from Mansfield, Texas, south of the Red River this season. Beyond that, there’s a good chance the District 6AI-1 title comes down to the Sept. 27 game against Jenks -- just like last season (and also the state championship rematch).
Best guess for 2019
This Broken Arrow team lost a lot of firepower from last season. No shame in saying there are a lot of voids that need to be filled. But Alexander and Co. will see what their club is made of early on, and any problems that need to be addressed will certainly get ironed out in the latter half of district play. The Tigers definitely have enough talent to garner another semifinal appearance, and of course, beyond that is anyone’s guess as to what could happen.
Class 6AI preview
1. Union - Feels like one of those Union years, where the Redskins have a boatload of talent to win it all.
**2. Broken Arrow - If the defense’s front seven can hold its own, there’s enough talent on this team to win back-to-back titles
3. Owasso - Cole Dugger, a transfer from Collinsville, could be the key link to getting the Rams their second title in three seasons.
4. Jenks - Going to be some getting used to with some new names for the Trojans, but of course they’ll be good.
5. PC North - Wildcats lost tight end Will Taylor, but they return a lot of firepower this season, including quarterback Aaron Norment.
6. Norman - Tigers with a solid chance to impress in 2019 with quarterback Cade Horton, an Oklahoma commit for baseball and football, at the controls.
7. Edmond Santa Fe - Linebacker Collin Oliver has more than a handful Division I offers before he even begins his junior season.
8. Moore - Quarterback Daniel Hishaw Jr. enters his senior year after rushing for 776 yards and 1,839 yards and 29 combined touchdowns.
9. Westmoore - Jace Bohrofen has a bright future in baseball, but he’ll lead the Jaguars at quarterback for his senior season.
10. Mustang - Lee Blankenship is now in charge, so don’t be surprised to see the Broncos climb the rankings as the season progresses.
**2018 state champion
- Myles Slusher: The Oregon commit at cornerback picked off two passes in 2018, including the game-clincher against Jenks in the Class 6AI title game. Also had 68 tackles during his junior year last season.
- Andrew Raym: The state’s top college prospect has committed to Oklahoma after a stellar junior season. Will once again be a key focal point for the Tigers on offense in 2019.
- Bo Estes: The 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver/tight end could become one of the state’s best pass catchers before the year is done.
Edmond Santa Fe
- Collin Oliver: The Wolves lost Trace Ford to graduation, but they filter in another star in the making after Oliver had 56 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks as a sophomore in 2018.
- Cade Horton: Rushed for 1,009 yards and 11 touchdowns and passed for 1,919 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.
- Isaiah Butler: Rushed for 453 yards as a junior and figures to have a key role in the Millers’ rushing attack in 2019.
- Dayton Wolfe: Enters his junior season after passing for 1,813 yards and 22 touchdowns.
- Nate Williams: Returns for his senior season after rushing for 408 yards in 2018.
- Jadon Dimarucut: Recorded 85 tackles as a junior last season.
- Duece Mayberry: Senior defensive is committed to Kansas after logging 27 tackles and three interceptions in 2018.
- Isaiah Jacobs: Brother of former McLain star Joshua Jacobs. Heading into his senior year after rushing for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
- Kyler Pearson: Kansas commit caught 58 passes for 551 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2018.
- Gabe Cantu: The Tulsa commit stands 6 feet, 4 inches and 300 pounds, and will be Union’s offensive line engineer at center this year.
- Andre Dollar: Son of Mustang’s new defensive coordinator, Sam Dollar. Andre Dollar, a sophomore this season, is 6-4, 218 pounds and already holds offers from NC State, Liberty and Southern Miss.
Putnam City North
- Aaron Norment: Panthers’ offensive centerpiece is back at quarterback after rushing for 255 yards and four touchdowns, on top of passing for 2,201 yards and 21 touchdowns. And on his Hudl profile it says, “broke Sam Bradford’s single game passing record.” Not too shabby.
- Daniel Hishaw: Continued to impress as a junior last season with 776 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing, and he passed for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns. Has a commitment to Kansas currently.
- Jaedyn Scott: Dual-threat quarterback for the SaberCats ran for 870 yards and 12 touchdowns and threw for 653 yards and six scores in 2018.
- Jake Roberts: 2019 could be the year of the tight end in 6AI. Roberts has committed to North Texas and has a 6-4, 235-pound frame.
- Colby Entwistle: Quarterback for the Huskies is back after throwing for 1,770 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018.
Our best guess(es)
Michael Swisher: Union -- Broken Arrow and Owasso have combined to take some of the luster off Jenks and Union the past couple of years. While Jenks has gone longer without a title, it’s Union that will reclaim supremacy for the duo this season.
Whitt Carter: Union -- After being the only person outside of the Broken Arrow locker room to pick the Tigers to win it all last preseason, I will take my bow and wait for the applause.
And they can certainly do it again this season, with many key players back. But I think Union returns to the top in 2019. The Redskins don’t have the big names that they normally do, but there is still talent everywhere and I think Coweta move-in JD Geneva is the difference at quarterback. He is in for a huge year and will lead the Redskins to the title in what should be an exciting race in 6A-1.
Ben Johnson: Union -- Yeah, boring, I know. But making it three-for-three as someone picking Union to win it all. J.D. Geneva was taking big strides at Coweta before he transferred, and I think he’ll be instrumental on Union’s march to a state championship.
| Ben Johnson
We're now a week away from real-life, actual football. (Well, games that actually count)
This week we pay tribute to one of the state's best, Mr. Ray West, who passed away recent. Swisher shares several great stories about West and what he meant to a lot of people in this great state.
Then we start our football previews, talking about Classes 6AI through 4A. We unveil our top 10 in each class and offer up some storylines along the way.
Want to interact with the podcast? Tweet us at @michaelswisher & @benjohnsontul
Or you can email the show at email@example.com
As always, thanks for listening!
| Ben Johnson
FOOTBALL'S BACK!! Well, not really. But kind of.
Skordle is hosting two different 7-on-7 football tournaments, all thanks to wonderful sponsors, Tulsa Tech and Charleston's.
The guys break down both Showdowns, and chat about players to watch and what to keep an eye out for. And shoutout to the 7-on-7 event in Norman live streaming several of the matchups.
Later in the episode, the OSSAA's Chris Wilfong joins the podcast to talk about his tremendous website - IWasAtTheGame.com ... if you've never checked it out, do it now. It has everything you'd ever want to know about high school sports in Oklahoma.
As always, thanks for listening.
And send us your feedback at @benjohnsontul or @michaelswisher
| 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
EMAIL ME - firstname.lastname@example.org | RELATED - State tournament wrestling predictions
Drake Barbee will take the mat at Jim Norick Arena on Friday. Impressive for someone who was near death 14 months ago.
“It was as severe as it could have gotten,” Barbee said, “other than death, of course.”
Barbee, attending Stilwell during his junior year at the time, was en route to his dad’s fiance’s house in Broken Arrow.
Then things went horribly wrong.
“I have no recollection of anything other then trying to avoid something that night,” Barbee said. “The people at the hospital told me there was a guy that crossed over the center line that was high on meth, and I should have died.”
Needless to say, Dec. 19, 2017, was a horrifying day for Chris Barbee, Drake’s dad.
“Hardest phone call I ever had to take,” the elder Barbee said. “A lot of stuff goes through your mind, and I didn’t know the extent of his injuries until I got to the hospital.”
Chris Barbee was about to be horrified all over again. The list of Drake’s ailments was painfully extensive.
- Broken hip
- Broken jaw
- Traumatic brain injury
- Brain bleeds
The injuries caused Drake Barbee to spend nine days in a coma. Then came “multiple months in multiple hospitals,” Drake recalled. “Then a rehab center for an additional month.”
Drake’s near-death experience came immediately after competing at the Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nevada. And it would be the last time he’d take the wrestling mat for a while -- and understandably so.
“It was hard; I looking anywhere I could to get on the mat,” Drake said. “I was decently moving after the rehab center, and my mentality was ‘just keep going.’ I was just trying to grind it out.”
But he pushed himself too hard. He ended up blowing out a knee while recovering.
His junior season was a lost cause. That prompted several months of rest for Drake, and it wasn’t long before he relocated to Blackwell.
But Drake also faced a harsh reality.
“It hit me,” he said, “I realized I might not be able to wrestle for a while.”
A crushing realization for someone who lives for the wrestling room.
“It’s my lifestyle,” Drake said. “I literally love wrestling. Call me crazy, but it’s what I do.”
For Chris Barbee, it was agonizing watching his son endure hardships that no high school athlete should have to entertain.
“It was very tough to see him go through that kind of ordeal,” Chris Barbee said. “I just knew it was gonna be a long road back.”
But Drake navigated the path back to full strength -- or as close to full strength as he can get.
Now he sports a 34-4 record and a regional championship as he enters the 195-pound field in the Class 3A state tournament in Oklahoma City.
“It’s been awesome,” Drake Barbee said of being at Blackwell for his senior season. “The wrestling tradition is what I like. It doesn’t get much better.”
Regardless of how Drake, an Arkansas-Little Rock signee, does at State Fair Arena, it’ll be impressive for a wrestler who was told he may never display the correct walking tendencies.
“The doctor said he’d never had someone recover and walk correctly,” Drake Barbee said. “So to recover and do what I’m doing now, I’m truly blessed.”
And Chris Barbee couldn’t be happier to coach his son for his senior season.
“It’s been very satisfying to see him get back to his old self and what he’s capable of,” Chris Barbee said. “He’s very driven and is a tireless worker. He’s wrestling really good right now, and he is gonna be tough to beat.”
| 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).