Apache, OK 73006
Record: 7-3 | Unranked
|@ Elmore City-Pernell||W||14-47|
|vs Rush Springs||W||42-0|
|@ Velma - Alma||W||6-60|
| Ben Johnson
The playoffs are here! Well, not quite but for some teams it will feel that way. Some teams are playing to extend their seasons while some are playing to better position themselves for long postseason runs. Week 10 is always a whirlwind, so buckle up and hold on!
Here's what's on tap:
1. 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (9-0) at 6AII No. 4 Del City (7-2): It has been a day or two since Stillwater last laid claim to a district championship. Since 1995 to be exact. Pioneers can clinch the District 6AII-1 title with a win. A Del City victory (plus a Midwest City win over PC West) creates a three-way tie at the top of the district with district points deciding the champion. Stillwater is 2-0 against Del City, but they haven't played since 2007.
2. 5A No. 1 Carl Albert at 5A No. 4 Bishop McGuinness (8-1): If these two are squaring off, there's always something significant on the line. Last season it was the Class 5A championship. This time, it's for 5A-2 supremacy. The winner claims the district crown. For Carl Albert, it would two years in a row. For the Irish, it would be the third district title in four years.
3. A No. 2 Cashion (9-0) at A No. 3 Minco (8-1): Take the Stillwater-Del City playoff scenario and apply it here. Cashion wins the District A-3 title with a win. A victory for Minco creates a logjam atop the district with Crossings Christian off for the way and cemented at 7-1 in the district. A Cashion win also moves Minco to third.
4. 2A No. 2 Sperry (9-0) at 2A No. 4 Beggs (8-1): It's been 77 years -- SEVENTY. SEVEN. -- since Sperry was 9-0. The Pirates have won a district title more recently than that (1992), but it's still been a long time for that, too. Beggs, on the other hand, is coming off a runner-up finish in Class 3A, so this is familiar territory for the Demons. The winner here claims the District 2A-3 title, and the loser finishes second. The quarterback matchup -- Sperry's Beau Tell against Beggs' Dalton Spring -- should be a good one, too.
5. 3A No. 3 John Marshall (8-1) at 3A No. 7 Kingfisher (6-3): Winner finishes second in 3A-1 and gets a home playoff game. Loser finishes third and hits the road -- likely to Plainview -- in the first round of the playoffs.
6. 4A No. 8 Hilldale (8-1) at 4A No. 1 Poteau (9-0): Poteau will have to reverse a recent trend if it wants to win District 4A-4. The Pirates can win the district with a win, but a Hilldale victory likely creates a three-team tie atop the standings with Broken Bow also involved. The streak Poteau has to end is its losing ways to Hilldale, who has beaten the Pirates four times in a row, dating bcak to 2010. Poteau's last win over Hilldale was 2009.
7. 6AI No. 7 Owasso (5-4) at 6AI No. 5 Putnam City North (8-1): Neither one can catch Union in 6AI-2, but the Panthers can lock up second place with a win over Owasso, the reigning 6AI champion. An Owasso win likely means the Rams, PC North finish in a tie for second and resort to district points. A win for PC North would be its first ever against Owasso. The Rams are 4-0 all-time against PC North.
8. 5A No. 7 Tahlequah (8-1) at 5A No. 9 Claremore (6-3): This one is simple enough -- winner gets second place in 5A-4, the loser finishes third. The running back battle between Tahlequah's Dae Dae Leathers and Claremore's Jace Hightower should be fun to watch.
9. 6AII No. 2 Bixby (8-1) at 6AII No. 7 Muskogee (6-3): Regardless of records, it seems as though Bixby always struggles with Muskogee. The Spartans have secured the 6AII-2 title and can look toward a home playoff game next week, while Muskogee needs a win to finish third in 6AII-2.
10. 5A No. 5 Altus (8-1) at 5A No. 10 Duncan (8-1): Same at the Tahlequah-Claremore game -- winner gets second place, loser finishes third.
Edmond Santa Fe at Norman: The Wolves are in the playoffs, but a win would assure a third-place finish. A Norman victory gives the Tigers a chance to make the playoffs with Westmoore headed to Jenks.
Ada at Edison: Winner finishes second in 5A-3, loser gets third since both Edison and Ada are vastly ahead of McAlester in district points.
Clinton at Cache: The Red Tornadoes are no strangers to district titles with 38, according to Iwasatthegame.com. Yet, Clinton hasn't won one since 2011. Cache hasn't won one since 1983. It's a winner-take-all game in 4A-1.
Oologah at Catoosa: A Catoosa win likely means third place and would leave Bristow and Wagoner to settle the district title. An Oologah victory likely means Bristow, Wagoner and Oologah finish tied for the district title, and would likely go to Bristow based on district points.
Checotah at Lincoln Christian: Well, the best way to describe the District 3A-3 standings is jumbled. But don't over-think it. More likely than not, Seminole, Stigler and Idabel should bag victories this week, so this game will decide whether there's a five-way tie for first place or a three-way tie for second place. Either way, it's all about district points at that stage.
Locust Grove at Vinita: After Berryhill at the top of this district, it gets a bit chaotic. Vinita need to win to keep its playoff hopes alive, whereas Locust Grove claims second place with a win.
Lindsay at Kingston: Even if Lindsay wins here, Kingston will have wrapped up its first district championship since 1987. That's how sizeable Kingston's district points lead is.
Panama at Holland Hall: The Dutch win a district title with a win over Panama, whereas a Panama victory likely hands the district title to Vian.
Christian Heritage at Crescent: Someone's season will end here. District A-3 is deep so this game will decide who finishes fourth. Crazy to think Crescent could go from Class A runner-up to out of the playoffs, but that's the scenario headed into this week's slate of games.
Pawhuska at Pawnee: Pawnee has to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. A Pawhuska win would assure the Huskies of third place in District A-5.
Hobart at Frederick: Simple enough on this one. The winner claims the District A-2 title and the loser finishes second.
Ringling at Apache: Did you read the Hobart-Frederick breakdown? Same thing applies here. Would be Ringling's eighth straight district title.
Gore at Central Sallisaw: Gore is looking for its first district championship since 2011. A Central Sallisaw win would give it a chance at a district title for the first time since 2001.
Weleetka at Wetumka: District B-5 will be decide in this one. Winner gets first place, loser gets second place.
Regent Prep at Foyil: These two clubs have played some stout defense this year, giving up only a combined 112 points in 17 games. The better defense here will help its win a district championship. The loser of the game stays home for the playoffs but won't claim a district title.
Paoli at Graham-Dustin: Winner claims the District C-4 championship. Loser finishes second.
*Photo courtesy of Jason Elmquist/Stillwater NewsPress
| Ben Johnson
Look back at 2017
2017 district champs
A-1: Thomas - The Terriers hit the half-century mark in district titles with an unbeaten run against A-1 foes. A 20-0 win over Hooker set the stage for a district crown, and that was part of the Terriers' 10-game winning streak, which continued into December. But Afton derailed Thomas' playoff run in the semifinals.
A-2: Watonga - A September win over Cordell proved to be the deciding factor for the A-2 crown for Watonga. The Eagles went on to avenge a season-opening loss against Okeene with a win to open the playoffs, but then Watonga was dispatched from the postseason in the next round against Oklahoma Christian Academy.
A-3: Ringling - The Blue Devils knocked off Apache to begin district play, and they rolled the rest of the way against A-3 opponents. Ringling's playoff run lasted until the second round when Hooker moved on to the quarterfinals.
A-4: Minco - Led by Cole Burchfield in the backfield, Minco motored to the district title last year. Eleven straight wins, including six in district play, preceded Minco's run to the Class A quarterfinals, where the Bulldogs were beaten by Afton.
A-5: Crescent - Cashion, Pawnee and Morrison were no match for the Tigers during district play. Crescent manhandled every opponent it faced in its first 14 games, including wins over Cashion (54-14), Morrison (51-24) and Pawnee (35-14) during the regular season. The Tigers' unbeaten run, though, came to a halt in the Class A title game, which ended with a 44-12 loss to Afton.
A-6: Kiefer - The Trojans started the season 0-4, but a 34-14 win over Woodland in late September turned Kiefer's season around. Kiefer, Woodland and Hominy all finished atop the district at 5-1, but it was the Trojans who prevailed, thanks to district points. Kiefer, though, was bounced quickly from the playoffs, a 28-0 loss to Morrison in the opening round of the postseason.
A-7: Afton - The Eagles labored through a stout district -- that included Rejoice Christian, Barnsdall and Hulbert -- and emerged unscathed. A 22-20 victory over Rejoice Christian in mid October propelled Afton a district title, and from there the Eagles went into cruise control the rest of the season. In the playoffs, Afton outscored its opponents 214 to 46.
A-8: Talihina - Led by seniors Heath Humphreys and Sooner Box, the Tigers coasted to the A-8 crown. Talihina dismantled Central Sallisaw, 36-0, in a showdown of the district's top two teams. The Tigers finished the regular season 9-1 and beat Barnsdall in the opening round of the playoffs before being upset by Hominy in the second round.
Talking title game: Afton 44, Crescent 12
Afton quarterback Wil Amos put on a show for the ages. Crescent had no answer for Amos on either side of the ball, with the Eagles' senior signal caller racking up 418 yards and six touchdowns on 39 carries to lead Afton to its first football championship. Amos added an interception on defense, while the Eagles held Crescent to 196 yards of offense.
On to 2018...
Players to watch
- Landon McCracken (Apache): An offensive stalwart during his junior season in 2017. He passed for 2,591 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 202 of 309 passes. He also ran for 776 yards and eight touchdowns on 92 carries.
- Griffin Lamb (Cashion): While leading Cashion to a 9-3 season, Lamb was the Wildcats' offensive catalyst. He racked up 2,250 yards and 31 touchdowns through the air while completing 66.3 percent (138 of 208) of his passes.
- Hunter Bowers (Crescent): The Tigers' junior quarterback was a driving force in getting Crescent to the Class A championship game. An ankle injury limited his output in the title game, but his numbers all season long were outstanding. He passed for 2,250 yards and 34 touchdowns with 121 completions on 195 attempts. He also mixed in 1,052 yards and 22 touchdowns on 129 carries.
- Tanner McBee (Hooker): A difference maker on both sides of the ball. He amassed 1,165 yards and 17 touchdowns on 207 carries, and on defense he collected 68 tackles and three interceptions.
- Karder Neville (Hooker): As a junior, Neville reeled in 40 receptions for 731 yards and eight touchdowns. He also totaled 80 tackles and three sacks on defense.
- Nathan Malchaski and Garrett Malchaski (Dibble): Defensive pair racked up a ton of tackles in 2017. Nathan, a sophomore last season, had 126 tackles and four tackles, while Garrett notched 115 tackles and four tackles as a junior.
- Tyler Grove (Wynnewood): Sophomore season saw Grove blossom into a solid contributor with 882 yards and 10 touchdowns passing. On defense, he hauled in four interceptions, and he also punted 15 times with a 35.8 yard average.
- Josh Harvey (Healdton): There were 121 tackles on defense during his sophomore campaign to go with 440 yards and seven touchdowns on 69 carries on offense.
- Dylan Roach (Hominy): Burst onto the scene during his junior season. He racked up 2,264 yards and 31 touchdowns on 155 carries. However, he did that while leading Prue to an 11-3 season, and he's transferred to Hominy for his senior season.
- Blake Hipp (Hominy): The signal caller alongside Roach in the backfield. A 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior who passed for 1,753 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, on top of rushing for 547 yards and nine touchdowns on 101 carries.
- Joe Smith (Barnsdall): Came up just short of 1,000 yards during his junior season. He piled up 951 yards and 12 touchdowns on 91 carries.
- Tommy Smith (Gore): The 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior was a key cog on both sides of the ball as a junior in 2017. He ran the ball 210 times for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns, and he added 79 tackles and an interception.
- Josh Factor (Kiefer): At middle linebacker, Factor racked up 103 tackles as a sophomore last season for the Trojans.
- Andrew Crow (Rejoice Christian): Emerged as the Eagles' primary threat out of the backfield with 1,054 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2017.