Zero Week: Top 10 games
by Ben Johnson (@BenJohnsonTUL)
8/21/2018 11:30:20 AM
posted in: Game Preview | 2,631 views

The calendar hasn't flipped to September yet, but high schools across Oklahoma are officially footballing this week.

Zero Week is here, and it's offering up some solid matchups to get the season rolling.

Here are this week's top 10 games:

1. 6AI No. 1 Union at 6AI No. 3 Broken Arrow: There will be talent all over the field on Friday night at Memorial Stadium. The running back matchup, featuring Broken Arrow's Noah Cortes and Union's Darius Boone Jr., will be fun to watch. This one could come down to quarterback play, and Union has the advantage there with Peyton Thompson. Also helps that Union holds a 39-3 record over the Tigers since 1983.

2. 6AII No. 1 Booker T. Washington vs. North Little Rock (Ark.) at Bentonville High School: Clash of two state champions from 2017. The Hornets will deploy Thomas Grayson, a Nebraska commit, at running back, and they'll also feature one of the nation's top recruits in Dax Hill, who figures to play on both sides of the ball. North Little Rock, Class 7A title winner in Arkansas, will counter with North Texas commit Oscar Adaway and plenty of other talented players across the field. The game is part of the Rumble in the Ozarks, played in Northwest Arkansas.

3. 6AII No. 2 Midwest City at Bentonville (Ark.): This will be the nightcap of the Rumle in the Ozarks on Saturday. Bentonville lost to North Little Rock in last year's title game, and Midwest City was dispatched from the Class 6AII playoffs in the semifinals. Look for Midwest City's Preston Colbert to get off to a roaring start for the Bombers this season.

4. A No. 6 Wynnewood at A No. 5 Minco: Both teams shared a district (A-4) in the past four seasons, and Minco ended up winning three of those four matchups. Now they've gone their separate ways in Class A, so they'll meet up in Zero Week. Minco quarterback Daxton Williams graduated, so they Bulldogs will have to find his replacement. Meanwhile, Wynnewood has Tyler Grove who passed for nearly 1,000 yards as a sophomore last season.

5. Bentonville West (Ark.) at 6AI No. 2 Owasso: Will Kuehne and Co. get the 2018 season kicked off against one of the newest programs in Arkansas. Bentonville West is led by former McAlester head coach Bryan Pratt, who led the Wolverines to a 9-2 record in 2017. For Owasso, the Rams will look for Bryce Cabrera's replacement at tailback and Josh Proctor's replacementin the defensive backfield.

6. 6AI No. 4 Jenks at 6AII No. 4 Bixby: This one-sided rivalry leveled out in 2017 with the Spartans ending a 26-game losing streak to Jenks with a 35-18 victory. Jenks' winning ways over Bixby had dated back to 1977. The Trojans return quarterback Ian Corwin and Mr. Do Everything Noah Hernandez, but they'll have a new look on the sidelines under first-year head coach Keith Riggs. For Bixby, there's a lot of newcomers after Tucker Pawley and Staton King graduated following the Spartans' runner-up finish in Class 6AII.

7. Choctaw at 6AII No. 10 Shawnee: These two haven't met since 1999, despite only being 30 miles apart. Now they're both members of Class 6AII with Shawnee bumping up a class this season. The Yellowjackets are coming off a 6-4 season, where Jake Corbin was in his first year as head coach. On the other side, Shawnee was 6-5 before leaving 5A. Now Heath Hunter and the Wolves get to show what they're made of in a new classification.

8. B. No. 2 Shattuck at C No. 1 Tipton: A rematch of the 2011 Class C state championship. Also a clash of last year's Class B (Shattuck) and Class C (Tipton) champions. The winner gets to claim the title of "best eight-man team" until the playoffs start.

9. A No. 4 Hominy at Hulbert: Perhaps the best running back matchup in the state, outside of Union-Broken Arrow. Hominy will feature move-in Dylan Roach, who torched opponents at Prue last season to the tune of 2,264 yards and 31 touchdowns. Then there's Hulbert's Jacob Bruce, who has posted back-to-back 2,000-yard rushing seasons for the Riders in 2016 and 2017.

10. 2A No. 7 Chisholm at 4A No. 7 Weatherford: This one features a solid matchup of quarterbacks. Chisholm's signal caller, Braden Meek, passed for 1,552 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior in 2017, and Weatherford's Jaxon Ratterree will begin his junior season after tossing for 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns last year.

Honorable mention

Jones at Oklahoma Christian School

Metro Christian at Broken Bow

Plainview at Elgin

Gore at Haskell

Watonga at Okeene

Morrison at Kiefer

So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.

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