Class 5A playoff preview
by Ben Johnson (@BenJohnsonTUL)
11/6/2018 4:10:30 PM
posted in: Articles | 2,265 views

Players to watch

- Tero Roberts (Ardmore): The Tigers' vaunted rushing attack comes in many waves, but it's Roberts leading the team with 785 yards on 77 carries.
- Izaiah Hall (Altus): Senior tailback is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing this season, despite missing two contests.
- Dominic Richardson (Bishop McGuinness): A leg injury cost Richardson the chance to compete in the playoff last year. This season, he's back with a vengeance, racking up 1,118 yards and 17 touchdowns on 138 carries.
- J.D. Geneva (Coweta): Junior quarterback has been solid all season long for the Tigers, completing 130 of 229 passes for 2,473 yards and 28 touchdowns.
- Sevion Morrison (Edison): Junion tailback has seen his stock skyrocket with monster numbers in every game since the midway point of the season. He currently has 2,638 yards and 34 touchdowns on 211 carries.
- Jace Hightower (Claremore): The Zebras have fed Hightower the ball early and often and it's led to plenty of success. Hightower has 1,009 yards and nine touchdowns on 146 carries.
- Javion Dangerfield (Duncan): Junior wide receiver/defensive back can do it all for the Demons, and he's made it a habit of scoring touchdowns on both sides of the ball.

Don't overlook... Collinsville

This Cardinals team has the feel of the 2015 club that finished as a runner-up to Altus in 5A. Grayson Boomer is landing some big-time Division I offers, but the Cardinals roster has a feel one that has everyone contributing. Collinsville's biggest strength has been handing the ball off to Brayden Burd and Malcolm Tillman in the running game. Beyond that, the Cardinals turn to their shutdown defense to get the job done.

Favorite (potential) matchup - Collinsville vs. Carl Albert

Both teams possess great defenses, so it would be matter of whether the Titans can hit some big plays on offense or if the Cardinals can grind away and turn the game into a battle in the trenches. 

Coaching candor

How do other high school coaches see the 5A postseason playing out? We asked and they made their predictions (after being granted anonymity, of course). 
Coach One: "I'm predicting Carl Albert. I believe they have the depth and athleticism to go the distance. They have big play capabilities as well as solid game plans and coaching to grind it out if they have have to."
Coach Two: "I'd have to say  the winner between Carl Albert and Collinsville will win it. Collinsville is so much better this year then they were when they reached the finals a couple of years ago. (Collinsville) is built more for playoff football -- physical up front and a lot of kids that can run the football."

Prediction time

Michael Swisher: Ardmore over Carl Albert - The two best defenses in the class will square off with the gold ball on the line. Everyone will want to pick the Titans, and rightfully so. They have the experience and talent to pull off the three-peat. But, since everyone else (save Ben, Iím guessing) will hop on the Carl Albert bandwagon, I think the stingy Tigersí defense will stymie the Titans in the title game and bring the gold ball to southern Oklahoma.
Ben Johnson: Carl Albert over Bishop Kelley - Where to begin? The Titans have Reise Collier leading the way on defense, and then Ben Harris, Dadrion Taylor and more on offense. Carl Albert's talent comes at you in waves. The Comets aren't without some talented players themselves with Zach Middleton, Cori Lewis, Jack Barkley, Cooper McMurray and plenty others. In the end, though, it's difficult not to go with Carl Albert. So take that Swisher!
Whitt Carter: Carl Albert over Ardmore One could say the Titans are on a roll. They have won back-to-back state titles and are the clear favorite to win another. One of the most storied programs in the state, Carl Albert is doing it this year the way they have many times - star skill players and a stout defense. They are 10-0 heading into the playoffs and have won 32 straight. Ardmore is another team that is not unfamiliar with success. The Tigers are also 10-0 for the first time since 2005 and have been just as elite on defense, allowing just 9.7 points per game. Ardmore head coach Josh Newby has the program back to the top of the class, year-in, year-out. But nothing has changed from what most thought during the preseason. This is Carl Albert's class. The Tigers will extend their winning streak to 36 games and win their third straight state title.

*Photo courtesy of Byron Beers/Tahlequah Daily Press

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