This is a very exciting week because my top games this week feature some small schools having major games this Friday.
Of course we all love our Jenks-Union matchups and our big-school rivalries, but there are times where we can easily forget the small town teams.
I actually had the privilege to broadcast a game in 2019 when the Southwest Covenant Patriots traveled to the tiny town of Bluejacket, 80 miles northeast of Tulsa.
I remember going up there in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and pulling into the school. These people were literally the definition of “Southern Hospitality”.
Someone from Bluejacket invited my co-worker and I to stay and eat a potluck dinner in the stadium.
They even invited the Southwest Covenant team to stay as well.
And newsflash, the food tasted just like the “Southern Hospitality” you would expect.
The food isn’t the only special part about these tiny towns. I remember looking around the stadium and seeing how everyone knew everyone.
Because I grew up in a small, independent Baptist church, I immediately felt at home as soon as we pulled into that parking lot.
It just feels like family.
The whole experience in Bluejacket really hit home for me and I’m so excited that there are some crazy games in the smaller classes this week!
1. #3 Cashion 7-1 (3-0 in A-3) @ #6 Tonkawa 7-1 (4-0 in A-3)
The defending Class A State champion Cashion Wildcats are already in a great position to find their way back to the championship again this year. They did have an early home loss, but have rolled over most opponents since the loss to non-district opponent Rejoice Christian. Cashion controls its own destiny. With a win in Tonkawa, the Wildcats should win out. But in order to jump to #1 in the rankings, they have to hope that Ringling and Gore both lose one of their last regular season games. As you’ll see in my next game, Ringling has a challenge of its own.
But lookout for the Tonkawa Buccaneers as well. They aren’t too far behind the Wildcats. Tonkawa has a strong running game and a solid defense. The Bucs haven’t allowed more than 18 points in any of their games this year and their only loss was against non-district opponent Perry, 13-12. And yes I did say Cashion is fighting for the #1 spot in the rankings, but Class A football fans can’t sleep on Tonkawa. A Buccaneer victory against the defending state champions would really shake up the rankings and the Class A playoff bracket. This is what I love about high school football.
2. #10 Wayne 7-1 (4-1 in A-4) @ #1 Ringling 8-0 (5-0 in A-4)
The top-ranked Ringling Blue Devils had a fantastic year last year. They just fell short in 2020 to Thomas-Fay-Custer in the Class A semis, 28-27, after winning it all in 2019. Just by looking at their results this season, you can tell this Blue Devil squad is on a mission to redeem themselves as they’ve outscored their eight foes 412-32, an average of 51.5-4. Those are definitely video game numbers.
The Wayne Bulldogs have to be happy for where they’re at as well. They’re ranked #10 in Class A. They barely lost on the road last week to a top-10 Elmore City-Pernell team last week 34-26, and they are on a great 7-1 start considering they went 6-3 last season. There will be so much chaos in these district standings and rankings if both Wayne and Tonkawa pull off the upsets this week.
3. #8 Bishop McGuiness 4-3 (3-1 in 5A-2) @ #7 Guthrie 7-1 (4-1 in 5A-2)
This is a rivalry game to look forward to. Both of these teams suffered losses to fellow rival Carl Albert earlier in the season. Now it looks like this will be a battle for 5A-2 runner up, which means hosting a first-round playoff game. The Irish have not had the start they were hoping for. Although they’ve lost thre games, all of their losses were by one possession. A huge win on the road for the Irish would be very helpful because next week as they’ll close out the season at home against a struggling Guymon team.
In 2021, Guthrie has been one of the most improved teams. The last time the Bluejays won a state championship was in 2013. In fact, five out of the six previous seasons, the Bluejays did not have a 10-win season. But they have shown a lot of promise this season and they are three points away from possibly being undefeated. Guthrie lost a heartbreaker at home 22-19 against Carl Albert. Can they redeem themselves against their other rival this week?
4. #8 Wagoner 6-2 (4-1 in 4A-3) @ #5 Grove 8-0 (5-0 in 4A-3)
Wagoner isn’t rolling through 4A like they did last year. The defending 4A champions have had trouble on the road this season, getting blown out by 5A opponent Coweta, 37-13, and then losing a slugfest against Bristow, 3-0. The Bulldogs now have to a red-hot Grove team. Can Wagoner overcome this test and run away with the district? The Bulldogs may have to in order to get home field advantage and claim another state title.
The Ridgerunners have been out of their minds, averaging just over 51 points per game. They’ve at least scored 50 points or more in five out of their eight contests. This is the best start the Ridgerunners have had since starting out 12-0 in 2008 and Friday is one of the biggest games in school history. With a win against the defending state champions, Grove will be well on its way to win the district and claim home field advantage.
5. #10 Noble 6-2 (4-1 in 5A-1) @ #6 Ardmore 8-0 (5-0 in 5A-1)
This district is extremely tight at the moment. Noble lost a close one to MacArthur a couple of weeks back, 47-37. That put Mac up top with Ardmore. Ardmore’s last two matchups are a home game against Noble, who is just behind MacArthur and Ardmore, and on the road against MacArthur. If Noble pulls it off this week at Ardmore, then Ardmore wins at MacArthur next week, it will be a three-way tie for the top spot in the district and bring the tie-breaker into play.
The Noble Bears went from 4-7 in 2020 to now 6-2 in 2021. Another team that could be one of the most improved teams this year, the Bears are still fighting to have a solid spot in the playoffs. A win on the road would be huge for them.
Keep your eyes glued because there could be tons of chaos with the rankings and standings after this week.