By Scott Hansen
For six of the eight Oklahoma high school football classifications, the quest for the gold ball ends this weekend with state championship games all over the state.
In Class 6A it will be an anticlimactic final with Tulsa Union and Jenks gunning for the state title. The two Tulsa-area neighbors have combined to win the last 12 state titles. Jenks is shooting for its third straight crown after getting past Union last season, 42-24.
For the top two programs in Oklahoma, the names change but the result stays the same. Jenks is shooting for its 10th title in 13 years, dating back to 1995. When Jenks failed to hoist the gold ball, Union has claimed the honors on the other three occasions.
In Class 5A, it will be a rematch of a highly-anticipated encounter to open the campaign in week one as Carl Albert will tussle with Tulsa Washington. Washington is unbeaten against Class 5A competition this season and enters the dual with a 12-1 mark. Carl Albert has reeled off 12 straight wins since losing its opener to Washington, 40-7.
Bishop McGuinness of Oklahoma City will attempt to win its third straight championship in a rematch of the 2007 Class 4A title game against Glenpool. After dropping their first two games, the Fighting Irish are rolling with 11 straight wins. Meanwhile, Glenpool has been dominant in its 13-0 record this season, allowing just 2.5 points per game while posting eight shutouts.
The coveted gold ball will also be handed out in Classes 3A, B, and C while Classes 2A and 1A will have semifinal contests this weekend.
In Class B (eight-man) in Mustang, unbeaten Garber will take on 9-4 Laverne. Garber has allowed eight points or less eight times this season, impressive in the eight-man ranks. Laverne was 4-4 at one point during the regular season before finding its feet in the playoffs.
Also in Mustang, Shattuck will look to continue its stranglehold on the Class C ranks while pursuing a state record for consecutive wins in the process. Shattuck – winners of 80 straight games – is searching for its seven straight title by taking on unbeaten Thackerville. Thackerville averages over 51 points per game while Shattuck allows just 5.5 on the season.
Here is a preview of the 11-man state championship games set to take place this weekend:
Class 6A State Championship
*No. 1 Tulsa Union (12-1) vs. No. 2 Jenks (12-1)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium – Stillwater
* According to Scott Hansen’s final regular season rankings.
Normally this rivalry battle is played at Chapman Stadium on the University of Tulsa campus. For the second straight meeting – including the MidFirst Backyard Bowl in September – Chapman Stadium is unavailable. On this occasion, Tulsa will host the Conference USA title game on Saturday.
Union has won 12 straight games after a 24-9 shocker in the season-opener at Broken Arrow. Jenks has claimed 11 straight wins after dropping the MidFirst Backyard Bowl battle with Union on Sept. 13, 24-17 in overtime.
This is the seventh meeting in the past 11 seasons in the state playoffs, and only once has the regular season winner prevailed in the playoffs.
Who to Watch
Tramaine Thompson: The Oregon State verbal has been outstanding this season for the Trojans emerging as the top target for sophomore Sawyer Kollmorgen. Thompson has 45 receptions for 702 yards and has tallied 13 total touchdowns this season.
Colton Dost: Dost is just 34 yards short of 1,000 for the season and has 17 touchdowns on the ground.
Cory Jones: Jones – a 5-foot-4, 140-pound rocket – has 88 carries this season for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns. If he gets a crease, it’s six points.
Chase Boyce: Boyce has been steady in his first season as the starting quarterback for the vaunted Redskins. The junior has completed 143-of-228 passes this season for 2,072 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Jeremy Smith: Smith has turned it on the playoffs and enters the final with 1,421 yards and 27 rushing scores as a senior.
Tracy Moore: Moore, a tight end, set a Union record this season with 67 receptions for 956 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Oklahoma State verbal scorched Jenks with 11 grabs for 148 yards in the last meeting.
The Pick – Tulsa Union, 35-27.
It should be another dandy, but Union has been firing on all cylinders since dropping its season-opener to Broken Arrow.
Class 5A State Championship
No. 1 Tulsa Washington (12-1) vs. No. 2 Carl Albert (12-1)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Sand Springs
It is the second meeting between the two teams, with Booker T. Washington hammering the Titans 40-7 in the first week of the season. Washington held David Oku to 95 rushing yards while junior quarterback was huge with 403 total yards and four touchdown strikes. Carl Albert has won nine state titles since 1989, while BTW is shooting for its seventh but its first since 1984.
Who to Watch
Eric Bennett: Bennett, despite missing significant time due to injury, has been massive to the success of the Hornets. The junior and two-time Oklahoma Player of the Week needs four more yards to go over 1,000 on the season through the air to go along with 11 scoring strikes and has added 861 yards and 14 scores on the ground.
Michael Doctor: A threat on both sides of the ball, Doctor has rushed for 1,251 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 8.8 yards per carry. On defense Doctor leads the team with 118 tackles and also has chipped in with eight sacks and three interceptions. Doctor is committed to Oregon State.
Ray Stovall: Stovall joins Doctor on a playmaking defense, posting 95 tackles and 12 sacks. Stovall is an emerging junior for the Hornets.
David Oku: Oku, who originally decommitted to Tennessee only to commit there again this week, has rushed for 1,759 yards and 22 touchdowns during his senior season. Oku has been one of the top players in the state during his entire career. Does Oku have one more big game in him?
J.T. Realmuto: The junior signal caller has been calm, cool, and collected in running the Carl Albert offense. Realmuto has completed 76-of-122 passes for 19 touchdowns, compared to just five interceptions. Realmuto can also inflict damage with his legs, rushing for 881 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 8.9 yards per carry.
Daytawion Lowe: The Oklahoma State verbal has a knack for making big plays in big games. The senior safety has 117 tackles and four interceptions this season. Lowe rarely steps on the field on offense, but when it does, sparks fly. Lowe has 463 total yards on 26 touches, five of them going for scores. Lowe has four touchdowns other than in rushing and receiving to boot.
The Pick – Carl Albert, 44-34.
Carl Albert is a different unit 13 weeks removed from its loss to Washington. The Titans are 9-0 in state title games in school history, all since 1989. How can you bet against Carl Albert?
Class 4A State Championship
No. 2 Bishop McGuinness (11-2) vs. No. 1 Glenpool (13-0)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Broken Arrow
Never underestimate the heart of a champion. After going 0-2 to start the season, McGuinness has won 11 straight since. The Fighting Irish haven’t been as dominant as the past two years – both resulting in state titles – but they know how to win. The Irish have won five games this season by five points or less.
On the other hand, Glenpool has been as dominant as anybody in Oklahoma history. The Warriors have allowed 33 total points en route to its unblemished 13-0 mark. Glenpool has posted eight shutouts this season. And oh by the way, Glenpool averages 37 points per game on offense, too.
Last season, the two finalists tussled for the gold ball at Owen Field in Norman with McGuinness claiming a closer-than-expected 14-9 triumph.
Who to Watch
Ryan Randolph – Randolph needed to be the hero in a 29-28 state semifinal victory over previously-unbeaten Grove. Randolph scored on a 14-yard run with 24 seconds left and then crossed the goal line on the game-winning two-point conversion. Randolph has rushed for 15 touchdowns and has completed 101-of-168 passes for 1,384 yards and 17 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions.
Gabe Ikard – Ikard, a recent Oklahoma verbal, is nearly impossible to block one-on-one from his defensive end spot. Ikard has 59 tackles and two interceptions this season for the Irish. Ikard also has big-play ability on offense, catching 21 passes for 484 yards and eight touchdowns for the Irish.
Marco Nelson – After missing the better part of the regular season due to injury, the junior has been a one-man wrecking crew in the playoffs. Nelson has rushed for 1,122 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with nine yards per carry for the Warriors.
B.J. Herring – All great defenses need an anchor, and Herring fits the bill. Herring has recorded 17 sacks to this season to along with 73 tackles, which is third on the team. McGuinness has to account for No. 88 at all times if it plans to allow Randolph to move the ball through the air.
The Pick – Glenpool 20, Bishop McGuinness 14
Last season, a McGuinness rout was predicted by many. Instead, it was a knockdown, drag out war at Owen Field. Expect another equally as enthralling battle on this occasion.
Class 3A State Championship
No. 1 Cascia Hall (12-0) vs. No. 8 Sequoyah-Claremore (10-3)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Usually, at least one of the spots in the Class 3A title game is reserved for Clinton. Sequoyah-Claremore took care of that, ousting the Red Tornadoes 34-31 in the semifinals. Most anointed Tuttle to replace Clinton at the top, but Cascia Hall came through with a 13-10 win over the Tigers in the semifinals.
This is a District 3A-3 rematch from week nine, won 34-14 by Cascia Hall. The Commandoes are sort of searching for a repeat title, but last season they won the Class 2A crown with a 20-13 win over Heritage Hall. Sequoyah won the 3A crown in 2006 by pounding Marlow in the final.
Who to Watch
Sam Clancy – The 6-foot-5 signal caller proved he could lead the Commandoes to the title once before, and will look to follow through again. Clancy has 1,957 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air as a senior.
Price Pinkerton – Pinkerton without a doubt is the go-to guy for Clancy. Pinkerton has 804 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this season. On defense, Pinkerton has four interceptions, returning one for a score.
Cody Richardson – If you were to watch Sequoyah-Claremore in black and white film, you would think its offense was from the 1960s. Richardson holds the key for Sequoyah ground attack. When Richardson needs to throw it, he can. Richardson has 579 passing yards on the season to go along with 575 rushing yards. In the state semifinal victory over Clinton, the Eagles had more passing yards than rushing… absolutely unheard of in Sequoyah Country.
Michael Wangsguard – The junior was a major force behind Sequoyah’s win over Clinton with over 100 yards rushing, a 53-yard touchdown grab from Richardson, two rushing touchdowns, and a crucial interception. Wangsguard has 930 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns this season on offense and has 72 tackles on defense.
The Pick – Cascia Hall 21, Sequoyah-Claremore 20
It won’t be a 20-point rout for the Commandoes on this occasion. But Cascia Hall’s recent title game experience holds a slight edge over the Eagles’ title game experience from 2006.
Semifinal Pairings in 2A and 1A
*Scott Hansen’s selections in BOLD
Heritage Hall (13-0) vs. Lincoln Christian (12-1) at Ponca City (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.)
Chandler (13-0) vs. Kingfisher (11-2) at Moore (Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
Okeene (13-0) vs. Tonkawa (12-1) at Putnam City (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.)
Morrison (12-1) vs. Hennessey (11-2) at Yukon (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.)
Writer’s Note: I sincerely apologize for my lack of content as of late. I am battling a medical issue to which I need surgery on both wrists very soon. I will do better by toughing it out until my surgery happens. Thanks for reading. – Scott Hansen