1) Carl Albert (9-2) AT McAlester (10-1)
Carl Albert cannot afford to go 3 and out too many times. The Titans have a good defense but they haven’t seen an offense even remotely as good as McAlester’s. The Buffaloes have the best offense in the state and might be playing their best football as a unit right now. In the last two weeks, McAlester has put up 70 and 76 points respectively. Now the competition hasn’t been what it will be against Carl Albert, but there’s no question that they’ll score some points against the Titans. In fact, the Buffaloes had 76 points with a little over 10 minutes left in the game! This is a dangerous offense and Carl Albert will need to put some drives together. If the defending champs can’t control the ball then they’ll be in for a long night. I think the magic number is 45. McAlester is going to put up points, they’ve only been held under 40 twice and one of those times they scored 38. I think Carl Albert needs to keep McAlester under 45 points to have a chance, I don’t think they can.
2) Woodward (8-3) AT Wagoner (11-0)
The Boomers will travel across the state for a second consecutive week. Last week they traveled 221 miles to beat down Ada by the tune of 49-7. Now they’ll make the 243 mile drive to Wagoner to take on the undefeated Bulldogs. Like Scott Wright of The Oklahoman said on my show Saturday, “people in Woodward have to drive a while to go to dinner.” The Boomers are no strangers to extreme travel but it is something to think about. Also, when they get off the bus and hit the field they’ll see the fastest running back in the state. Woodward has seen Anadarko’s RJ Sink and Clinton’s Marquiz Simpkins but neither of those guys have the quickness and speed that Lawrence Evitt has. Now Wagoner is almost as one dimensional as it gets, they beat a good Catoosa team earlier this year without completing a single pass. I like Woodward but Wagoner has an advantage playing at home. We’ll see if Woodward can contain Evitt. A lot of teams have tried and failed. I think Woodward will be the next team, they have a good defense but not enough speed to stop Evitt from breaking off a couple big runs.
3) Berryhill (9-2) AT Locust Grove (11-0)
How good is Locust Grove?!? I’m really tired of asking this question, luckily we’ll have that answer after Friday night. Locust Grove’s toughest opponent to this point has been Hilldale and they won a close game. Berryhill is a tougher opponent and will push Locust Grove further then Hilldale pushed them. One thing is for sure, expect some weird things to happen. With Locust Grove head coach Matt Hennessey on the sidelines, expect fake field goals and punts, onside kicks, going for it on 4th down. You also have to think about this, Berryhill has playoff success in their past, Locust Grove does not. That might mean nothing, it might mean everything, we’ll see. Berryhill has the best player on the field in Tulsa commit Jeremy Smith. Smith makes an impact on offense running and catching the ball. Smith will be needed on defense to pressure Locust Grove QB Mason Fine. This is the same Locust Grove offense that put up 80 points. I don’t see that happening in this game. I’m taking Locust Grove in this game but I’m very hesitant about that pick. Take a coin and flip it to find a winner in this one.
4) Westmoore (9-2) AT Lawton (11-0)
Lawton jumped out to a 35-7 lead on Yukon in the 3rd quarter and let off the gas. Yukon was able to climb all the way back in the game and put a scare in #3 Lawton. The Wolverines held on to win while Westmoore came to the 918 and beat down a good Sand Springs team. Cause for concern? Not from me. Lawton is the best team from the west in my opinion. They have D1 talent that can compare to Jenks. The Wolverines have thrown in some games that make you scratch your head. However in the big games where they’re playing a top level opponent, Lawton has beaten down teams. This is coming from a guy based out of Tulsa. So I see these east side teams a lot more then I do the teams from the west. I’ve seen both teams on film and I’ve talked to some people that I trust over there to get an opinion. I think Lawton wins and runs away with it in the 2nd half. I’ve gone on record saying that I like Lawton by 2-3 touchdowns. Westmoore has a good team but they had no success against talented teams like Jenks or Broken Arrow. I think they’ll fall short again in Lawton.
5) Clinton (8-3) AT Poteau (10-1)
Poteau is just like Locust Grove, all they do is win and I keep doubting them. Maybe it’s time to buy in to how good this Poteau team is. They have the defending champs coming into their town. Clinton could be the most up and down team this season in Oklahoma. The Red Tornadoes have been hit and hit hard by injuries which has prevented them from being competitive in a couple games this season. I was surprised by the outcome in the 1st round where it took overtime for Clinton to move past Harrah 28-21. At full strength, Clinton is an elite team and one of the favorites to take state. Dealing with injuries, Clinton is just a team that narrowly beats Harrah and gets blown out by Anadarko and Piedmont. Which Clinton team will make the trip to Poteau? That will decide who wins this game.
6) Catoosa (8-3) AT Anadarko (11-0)
Anadarko has been a monster for years now. They have a run of 4 straight undefeated regular seasons and have only been tested once. They got by Woodward by 3 points in week 7. Woodward is a team that likes to come up and be physical both offensively and defensively. Introducing now, the Catoosa Indians. This is a ball club that likes to do the exact same thing. The Indians surprised a lot of people when they went to Cascia Hall and blasted the Commandoes by 29 points. There’s a reason Anadarko is undefeated and they should be the favorite. I’m just warning you, if you overlook Catoosa, you’ll lose. This is a physical team and if they push Anadarko down several times, I wonder how many times the Warriors will get up. I like Anadarko in this game, but similar to last week, I won’t be surprised if the Indians come out on top. Now if Catoosa blows out Anadarko it’ll be one of the biggest surprises of the year. Anadarko will need to get out to a fast start and keep Catoosa down in order to get the win. The Warriors should advance but they’ll get a dog fight from this Catoosa squad.
7) Nowata (10-1) AT Meeker (11-0)
Big time game down in Class 2A. The only loss between the two teams was Nowata’s loss to Adair back in early October. Meeker has run thru the regular season unbeaten and will give Nowata their toughest challenge since the Adair game. I don’t think Meeker has seen a team like Nowata all year long. The Ironmen are going to run, run and run the ball and with the weather looking bad for games on Friday and Saturday, that favors Nowata. How will Meeker respond? Meeker has one of the better defenses in 2A but I think Nowata can score on them. This is another one of those coin flip games and I’m picking Nowata. Not really based on anything. I’ve liked Nowata all year and I’m going to stick with them as they try to give the Bulldogs their first loss. It would not surprise me at all if Meeker got the job done and moved into the quarterfinals. This is a very evenly matched game and should make for another one of those instant classics.
8) Beggs (9-2) AT Checotah (10-1)
Full disclosure, I didn’t think Beggs would get here. In fact, the team they eliminated, Claremore Sequoyah, I had the Eagles going to the quarterfinals. So if I had Claremore Sequoyah beating Checotah and Beggs beat Claremore Sequoyah, does that mean I like Beggs over Checotah? Maybe. Checotah’s only loss was a 7 point decision to Stigler. The Demons have lost twice with the last loss coming to Victory Christian but it was much closer then the 20 point difference indicates. I could be wrong on this game but I favor the Demons. They were very impressive last week in their win over a Claremore Sequoyah team that I’ve liked all season long. Like almost all of these games in the top 15, it’s too close to feel real good about one team over another. Either outcome would not surprise me but I like Beggs to get the job done. If they beat Checotah by 14 like they did last week, watch out for the Demons.
9) Midwest City (9-2) AT Jenks (11-0)
The worst thing that could have happened to Midwest City’s chances of upsetting Jenks happened last week. The #1 Trojans were pushed in the 1st round by Owasso and now people are thinking they’re not as strong as originally thought. Wrong. This team is without a doubt the favorite in 6A and I’m afraid they might take out a little frustration on Midwest City tonight. The Bombers finally got it rolling on offense after an up and down season. However the Edmond Santa Fe defense is not the Jenks defense by any stretch of the imagination. I think Jenks will struggle offensively against the second best defense in the state in Midwest City. The first best defense? That belongs to the Trojans. Any momentum theis Bomber offense has from last week’s 49 point performance will be halted once they step on the field at Jenks. I think the Trojans remind the state why they’re the favorites to repeat in 6A and make an example out of Midwest City doing it. The Bombers are good and they’ll contend for a title next year in 6A division 2. They won’t push the defending champs tonight though. Jenks advances and looks good doing it.
10) Shawnee (9-2) AT Guthrie (11-0)
I like Shawnee. In fact, if they were playing in any of the other quarterfinal match-up’s with the exception of Carl Albert-McAlester, I’d pick them to win. Not this match-up though. There’s a reason why Guthrie is the only undefeated team left in 5A. They ran thru Carl Albert, Edmond Deer Creek, Bishop McGuinness and beat those 3 by a combined score of 89-31. Two of those teams made it to the quarterfinals. The Blue Jays are strong and should roll on into the semifinals and into the title game after that. Shawnee has had a great year led by dual threat QB John Jacobs. Jacobs might have some success tonight but it’ll be limited. I think the Blue Jays roll in this one. Shawnee keeps it close in the first half but the battle tested Guthrie squad pulls away after halftime.
11) Tuttle (8-3) AT Plainview (11-0)
These two teams have already met in 2013. All the way back on week 1 in the season opener. Seems like an entire season ago by now. Plainview got the best of Tuttle, but it was close, it was a 19-14 victory for the Indians. Ever since then Plainview has been blasting teams while Tuttle has dropped two other games. In fact, since the 19-14 game in week 1, Plainview has beaten opponents by an average score of 53.8-6.3. Now the competition hasn’t been equivalent to what they saw in week 1 but there’s no arguing that Plainview has been one of the most dominant teams in Oklahoma for 10 straight weeks now. I think Tuttle won’t get blown out by almost 50 like Plainview is averaging. I also don’t think it’ll be as close as 19-14 back in week 1. I like Plainview this season, I have them going all the way to the title game. I think the Indians win by 3-4 touchdowns pulling away in the second half. This is a strong Plainview team that’s only getting stronger and Tuttle will have to play their best football if they have a shot at pulling the upset.
12) Pryor (8-3) AT Lawton MacArthur (9-2) (Saturday Afternoon)
The Brennon Barth show hits the road for a Saturday afternoon visit in Lawton. What Brennon Barth is doing this year is very comparable to what Stevie Thompson of Carl Albert did a year ago. We all remember the story, Carl Albert gets off to a slow start, led by Thompson running the ball at QB go on to win the state title. I’m not saying Pryor will win the state title, but they can beat Lawton MacArthur. Barth has been unstoppable in his last 2 games running this triple option offense. In his last two games he has over 500 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. It’s gonna be cold, both teams are going to want to run the ball. Advantage Pryor. Lawton Mac’s biggest playmaker is a receiver and with the wind howling and the temperatures dropping, I’m not sure how effective the Highlanders can be passing the ball. Mac has also given up a lot of points this season. In the game where they dropped 71 on Duncan, they also gave up 56. Pryor is undefeated when they score 21 points or more. Lawton Mac has given up 21 points or more 6 times this season. Pryor keeps having success running the ball and finds holes in this Highlander defense. The Tigers shock 5A when they advance to the semifinals for the first time ever in school history.
13) Oologah (8-3) AT Douglass (10-1)
Douglass almost messed around and lost again in the 1st round. The Trojans won the state title back in 2010 and ever since then have struggled in the postseason. In 2011 and 2012 Douglass was upset in the 1st round and they were in danger of making it 3 times in a row last week. Douglass trailed Elgin in the 3rd quarter before eventually running away and winning the game. If you judge only the final score, you’ll think they’ll have no problem with Oologah. The final was 63-28 but do not forget they trailed in the 2nd half. Oologah is playing their best football right now when it matters most while Douglass has been up and down for a month now. Oologah got a big week 10 win over Catoosa, giving them home field advantage for their 1st round game with Sallisaw. The Mustangs continued to shine when they beat Sallisaw by 11 points to advance to the quarterfinals. Oologah has been one of those teams who put good regular season records together and push team in the playoffs but haven’t been able to break thru. They’ll travel to Oklahoma City to take on a Douglass team that finds ways to lose games. I think Oologah finally breaks thru and gets to the semifinals by beating Douglass in a hard fought game.
14) Bishop McGuinness (7-5) AT Collinsville (9-2)
Bishop McGuinness might be peaking right now. I have a feeling that Collinsville is struggling to find their identity. Over the last 3 weeks Collinsville has played teams close. The Irish beat down top 10 teams Deer Creek and Ardmore in the last two weeks. I wasn’t sure how this Irish team would fare in the playoffs after a season full of turnovers and disappointment. They’ve shown me exactly how they’re gonna do in the last two weeks. I’m afraid Collinsville is running into this Irish team at the worst possible time. Two weeks ago I would have taken Collinsville in this game. Now, I’m afraid it might be another Bishop McGuinness run away.
15) Lincoln Christian (7-4) AT Victory Christian (11-0)
Lincoln Christian took their first step to success in 3A when they won their 1st round game by 20 points. The Bulldogs dominated in 2A but after being moved up to 3A, they’ve struggled at times. This is their 2nd year competing in 3A and last week was their 1st playoff win in 3A. Now they go on the road and face a huge challenge in undefeated Victory Christian. Over the last two years, the Conquerors are 21-1. Victory made up for last year’s 1st round upset by leaving no doubt last week. Victory is led by an explosive high scoring offense. Sophomore quarterback Keats Calhoon has the potential to be one of the best QB’s statistically and realistically this state has ever seen. Lincoln Christian took their first step competing in 3A last week but I think the road ends here against Victory. The Conquerors are strong and will put up too many points. Lincoln Christian will have some success offensively and might score some points but they won’t be able to keep up with Calhoon and the high potent Victory offense.