Class 5A Semifinals Preview

McAlester (11-1) VS Lawton MacArthur (10-2) AT Choctaw

The Buffaloes have been dismantling teams.  No other way can properly describe what McAlester has been doing to opponents.  In the last 3 weeks the Buffalo offense has scored 70, 76 and 52 points.  Last week McAlester put up 52 against the defending champion Carl Albert Titans.  They beat down the champs 52-13 and the last Carl Albert TD was scored on McAlester’s back up’s.  We knew the offense would score points, in fact, the Buffaloes made scoring 52 points look incredibly easy.  The defense showed up and impressed.  In fact, the whole state of Oklahoma opened their eyes when they saw what the Buffaloes were able to do.  Carl Albert’s offense could only manage 6 points going against the McAlester’s starters.  Brian Pratt’s Buffaloes now make their 3rd straight appearance in the 5A semifinals.  They went 0-2 in the last 2 appearances and haven’t reached the championship game since 1996.  While McAlester has steamrolled their playoff opponents Lawton Mac has beaten their first two opponents by a combined 10 points.  For those keeping track at home, the Buffs have beaten their first two opponents by a combined 87 points.  The Highlanders have struggled while the Buffaloes have exceeded expectations.  MacArthur was trailing Pryor 7-0 at halftime and had limited success offensively.  The Highlanders won 19-15 and finished 19 points under their season average for points per game.  Lawton Mac cannot afford to struggle offensively.  Lawton Mac beat Duncan 71-56 in district play and they’ll need to win a game like that to get the best of McAlester.  The Highlanders will need to put up points.  A lot of points.  I don’t think they can score enough points to keep up with this Buffalo offense that is scoring with ease.  McAlester’s defense showed that they are no longer the weak link of this team when they controlled Carl Albert’s offense and kept them out of the endzone.  What is their weak link now?  They might not have one.  McAlester wins and this might be another game that’s over by halftime.

Guthrie (12-0) VS Collinsville (10-2) AT Sapulpa

Guthrie is the only unbeaten team left in 5A but they struggled last week for only the second time this season.  Guthrie has been dominant all season and they’ve only had two games all year that were decided by less than 10 points.  Bring in Collinsville, 9 of their 12 games have been decided by less than 10 points including the last two playoff games.  Guthrie struggled last week with containing Shawnee dual threat QB John Jacobs.  Collinsville has a fantastic dual threat QB in Zane McElroy and he might be coming off his best game in the quarterfinal win over Bishop McGuinness.  Guthrie is undefeated for a reason.  A lot of teams have tried to slow them down and have failed.  I’ve already gone on record that I think Collinsville will pull the upset and I know that I’m in the minority.  Last week’s quarterfinal games convinced me that Collinsville has a legitimate shot and that I should pull the trigger on the upset call.  Guthrie struggled to get past Shawnee.  A win’s a win in the playoffs but it left me with question marks about this Blue Jay team.  I thought given what they’ve done this year, they’d handle Shawnee by 2-3 touchdowns.  I could be wrong here, I know I have been many times this year, but I think Guthrie is vulnerable.  You have to tip your cap to Collinsville, they’re riding an 8 game win streak and have plenty of experience when the game goes down to the wire.  They’re coming off a very impressive victory over Bishop McGuinness.  The Irish were playing their best football this season and Collinsville got by in another close one.  They got a 75 yard TD pass with just under 1:30 left in the game to make it 35-34 in favor of the Irish.  Instead of kicking the extra point and going to OT, the Cardinals went for the lead and got the 2 point conversion.  Collinsville is used to being in situations like that, Guthrie is not, at least not this year.  I might just be trying to convince myself that Collinsville has a shot.  No doubt in my mind that Guthrie is a fantastic football team but I’m calling for the upset and for the Cardinals to make their first state title game ever.

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