Cushing, OK 74023
Record: 4-7 | Unranked
| Ben Johnson
Players to watch
- Gunnar Thompson (Poteau): A 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end who is starting to get recognition by Division I coaches has wrecked havoc on opposing offenses all year long with 74 tackles and nine sacks. He's also chipping in on offense at tight end with 22 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
- Bryce Madron (Blanchard): Junior tailback has powered the Lions' offense all season long with 1,499 yards and 31 touchdowns on 146 carries.
- Tavien Woodworth (Fort Gibson): Junior running back has eclipsed 200 carries through 10 games with 201 rushes for 1,474 yards and 17 touchdowns.
- Jose Oritz (Catoosa): Senior tailback has amassed 1,198 yards and 17 touchdowns on 151 carries this season.
- Sam Brandt (Bethany): Junior quarterback does it all for the Bronchos. He's carried the ball 99 times for 805 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he's also completed 106 out of 163 passes for 1,717 yards and 16 touchdowns. On defense, he's logged 50 tackles and two interceptions.
- Carson Berryhill (Tuttle): Senior quarterback has tossed 19 touchdowns while completing 83 of 144 passes for 1,324 yards.
- Devin Hembry (Hilldale): Rushed 88 times for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Hornets this season.
Don't overlook... Bristow
The Pirates were forced to move up a class from the past several seasons, but it's worked out swimmingly. Bristow has outscored opponents by a combined score of 478 to 206, and the Pirates' lone loss was a 29-28 contest in overtime against Wagoner. Tyler Wayland at quarterback is as dangerous as it gets, and the Pirates will attempt to control the game in the trenches.
Favorite (potential) matchup - Bristow vs. Poteau
Both teams face an uphill battle to get to this point, but what a showdown it would be. Bristow's dominating running game against Poeau's defense would be a sight to behold.
How do other high school coaches see the 4A postseason playing out? We asked and they made their predictions (after being granted anonymity, of course).
Coach One: "For the semifinals, I'll go with Broken Bow against Wagoner. Bow is really fast but Wagoner knows how to win. I'll also go with Bristow against Blanchard. Bristow has the fasteset backfield in maybe 4A history. So I"ll go with Bristow. In the finals, Wagoner won the first time and will win the second time. After all, they are Wagoner."
Two: "Tuttle is the total package. They are extremely physical on both sides of the ball. They have tremendous line and skill kids. They don't have a weakness that can be spotted. Really good players at all positions. To top if off, they are extremely well coached."
Michael Swisher: Poteau over Wagoner - Iíll be the first to admit I have no idea whatís going to happen in the 4A playoffs. I think you could play out the bracket 10 times, get different matchups in the final each time and have six or seven different teams bring home the gold ball. Thatís the long way of saying I wouldnít be surprised if neither of these teams are in the title tilt. So why not Poteau? Pirates win their first-ever football crown.
Ben Johnson: Poteau over Wagoner - Could be in store for a rematch of last year's first round matchup that Wagoner barely won. The Bulldogs deploying Schyler Adair against the Pirates' defense would be exceptional to witness. I would like to go with Bristow in the championship game, but I picked Poteau at the beginning of the season so I'll stick with the Pirates.
Whitt Carter: Tuttle over Clinton - Arguably the most wide-open class in the state should make for a fun few weeks of playoff games. The Red Tornadoes missed the playoffs last year for the first time since the Civil War, but are more than back. Clinton finished 9-1 with the lone loss by just a touchdown in week 2 to Class 3A favorite Heritage Hall. The recipe is the same, as Clinton runs the football right at you and plays great defense, a recipe for success in November and December. Meanwhile, Tuttle has been as impressive as anyone in the class this year, as they too are back among the elite after finishing 6-5 a year ago. Quarterback Carson Berryhill leads a great Tigers' offense that has wins over Kingfisher, Plainview, Bethany, Cushing and Blanchard - all playoff teams. I picked Tuttle to win it at the beginning of the year and I'm sticking with the Tigers.
*Photo courtesy of John Sullivan Photography
| Ben Johnson
We are two weeks away from playoff games starting. But for now, it's time to hand out playoff berths and district titles.
Here's what's on tap for week nine:
1. 5A No. 4 Bishop McGuinness (7-1) at 5A No. 6 Guthrie (7-1): Laying low and waiting for the final two weeks of the season -- that's been Bishop McGuinness for about a month now. The playoffs essentially start now for the Irish with Guthrie in the crosshairs, followed by Carl Albert. The winner all but secures a home playoff game in the first round, whereas a Bishop McGuinness win sets up a showdown for the district title next week against the Titans. Should mention that Bishop McGuinness has won four of the past six matchups against Guthrie since 2012.
2. 6AI No. 2 Jenks (7-1) at 6AI No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (7-1): The Wolves had a chance to make a splash against Broken Arrow two weeks ago and got beat 35-7. But Edmond Santa Fe can still earn a home playoff game and all but wrap up second place in 6AI-1 with a victory. Jenks, meanwhile, has been on a roll since losing to Broken Arrow on Sept. 20
3. A No. 2 Cashion (8-0) at A No. 5 Crossings Christian (8-1): Another week, another District A-3 game in the top 10. This time, it's the top two teams clashing for the district title. This is it for Crossings Christian in the regular season; a win and the Knights enjoy a bye week in week 10 with the playoffs around the corner. A victory for Cashion will be followed by a another interesting matchup with Minco next week. Never a dull moment in A-3.
4. 4A No. 7 Catoosa (7-1) at 4A No. 5 Bristow (7-1): For the first time since 1989, these two I-44 establishments will square off, and thanks to Oologah and Wagoner it's a glorified mess atop 4A-3. Wagoner, Oologah, Bristow and Catoosa are all 4-1 in district play, so the winner of this one at least feels better about staying home for a first-round playoff matchup. Plus, Bristow's Tyler Wayland and Catoosa' Daniel Queen sharing a field is exciting within itself.
5. 6AII No. 5 Del City (6-2) at 6AII No. 4 Lawton (5-3): The Wolverines had Stillwater on the ropes, and they flat out gave up too many points against Midwest City. Del City was throttled last week by Midwest City. Needless to say, one of these two desperately needs a victory. The winner likely finishes third and earns a date at Booker T. Washington in the opening round of the playoffs. That's a much better option than venturing to Bixby.
6. 3A No. 5 Lincoln Christian (7-1) at 3A No. 9 Idabel (6-2): Raise your hand if you have a firm handle on how things are playing out in District 3A-3. Now put it down, because no one knows what's happening in that chaotic mess. Both Lincoln Christian and Idabel seem likely to be playoff representatives from 3A-3, so this one is more about district supremacy. It's likely the result will be whatever further creates havoc in that bizarro district.
7. Hominy (6-2) at A No. 9 Morrison (7-1): Class A has itself some stacked districts -- A-3 and A-5 come to mind. Here we have more A-5 hijinks afoot. Morrison has been dominant this season, outside of its loss to Tonkawa. Hominy's only district loss was a six-point setback against Pawhuska. Morrison's rushing attack against Hominy Hipp brothers (Blake and Mike) should be fun to watch. All eight clashes between these two have occurred since 2008, and Morrison has won six of them.
8. Skiatook (6-2) at 5A No. 3 Collinsville (8-0): A few weeks ago, this one looked like it had all the makings of a week nine district clash for the 5A-4 title. Then Skiatook went and lost to Tahlequah and Claremore and now appears to be almost assuredly locked into the No. 4 spot in the district. The Bulldogs, though, can claim some Highway 20 bragging rights with a win. Neither defense has given up more than 69 points this season, so expect plenty of carries and a quick game.
9. B No. 6 Dewar (7-1) at B No. 10 Keota (6-1): Perhaps the best defense not mentioned in the state resides in Keota this season. The Lions have given up only 58 points and only 14 in their last four games. Then there's Dewar, a team that's averaging 47.6 points per contest. Winner here claims the B-6 crown.
10. 4A No. 4 Blanchard (6-2) at Cushing (4-4): Upon further review, Cushing might have been overlooked early on this season. But the Tigers continue to churn out points, much like they've done in recent seasons. Bryce Madron is a running machine for the Lions, and Cushing's Wil Moyer continues to rack up passing yards every week. Expect some offensive fireworks in this one.
Westmoore at Norman: Fourth place in 6AI-1 is up for grabs here. Of course, being in the playoffs will mean a trip to Union in the first round. But, better to have a shot than closing up shop after the regular season.
Midwest City at Choctaw: Choctaw in desperate need of a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Any letdown from the Bombers after torching Del City last week?
Coweta at Bishop Kelley: The Comets have been coasting along in 5A-3 play this year. Their defense, though, should get a challenge from Coweta quarterback J.D. Geneva this week.
Perkins-Tryon at John Marshall: In a different district in 3A, Perkins would be competing for a district title. But the Demons' have the misfortune of being paired with Heritage Hall, John Marshall and Kingfisher. Still, though, don't sleep on Perkins-Tryon against the Bears this week.
Pauls Valley at Plainview: Winner likely finishes second in 3A-2 and welcomes Kingfisher to town in the first round of the playoffs. That's no picnic, but seems like a better option than traveling to John Marshall.
Verdigris at Locust Grove: Berryhill is the class of 3A-4, but Verdigris has worked itself into position to possibly host a playoff game. The Pirates' defense has been stingy this season, but next up is Verdigris quarterback Brant Hager and running back Hayden Hutchinson.
Okemah at Jones: The Longhorns haven't been challenged much this season. The Panthers need a win to keep playoff hopes alive in 3A-2.
Prague at Meeker: Staying in 3A-2, Meeker can solidify its spot in the No. 2 spot with a win. Prague is tussling with Kellyville and Okemah just to get into the playoffs.
Shattuck at Seiling: A victory for Shattuck wraps up the B-1 crown.
Tyrone at Pond Creek-Hunter: Buffalo has reigned supreme in C-1, so it's now down between PC-Hunter and Tyrone to claim the second spot.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo courtesy of Coweta football
| Ben Johnson
Well, what we have here is two hotly-contested showdowns for first and third place. Swisher and Coach Turney are locked in a battle for first place, while Whitt and myself charge hard after the bronze.
Week 6 picks - Coach Turney 14-4 | Whitt 13-5 | Ben 13-5 | Swisher 13-5
Overall - Swisher 91-35 | Turney 91-35 | Ben 84-42 | Whitt 84-42
And per usual, my apologies in advance to the teams I pick below:
Carl Albert at Guthrie
Michael Swisher: Carl Albert 33, Guthrie 17
Ben Johnson: Carl Albert 30, Guthrie 16
Whitt Carter: Carl Albert 28, Guthrie 21
Randy Turney: Carl Albert 31, Guthrie 14
Broken Arrow at Edmond Santa Fe
Michael Swisher: Broken Arrow 38, Edmond Santa Fe 14
Ben Johnson: Broken Arrow 41, Edmond Santa Fe 19
Whitt Carter: Broken Arrow 34, Edmond Santa Fe 14
Randy Turney: Broken Arrow 28, Edmond Santa Fe 7
Stillwater at Lawton
Michael Swisher: Stillwater 35, Lawton 21
Ben Johnson: Stillwater 23, Lawton 22
Whitt Carter: Stillwater 42, Lawton 34
Randy Turney: Stillwater 35, Lawton 20
Cascia Hall at Berryhill
Michael Swisher: Berryhill 24, Cascia Hall 12
Ben Johnson: Berryhill 20, Cascia Hall 19
Whitt Carter: Cascia Hall 32, Berryhill 28
Randy Turney: Berryhill 28, Cascia Hall 20
Victory Christian at Beggs
Michael Swisher: Beggs 28, Victory Christian 10
Ben Johnson: Beggs 33, Victory Christian 24
Whitt Carter: Beggs 35, Victory Christian 27
Randy Turney: Beggs 21, Victory Christian 20
Plainview at Sulphur
Michael Swisher: Plainview 24, Sulphur 22
Ben Johnson: Plainview 29, Sulphur 23
Whitt Carter: Sulphur 28, Plainview 24
Randy Turney: Sulphur 34, Plainview 31
Buffalo at Pond Creek-Hunter
Michael Swisher: PC-Hunter 30, Buffalo 14
Ben Johnson: PC-Hunter 43, Buffalo 22
Whitt Carter: PC-Hunter 31, Buffalo 12
Randy Turney: PC-Hunter 34, Buffalo 22
Booker T. Washington at Sapulpa
Michael Swisher: Booker T. Washington 31, Sapulpa 30
Ben Johnson: Booker T. Washington 27, Sapulpa 24
Whitt Carter: Booker T. Washington 42, Sapulpa 28
Randy Turney: Booker T. Washington 31, Sapulpa 22
Stigler at Seminole
Michael Swisher: Seminole 34, Stigler 17
Ben Johnson: Seminole 23, Stigler 20
Whitt Carter: Seminole 34, Stigler 21
Randy Turney: Seminole 34, Stigler 20
Tonkawa at Morrison
Michael Swisher: Morrison 18, Tonkawa 14
Ben Johnson: Morrison 26, Tonkawa 16
Whitt Carter: Morrison 27, Tonkawa 21
Randy Turney: Morrison 38, Tonkawa 14
Yukon at Westmoore
Michael Swisher: Yukon 17, Westmoore 16
Ben Johnson: Yukon 21, Westmoore 17
Whitt Carter: Westmoore 21, Yukon 20
Randy Turney: Westmoore 24, Yukon 17
El Reno at Duncan
Michael Swisher: Duncan 24, El Reno 21
Ben Johnson: Duncan 32, El Reno 17
Whitt Carter: Duncan 28, El Reno 14
Randy Turney: El Reno 28, Duncan 21
Bethany at Cushing
Michael Swisher: Bethany 31, Cushing 17
Ben Johnson: Bethany 33, Cushing 27
Whitt Carter: Bethany 35, Cushing 13
Randy Turney: Bethany 30, Cushing 24
Catoosa at Cleveland
Michael Swisher: Catoosa 36, Cleveland 25
Ben Johnson: Catoosa 28, Cleveland 18
Whitt Carter: Catoosa 37, Cleveland 21
Randy Turney: Catoosa 20, Cleveland 14
Kingfisher at Perkins-Tryon
Michael Swisher: Kingfisher 31, Perkins-Tryon 28
Ben Johnson: Kingfisher 27, Perkins-Tryon 21
Whitt Carter: Kingfisher 35, Perkins-Tryon 21
Randy Turney: Kingfisher 34, Perkins-Tryon 20
Okemah at Meeker
Michael Swisher: Meeker 33, Okemah 21
Ben Johnson: Meeker 34, Okemah 24
Whitt Carter: Okemah 33, Meeker 24
Randy Turney: Meeker 28, Okemah 12
Stratford at Washington
Michael Swisher: Washington 27, Stratford 23
Ben Johnson: Washington 32, Stratford 19
Whitt Carter: Washington 28, Stratford 20
Randy Turney: Washington 38, Stratford 20
Hooker at Okeene
Michael Swisher: Hooker 31, Okeene 13
Ben Johnson: Hooker 29, Okeene16
Whitt Carter: Hooke 35, Okeene 13
Randy Turney: Hooker 34, Okeene 7
Covington-Douglas at Southwest Covenant
Michael Swisher: SW Covenant 48, Covington-Douglas 30
Ben Johnson: SW Covenant 44, Covington-Douglas 25
Whitt Carter: SW Covenant 45, Covington-Douglas 31
Randy Turney: SW Covenant 42, Covington-Douglas 20
Let us know what you think. Tweet your predictions to us at @Skordle.
| Ben Johnson
Some rock-solid games this week as district races tighten up.
Here's what's on tap this week:
1. 5A No. 1 Carl Albert (6-0) at 5A No. 7 Guthrie (6-0): Bluejays beat Carl Albert every year from 2010 to 2015, but the Titans have posted back-to-back blowouts over Guthrie, including last year's 55-10 contest. Carl Albert running back Dadrion Taylor is also expected back after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season.
2. 6AI No. 1 Broken Arrow (6-0) at 6AI No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (6-0): Tigers have been machine-like all season long. The Wolves pulling the upset would be one to send shockwaves throughout 6AI.
3. 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (6-0) at 6AII No. 5 Lawton (4-2): Pioneers are 0-4 against Lawton since the two clubs started playing district contests in 2014. And this one was going to feature a stellar running back showcase, but Stillwater tailback Qwontrel Walker was ejected in the fourth quarter against Choctaw last week, leaving his status for this week up in the air. Meanwhile, the Wolverines will ride the hot hand of Miles Davis at tailback.
4. 3A No. 8 Cascia Hall (5-1) at 3A No. 2 Berryhill (6-0): These two teams have met 10 times since 1999 and Cascia Hall is one nine of those games. The Chiefs' lone victory in the series was in 2004. Winner all but locks up the District 3A-4 crown.
5. 2A No. 9 Victory Christian (6-0) at 2A No. 5 Beggs (5-1): Former district mates are reunited in 2A-3 play this year. From 2010 to 2015, the two teams split the series 3-3. Winner here still has to tangle with Sperry to claim the district title.
6. 3A No. 4 Plainview (5-1) at 3A No. 5 Sulphur (5-1): Sulphur beat Plainview 35-12 last season, but prior to that Plainview had won the last eight clashes between the two teams.
7. C No. 4 Buffalo (6-0) at C No. 1 Pond Creek-Hunter (6-0): Winner all but wraps up the District C-1 championship. And to this point, Pond Creek-Hunter opponents are averaging four points per game.
8. 6AII No. 6 Booker T. Washington (3-3) at 6AII No. 7 Sapulpa (5-1): Chieftains came up with an overtime win over Muskogee last week, and a win over the Hornets would be a massive statement. One advantage Sapulpa does have is at the quarterback position with Eli Williams.
9. Stigler (5-1) at 3A No. 6 Seminole (5-1): All of a sudden everyone in District 3A-3 is chasing after Idabel. And it's looking more and more like a quality team will be left out of the playoff picture in the suddenly-deep 3A-3. The winner here at least feels somewhat more at ease with a postseason spot more obtainable.
10. Tonkawa (6-1) at A No. 3 Morrison (6-0): Tonkawa has a two-game winning streak going against Morrison, but it's the Wildcats who are ranked heading into this one. District A-5 is deep, so a win here moves one of these two closer to the district title.
Yukon at Westmoore: Top three spots in 6AI-1 appear to be spoken for among Broken Arrow, Jenks and Edmond Santa Fe. So for a regular season matchup, it all but serves as a "win and you're in; lose and you're out" tilt. And Westmoore is 6-0 against Yukon since 2006.
El Reno at Duncan: The Demons are unbeaten but now the schedule tightens up. A win for Duncan sets up an epic showdown against Ardmore next week for 5A-1 supremacy. A win for El Reno has the Indians feeling better about securing a postseason spot. El Reno beat Duncan 41-40 last season.
Bethany at Cushing: Despite a minus-nine scoring margin in six games this season, the Tigers are 3-0 in District 4A-2. A win for Cushing could work toward some must-see games against Blanchard and Tuttle to close out the regular season in a few weeks.
Catoosa at Cleveland: District 4A-3 looks like it'll come down to Bristow or Wagoner at the top. So that leaves three -- maybe four (Catoosa, Cleveland, Grove and Oologah) -- competing for the final two playoff spots.
Kingfisher at Perkins-Tryon: We're finding out that a lot of districts have some solid depth, and 3A-1 falls in that category. Heritage Hall and John Marshall are locks for playoffs spots, so it's up to Kingfisher, Perkins, Mannford and Mount Saint Mary to challenge for the final two spots.
Okemah at Meeker: Since 2008, Okemah has won seven of the last eight matchups. Both of these clubs need a win to have a shot at possibly winning or finishing in the top two spots of 2A-2.
Stratford at Washington: Washington pushed Millwood to the limit last week. And despite a 1-2 mark in 2A-7, Stratford has to be taken seriously in the playoff mix.
Hooker at Okeene: Winner here gets a chance to challenge Oklahoma Bible Academy for District A-1 bragging
Covington-Douglas at Southwest Covenant: Winner all but wraps up the C-3 title.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo courtesy of Guthrie Booster Club
| Ben Johnson
Look back at 2017
2017 district champs
4A-1: Heritage Hall - Everyone
should have seen it coming from the start. Heritage Hall took down John
Marshall -- who went on to win the Class 3A title -- in the first week
of the season, and the Chargers just stampeded their way through 4A-1,
as well. Clinton came the closest to knocking off Heritage Hall, 28-24,
in week four but Heritage Hall ended up polishing off a 14-0 campaign
with a title game victory over Ada.
4A-2: Ada - The
Cougars endured some brutal losses to Ardmore and Carl Albert in
non-district play, but it prepared Ada for what was up ahead in 4A-2
play. The Cougars' only blemish in district competition was to Tuttle,
but Ada ended up knocking off Blanchard for the tiebreaker at the end of
the year when both finished atop the standings. Then Ada went on to
knock off Oologah in the quarterfinals, and the Cougars marched all the
way to the title game, where Heritage Hall ended up prevailing.
4A-3: Wagoner - Few figured there'd be many teams to stand between Wagoner and Heritage Hall ultimately meeting in the 4A title game. The Bulldogs owned the state's longest winning streak (48) after another unbeaten run through 4A-3 and a first round playoff victory over Poteau. But trouble arrived in the form of Blanchard, who ended the Bulldogs' unbeaten run at Odom Stadium.