Originally Published: Nov 8, 2010 7:8 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Reporter
OKLAHOMA – The road to the 6A crown has gone through either Jenks or Union every year since 1996. There’s no reason to believe that won’t be the case again this season. The Trojans and Redskins have one loss between them, and that’s only because it was a head-to-head matchup. They’ve combined to outscore their opponents by 662 points per game this year.
So, is there hope for anyone else? We examine the route to the 6A gold ball and countdown the top five teams with the best chance to win it.
5TH MOST LIKELY TO WIN IT:
Lawton Wolverines (10-0/7-0)
Why they’ll win it:DEFENSE
The Wolverines swarm to the ball. They’ve allowed more than two touchdowns just twice this season. They escaped with a one point win after holding Mustang to 29 points back in Week 4. If holding a team to 29 points doesn’t impress you, consider this – Mustang averages over 42 points per game.
Why they won’t: ROAD GAMES
They won’t play at home forever. When they’ve hit the road this season their offense hasn’t always followed them onto the bus. At home the Wolverines post nearly 50 points per game. On the road, they score 16 fewer points per game. In the later rounds of the playoffs, when they will be forced to play far from home, the competition is stiffer. If they can find a way to overcome that, they’ll be okay.
First Round Opponent: Edmond Memorial
4TH MOST LIKELY TO WIN IT:
Broken Arrow Tigers (8-2/6-1)
Broken Arrow has established itself as a serious contender in 6A. They have the ability to shut you down on the road (allowing just 16 points per game away from Memorial Stadium) or blow you out at home.
Why they’ll win it: RICHIE FRUECHTING AND CAMERON WRENN
The running back combo doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. Fruechting, the senior, has scored 20 rushing touchdowns this season. Wrenn, the sophomore, has rushed for 16 . Both have combined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground and have taken a lot of pressure off of quarterback Archie Bradley. Defenses have to respect Bradley’s ability to throw the deep ball, but can’t forget about the running back duo behind him.
Why they won’t: JENKS AND UNION
The numbers aren’t pretty. Since 2004, Broken Arrow is 1-16 combined against the other two 6A powers and have been outscored 515-197. The lone win over the past seven seasons came in the 2008 season opener when the Tigers beat Union 24-9.
This season, Broken Arrow has played well against both teams, but still come up empty. Against Union back in Week 3, BA led 21-7 but surrendered 47 unanswered points in the brutal 54-21 loss. Six weeks later, Broken Arrow hung with Jenks until the fourth quarter when the Trojans pulled away for a 23-7 win.
In all, either the Trojans or Redskins have ended the Tigers’ season three times during this ugly streak, including last season.
If they can avoid those two teams, Broken Arrow will have a great shot at winning the title.
First Round Opponent: Bartlesville
3rd MOST LIKELY TO WIN IT:
Midwest City Bombers (10-0/7-0)
The only team to win a 6A gold ball besides Jenks and Union since 1993 is Midwest City. They have a handful of really quality wins in 2010 that make it easy to think that they can do it again this season. There are also a few reasons to shy away from the Bombers’ bandwagon just yet.
Why they’ll win it: FEARLESS ON THE ROAD
Two of their final three games away from home went really well for the Bombers. Midwest City shut out Choctaw and Eisenhower in back-to-back road games down the stretch in the regular season. That came in stretch where they allowed just 14 total points in a month. They allowed 17 point to Norman North in the season finale, but still won by 16.
Hitting the road and playing well in the postseason are vital. Even the best teams are only guaranteed two home playoff games. The championship is won on neutral sites, often far from home. The Bombers have a leg up in that category.
Why they won’t: PASSING GAME
The Bombers have some skill under center, but it doesn’t stack up with the rest of the top-tier arms in the 6A playoffs. To win a gold ball, you have to have an ace under center.
First Round Opponent: Westmoore
2nd MOST LIKELY TO WIN IT:
Union Redskins (9-1/7-0)
They have won two in a row and 4 of the last 6 championships in 6A. The only stumbling block in recent years for Union has been Jenks. Last season the Redskins outscored its opponents 166-66. That included the 52-19 stomping of Jenks in the title game.
Why they’ll win it: EXPERIENCE
Like the stats above would indicate, Union knows how to win. They have made a living on coming up big in big game situations and have shown that they aren’t scared on the state’s highest stage. Last season in the title game against Jenks, Union ran a cross-field lateral that was returned for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. They never looked back. The confidence that comes from being there before and succeeding is priceless. Union has that.
Why they won’t: QUARTERBACK PLAY
The Redskins have used a few different quarterbacks this season and injuries have played a major factor in how the coaching staff has been able to call plays. For the last two seasons, Chase Boyce starred under center for Union and was the biggest reason why they won those two titles. This year, QBs have been inconsistent. Hunter Atyia has thrown a few interceptions in very inopportune situations, but also led game-winning drives. Kale Pearson injured his foot and hasn’t been able to contribute.
Getting consistent play from the quarterbacks, and even out of the wildcat formations, will be the key to Union’s title hopes.
First Round Opponent: Muskogee
MOST LIKELY TO WIN IT:
Jenks Trojans (10-0/7-0)
Why they’ll win it: ALLAN TRIMBLE
The Jenks head coach has been the difference this season for the Trojans. After his suspension a season ago, the Trojans continued to win, but lacked the fire and intensity they had before Trimble’s departure. This season, with mostly all the same players outside of some big losses on the offensive line, Jenks is scoring six points more and allowing over ten fewer points per game.
2010: 54.7 PPG – 8.1 PAPG
2009: 47 PPG – 19.1 PAPG
Why they won’t: COCKINESS
Jenks hasn’t had too much of a problem in that category over the past few years under Trimble, but that doesn’t mean it can’t creep into this year’s playoff push. It’s human nature to feel good about yourself when you succeed, and so far, Jenks has had enormous success. They only played three games this season where the final margin of victory was less than 48 points. That kind of unparalleled domination could easily make you puff out your chest a bit. Avoid that, and Jenks could walk away with a 12th 6A title.
First Round Opponent: Bixby
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