Originally Published: Nov 17, 2009 9:14 AM CDT
6A | 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | A | B | C
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
McAlester Buffaloes (10-1) at El Reno Indians (11-0)
Rewards typically come with a 10-1 season. And, while McAlester is still doing the postseason jitterbug, they have some less fortunate circumstances waiting in the quarterfinals. The Buffaloes will square off against the undefeated El Reno Indians on the road. That means about a two and a half hour drive for the herd. McAlester’s first round win over Nathan Hale was not much of a challenge for a team that played a difficult schedule during the season. Head coach Bryan Pratt wasn’t happy with his team’s 14-0 offensive performance in the first half, including two first quarter turnovers. The same kind of sloppy play could leave the Buffaloes buried against a merciless El Reno team.
The El Reno Indians ended the regular season 10-0 for the first time since 1999, but that’s far from where they’d like to finish. El Reno’s week 10 game against Duncan was indicative of its season, making big stops and big plays when needed. While it was El Reno’s weakest offensive showing of the season, the Indians bounced back with a more decisive 34-14 thumping of Ardmore. Now quarterback Jakeil Everheart and his team can sit back and wait for McAlester to take that trip into town.
Carl Albert Titans (9-2) at Bishop Kelley Comets (11-0)
This is probably the most anticipated matchup of the bunch. Carl Albert’s Titans have two things working for them. First, head coach Gary Rose's club is peaking at the perfect time. After a 3-2 start, the Titans scored 40-plus points and allowed less than 20 points in six straight wins. Second, Carl Albert’s kryptonite – Booker T. Washington – is nowhere to be found. The Hornets handed Carl Albert an early season loss both last year and this year and bounced them from last year’s 5A state championship.
Bishop Kelley was every bit as stout as the Titans on defense. The Comets never allowed more than 17 points and logged three shutouts. After a less-than-inspiring 6-0 halftime lead at home against Ada, Bishop Kelley picked up the pace and went on to win 25-0 in the school’s first playoff victory in four seasons. If the comets want to continue racking up wins, they’ll need to play its best game of the season against a Carl Albert team that won’t be intimidated under the playoff spotlight.
Bixby Spartans (7-4) at Shawnee Wolves (11-0)
The Bixby Spartans opened up the season looking very beatable, losing back-to-back games against playoff-bound Jenks and Glenpool. Even worse, the average point margin in the losses came to 31 points. The Spartans suffered a 10-2 loss to Booker T. Washington to end the season, then had to come from behind to defeat Central in the first round, aided by a Demarco Cobbs injury. Bixby at its best has been a dangerous team, but a trip to Shawnee will be no picnic.
Shawnee quarterback Brayle Brown has been a huge figure for the Wolves. His 28 touchdowns and 2,000-plus passing yards place him amongst the state’s best quarterbacks. Jordan Acock is equally reliable on the ground, punching in 20 scores. The Wolves played a difficult schedule in a challenging 5A-2 district and scored no less than 33 points in a game all season. The Wolves were particularly good at home, where only Carl Albert could bring the final score to within a touchdown. In a week one game against Altus, it was business as usual in a 43-13 win. Against Bixby, Shawnee will look to keep that business booming.
Guthrie Bluejays (7-4) at East Central Cardinals (10-1)
Things weren’t looking fortuitous for the young Guthrie Bluejays to start the season. The underclassmen-laden team stumbled out of the gate, scoring seven total points in back-to-back losses against Bishop McGuinness and El Reno. Losses in district play to Carl Albert and Shawnee seemed to suggest that this might not be head coach Rafe Watkins’ year. Then, go figure, Guthrie showed it was still Guthrie. The Bluejays routed Capitol Hill, 58-0, and Noble, 49-0, then carried that momentum into a dogfight of a win over Duncan in the first round. Led by Bryan Dutton at quarterback, they’ll need no less than that same energy to advance any further.
East Central relied on a senior-heavy club to bring poise and balance to the team and that’s exactly how the team has played. Outside of a 28-7 loss to Booker T. Washington – one of the few Hornets’ wins to still count – the club has been effective as any. They can score in bunches or clamp down to secure the run. On top of that game against the talented Hornets, East Central played a very difficult schedule, facing five playoff-bound teams in ten regular season games, beating all of them. It’s important not to get bogged down in the somewhat less-dominant numbers when it comes to Travis Hill’s team. The Cardinals can beat the best of them and have a home game to boot.
Find more high school football postseason coverage in our Oklahoma Sports Chase for the Championship.