By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
2007 STATE TITLE: Jenks 42, Union 24
FAVORITES: Union (9-1) and Jenks (9-1). The Redskins won the regular season match-up between the two teams in overtime and its only loss came in week one to Broken Arrow. Jenks lone blemish came in the Backyard Bowl. The Trojans have won nine of the last 12 6A Gold Balls with Union staking claim to the other three.
WILD CARDS: Mustang (10-0) and Midwest City (10-0). It might be hard to call these teams wild cards considering both finished the regular season unbeaten, but with the stronghold Union and Jenks has on the 6A, west-side schools will continue to be the underdog in the foreseeable future until they claim back the Gold Ball. MWC was the last west-side school to win a state title. That was 1995.
PREDICITON: Union over Jenks. It's the safe and easy pick but it's hard to imagine the 6A scenario playing out any other way.
2007 STATE TITLE: Guthrie 16, Bixby 3
FAVORITES: Tulsa Washington (9-1) and Carl Albert (9-1). When the two 5A favs met opening night, it was a 40-7 Booker T. Washington blowout. Since then, the Titans have hardly been challenged, winning by an average of 33 points per game. The Hornets defeated Bixby 28-14 to win the District 3 title last week and played impressively against East Central (46-21 win) and Broken Arrow (24-14 loss; lost starting QB Eric Bennett.)
WILD CARDS: Guthrie and Coweta. The Blue Jays only regular season loss came to Carl Albert by three points and are the defending 5A champs. Coweta finished unbeaten in district play and its most likely scenario would be a semi-final meeting with Carl Albert.
PREDICTION: Washington over Carl Albert. Quarterback Eric Bennett proved once again why he's so valuable to the Hornets success against Bixby. He rushed for 253 yards and had touchdown runs of 42 and 80 yards. The ad-lib abilities should help Booker T. claim its first Gold Ball since 1984.
2007 State Title: Bishop McGuinness 14, Glenpool 9
FAVORITE: Glenpool. No team has dominated high school football like the Warriors this season. It only allowed 13 points on defense all season, put up at least 35 points in every game except in an 8-0 win over 5A Bixby.
WILD CARDS: Bishop McGuinness, Grove and Broken Bow. McGuinness is the defending champs but had a suspect loss to 5A Bishop Kelly in week two and was held to three points against defending 5A champ Guthrie. Despite playing in one of the toughest 4A districts, Grove was a perfect 10-0. Its defining win came Oct. 16, when the Ridgerunners were down 20-0 to Oologah at halftime, then scored 41 unanswered points in the second half to win the ballgame. Broken Bow is yet another 4A unbeaten team and could face another semi-final rematch with Glenpool.
PREDICTION: Glenpool over Grove. The Warriors have overpowered every team it's faced during the regular season. Glenpool hasn't forgotten about the close loss in last year's 4A final loss.
2007 State Champ: Clinton
FAVORITE: Cascia Hall. The Commandos are the defending 2A champs and have made a seamless transition back to 3A this year. Cascia has won 25 straight games dating back to last season and has emerged as the only thing standing in its way of winning back-to-back Gold Balls is a possible semi-final match-up with Tuttle.
WILD CARDS: Tuttle, Checotah and Claremore-Sequoyah. Along with Cascia, both teams were the only unbeaten teams in 3A this season. Tuttle is consistently a 3A power with state titles in 2001 and 2005. Checotah has maybe been the biggest surprise in Oklahoma high school football this season. After a sub-par 2007 season, the Wildcats won its first district title since the 1940's. They also have 3A's leading scorer in Chris Carr who has 29 touchdowns this season. Sequoyah is just two years removed from a 3A title, but lost to Cascia Hall 34-14 two weeks ago.
PREDICTION: Cascia Hall over Checotah. The Commandos taking back-to-back Gold Balls for the first time in school history isn't a surprising pick, but their opponent is. None of Checotah's players have ever participated in a playoff game, but Cascia's side of the bracket is top heavy, leaving the Wildcats with a possible second round home match-up with Clinton, then a semi-final game with either Sequoyah or Purcell.
2007 State Champ: Cascia Hall
FAVORITES: Millwood, Chandler and Heritage Hall. The Falcons have won four 2A titles this decade and although they're 8-2, both losses came to 4A Douglass and Bishop McGuinness whose combined record is 16-4 this season. Besides winning district 5, its non-league wins included victories over Class A Stroud and 3A Clinton. Heritage Hall last won a Gold Ball in 1998 and put up 40 or more points six times this season.
WILD CARD: Lincoln Christian. It's the Bulldogs first year in the OSSAA and they burst onto the scene by winning the district seven crown. Lincoln Christian scored 40 or more points eight times during the regular season.
PREDICTION: Chandler over Lincoln Christian. The Bulldogs will make it all the way to the big game but will come up short in a high scoring offensive battle.
2007 State Champ: Okeene
FAVORITE: Okeene. The Whippets have won the last two Class A Gold Balls and boast an unbeaten regular season headed into the playoffs.
WILD CARDS: Commerce, Dewar and Morrison. The Tigers are another team that's emerged, finishing the regular season 10-0. Dewar's Ronnell Lewis' playmaking abilities can change the course of any ballgame. Including last season, Morrison has won 13 Class B State Championships and has transitioned well to Class A this season, posting a record of 9-1.
PREDICTION: Okeene over Morrison. They both won state championships last season in its respective classes but the Whippets edge the Wildcats.
2007 State Champ: Morrison
FAVORITE: Garber. They're the only undefeated Class B team heading into the opening round of the playoffs.
WILD CARDS: Davenport. The Bulldogs have a potent offense to go along with a defense that allowed six points or less six times this season.
PREDICTION: Davenport over Garber. It's an upset, albeit mild, but with Morrison out of the picture in Class A, the Bulldogs claim its first championship since its run of three straight titles from 1972-1974.
2007 State Champ: Shattuck
FAVORITE: Shattuck. The Indians have won the last five Class C Gold Balls and was unbeaten during the regular season.
WILD CARD: Thackerville. The Wildcats were also undefeated and beat Class B Fox 52-6 in the season opener.
PREDICTION: Shattuck over Thackerville. The Indians state title win would match 6A Jenks for the longest consecutive Gold Ball streak. The Trojans won six straight championships from 1996-2001.