The Buzz: What it takes to contend in small classes

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By Sean Mossman

There are definite differences between the way a team wins in the state’s larger classes, 6A-4A, and smaller classes, 3A-down. Schools in the large classes need to be a little more balanced throughout the team than those in small classes. What I mean is that smaller schools can make a real run at a state title with a team full of role players and a handful of good athletes.

That’s not always the case, but it is more of a possibility in the smaller classes than it is in 6A. 6A teams can not get by with just one or two star players leading the way. Look at last year’s state champions. Jenks, Carl Albert and Weatherford were strong teams up and down the roster. Cascia Hall and Pioneer were two smaller school who won titles with balanced rosters. Tonkawa, Fairview and Medford rode the backs of a few great players to titles. Previous years seem to support the theory.

The point I’m finally getting to is that there are a few teams that seem to be distinguishing themselves as this year’s Fairview. I’ve come up with eight different small class schools that have 2-4 players posting big offensive numbers in the first two weeks of the season. By compiling this list I’m not trying to disparage other players on these teams, just recognize the guys playing well. Yes, it is early but these are the teams that are getting super performances from more than one individual in their first two games…

Two Big Players

2A- Eufaula- RB Avery Shine and QB Dustin Gilley have combined for a devilish 666 yards of total offense in the Ironheads first two wins…

A- Liberty- QB Jason Jackson and WR David Spring have 469 yards of combined offense, but are 0-2…

Three Big Players

2A- Colcord- RB Mark Bullard is the states leading rusher. He teams with QB Terrill Denny and RB Rob Roland for an amazing 952 yards of offense in their first two wins…

3A- Sequoyah Claremore- QB Dustin Bailey, WR Shon Farris and RB David Gregory have a total of 656 yards in two wins.

2A- Salina- QB Jeff Fielder and RB’s Sean Gooding and Matt Simmons have a combined 592 yards in two wins…

Four Big Players

2A- Chouteau- QB Timmy Moore teams with RB’s Justin Sparks, Roger Grossman and Matt Dooley to post 922 yards in a flex-bone offense…

A- Porter- QB Chris Kelley has 317 passing yards. WR’s Doug Bennett and Luke Lapham have 238 total receiving yards. RB Jason Branham has 246 yards rushing. That’s a total of 801 yards for 1-1 Porter…

2A- Victory Christian- Brandon Johnson, Wes Johnson, Mark Porter and Jeremiah Richardson have combined for 793 yards. Add to that the fact that the Conquerors have yet to be scored upon and it equals a 2-0 record.

What’s all of this mean? Probably nothing, other than the fact that I have too much free time, but ask any of those teams coaches if they’re happy with the output of their best players and they’d probably say yes. Colcord, Salina and Chouteau are all in the same district. Victory Christian and Eufaula share a district with Cascia Hall. I suppose the bottom line is that there is some exciting football on the horizon in the smaller classes.

Games of the Week

1. Jenks (2-0) at Union (2-0)- There’s not much I can add that hasn’t already been said. Yes this game does count for something. It’s not just the team that wins state that can lay claim to a successful year. This “winning is the only thing” attitude is extremely harmful to prep sports. As for the series, the teams have split the last four games and the point differential is only seven. Go to the game. Watch the game at home. Most of all, enjoy the GAME.

2. Fort Smith Southside (2-0) at Broken Arrow (1-1)- Southside beat Owasso last week and now goes on the road to face a Tiger team that’s more than a little fired up after last weeks loss to Union.

3. OC Douglass (1-1) at Booker T. Washington (1-1)- Douglass has won the last three of these meetings, but this is a much different Hornet team. They showed a ground game to match that explosive passing attack in last weeks 41-3 win over Edison.

4. Tahlequah (2-0) at Stillwater (2-0)- This game may not end until the wee hours of Friday morning, it's a Thursday game. Stillwater’s Josh Fields and Tahlequah’s Brett Bynum are the two leading passers in the state. There are at least a dozen future college players slated to start in this game.

5. Fort Smith Northside (1-1) at Sallisaw (2-0)- Northside was pasted by Jenks last week, 42-7. Sallisaw is considered one of the best in 3A. This is another matchup of terrific QB’s. Sallisaw’s Chris Sharp vs. Northside’s Matt Jones.

6. Bentonville, AR (2-0) at Bishop Kelley (1-1)- Bentonville runs an offense similar to Springdale, AR. That’s the team that beat Kelley in week one. Now the Comets have a fairly healthy RB Jake Murrell back.

7. Hominy (1-1) at Pawhuska (2-0)- This rivalry has gone the way of Pawhuska lately. The Huskies have won each of the last four.

8. Jay (2-0) at Nowata (1-1)- Nowata was beaten soundly in week two by Vinita. Jay beat Mannford in the final quarter. The Ironmen have shown the ability to play with bigger schools in the past.

9. Ada (1-1) at Seminole (1-1)- Ada bounced back from a tough loss in week one by beating defending champions Carl Albert in week two. Seminole ran into a buzz saw in Tecumseh last week and were beaten 40-12. None of that means anything when these two meet.

10. Skiatook (1-1) at Glenpool (1-1)- Both teams won close games to get their first wins last week. Now they will try to establish themselves as true contenders at each others expenses.

Check out previous editions of "The Buzz"
September 14, 2000
September 7, 2000
September 5, 2000
August 31st, 2000
August 29, 2000