By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board
No. 1 Bixby Spartans (Last week No. 1) vs. 6A No. 4 Westmoore Jaguars
The 6A-II back-to-back defending State Champions (1-2) bit off the second-toughest pre-conference schedule in the division and paid the price, starting with an 0-2 record. They also reaped the reward of experience and dolled out that experience on the Putnam City Pirates (2-1) Friday night. The Pirates stood little chance and what few scores they managed were the result of opportunistic slips in the Spartan defense. The whole of their offense was ineffective against the Spartans and the Bixby tide rolled to a 56-20 victory. Bixby held Putnam to a mere six first-downs and 187 yards against twenty-nine first downs and 473 yards of total offense. QB Tanner Griffin connected on 31 of 44 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns and the run game was alive and well with Tucker Pawley who needed only two quarters to run 28 times for 167 yards and four touchdowns.
Westmoore (3-0) received a nice bump in the 6A-I rankings after upsetting in-town rival No. 3 Southmoore 34-28 in overtime in week two for their second ranked win after beating rival No. 10 Moore (2-1) 51-41 in week one. This past Friday they handled unranked Edmond North (0-3) 21-7. Their offense was slow and only scored one touchdown with five drives ending on downs. The defense saved the game with a pick six and a forced fumble, and the third touchdown came on a punt return.
The Pick: Bixby 38, Westmoore 34
No. 2 Booker T. Washington Hornets (2) vs No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (15)
Booker T Washington (2-2) has had two close ones and two blow outs this season. They lost a close one to 6A-I No. 8 Edmond Santa Fe (2-1) when the Wolves were still ranked No. 3, and followed it up with a close 21-14 win over Midwest City (1-2) in week two. The next week they played the number two team in the country and it might as well have been a college team. IMG Academy (4-0) features 29 NCAA Division One-commits and the Ascenders topped the Hornets 49-7. This past weekend it was time for the Hornets to bring the rain, powering through 5A Shawnee (1-2) 43-6.
Ponca City (1-2) took a bye week after netting their first win 9-0 over 5A Guthrie. The first two weeks weren't nearly as pretty as Edmond Memorial and Enid both hung 42 points on the Wildcats. Enid was somewhat close at 42-31, but Edmond was a 42-6 blowout.
The pick: BTW 54, Ponca 9
No. 3 Muskogee Roughers (3) vs No. 11 Bartlesville Bruins (9)
The Muskogee Roughers (3-0) are the only undefeated team remaining in the division and look to continue that streak into district play. They've only notched one win against a ranked opponent, 16-12 over Midwest City, but scored blowouts in the following games. After topping McAlester (1-2) 51-13, they did even worse to Bentonville West (0-3). The Wolverines are the bottom-ranked team in Arkansas Class 7A, and the Roughers had little difficulty in a 62-13 victory.
The Bruins (1-2) are in a rebuilding year after graduating most of their top performers in last year's powerful season. They won a close one 27-24 over McAlester in week one and were blown out 59-14 and 27-7 by 6A-I No. 7 Owasso (1-2) and 4A No. 4 Cascia Hall (2-1), respectively.
The Pick: Muskogee 43, Bartlesville 18
No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (4) vs No. 5 Lawton Wolverines (7)
The marquee matchup of the week in 6A-II, the Bombers (1-2) and Wolverines (1-2) will kick off district play with much to prove. The Bombers have held their top-five ranking thanks to strength of schedule after falling 16-12 to Muskogee and 21-14 to Booker T. Last week they notched their first win 28-21 over 5A No. 6 Del City (2-1) while the Wolverines got in the win column with a 1000+ yard total offensive beat down on 5A Eisenhower (0-3). Lawton has also had a tough season thus far with some of the top dogs in 5A. They dropped a 56-41 shootout with 5A No. 3 Carl Albert (3-0) and 5A No. 1 Lawton MacArthur (3-0).
Lawton's pass game has been average at best, but Tre Curry is already at 589 yards rushing with only 79 carries for 6 touchdowns. The Bombers, however, are well prepared for the run game after holding Booker T to under 100 yards on the ground.
The Pick: No consensus. Scott Emigh calls it 24-21 to MWC, Virgil Noah calls it 27-21 to Lawton.
No. 6 Sand Springs Sandites (6) vs No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)
One of the greatest rivalries in Oklahoma football is renewed this Friday in Sand Springs. The Chieftains (0-3) lead the Highway 97 Rivalry 44-42-3, but the Sandites have won the past two years by substantial margins, including a brutal 44-10 beat-down last season. The series is tied at 8-8 since 2000.
The Sandites are coming into the game with a lot to prove after dropping their first two games and barely winning the third. Last years' State Runners-Up scheduled a big dog in 5A Arkansas State Champions Pulaski Academy and were handily defeated 56-21. In week two they were unable to shut down the Choctaw air raid and gave up a 45-41 come-from-behind upset. They struggled offensively against Putnam West, but key defensive and special teams plays gave them the close 29-24 win.
The Pick: Sand Springs 46, Sapulpa 22
No. 7 Putnam City Pirates (8) vs No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (5)
After scoring a surprising upset over the Sandites (1-2) in week two, the Yellowjackets were in-turn upset in week three. 6A-I Putnam City North (1-2) lost both in-town rivalry games 16-7 to Putnam City and 16-5 to Putnam City West, but got in the win column with a huge upset 17-14 over Choctaw.
Choctaw relied on its powerful air-raid offense to win close 90+ point shootouts with Sapulpa and Sand Springs, but when it met Ryan Laverty's newly established Panther defense, they were useless without a substantial ground game. The Panthers forced seven turnovers, including six interceptions for the win.
Putnam City (2-1) already proved themselves against the Putnam North defense, then steamrolled El Reno 52-6 in week two. They suffered their first loss last week to the top-ranked Spartans, but still managed to score 20 points on big home-run plays. The Pirates have a versatile offense, transitioning smoothly to the ground after the Putnam North pass-defense held them to 90 yards, but managed to throw well against both El Reno and Bixby.
The Pick: Choctaw 33, Putnam 32.
No. 8 Putnam City West Patriots (11) vs No. 13 Enid Plainsmen (10)
The Patriots (2-1) gave the Sandites a run for their money last weekend, falling 29-24, but still hold solid wins over 5A Duncan 43-14 and 16-5 over in-town rival Putnam North (1-2). QB Trey Gooch was 16-25-1-172 passing against the Sandites and also carried 14 times for 72 yards and was in on every touchdown.
The Plainsmen (1-2) won a 42-31 shootout with Ponca City in week two, but were edged out by Guthrie 22-19 in week one and were utterly floored 44-14 by 5A No. 7 Bishop McGuinness (2-1) last week.
The Pick: PCW 26, Enid 17.
No. 10 Stillwater Pioneers (13) vs No. 12 Deer Creek Antlers (12)
The Pioneers (2-1) made a big statement last week with a 34-26 upset of 6A-I No. 9 Mustang (2-1). The Broncos had previously won 42-20 over Yukon and 44-3 over Norman, so if Stillwater's victory is any indicator of their season to come, they could be a serious contender for at least the district title, if not the State Championship.
The Antlers (0-3) had strength of schedule boosting their ranking the first two weeks, but after losing 48-31 to unranked Edmond Memorial, they're going to have to put in work against Stillwater to prove themselves at the 6A level. That Memorial is a rival and rivalry games are often unpredictable lends the Antlers some credibility still, but going into districts 0-3 doesn't look good for the team's first year out of 5A.
The Pick: Stillwater 37, Deer Creek 19