By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board
No. 1 Bixby Spartans (Last week No. 1) vs No. 3 Muskogee Roughers (3)
It's the marquee match-up for week six of High School football as two of the top teams in the State ride dominating performances into a district game of playoff-level intensity.
The Spartans (2-2, 0-0) have yet to begin district play and just wrapped up the toughest pre-conference schedule of Class 6A-II. In week two they gave 6A-I No. 1 Jenks (5-0) their closest game of the year, losing 38-34. The next week they lost 44-34 to Arkansas 7A State Runners-Up Bentonville (3-1) and finally got in the win column with a dominating 56-20 performance over Putnam City (3-1, 1-0). This week they really proved just how powerful they are as they steamrolled 6A-I No. 4 Westmoore (3-1) 70-28 in an incredible performance that featured two 90+ yard kickoff returns for touchdown. Tanner Griffin's passing was off for the evening, completing only 9 of 22 for 96 yards and 1 touchdown against 2 interceptions. But the run game was dominant as Tucker Pawley carried 19 times for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. Griffin had two touchdown runs and 46 yards on 5 carries, while Braden Roller added another touchdown and 66 yards on 5 carries.
The Roughers (4-0, 1-0) have had a fairly weak schedule thus far, with the exception of a close 16-12 win over Midwest City (2-2, 1-0), but when they go up against lesser competition, it's a blow-out. They've won their last three games by an average score of 59-11, and they notched their first district win Friday with a 63-6 shutdown of Bartlesville (1-3, 0-1). Running back Molijah Gilbert finished with 16 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns. QB Jacob Medrano completed 11 of 20 passes for 197 yards and no interceptions.
The pick: Bixby 38 Muskogee 28
No. 2 Booker T Washington Hornets (2) vs No. 15 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)
The Hornets (3-2, 1-0) had an easy start to district play with the Ponca City Wildcats (1-3, 0-1) and rolled to a dominating 47-0 shutout victory. In the past two seasons, the Hornet offense regularly routed their opponents by massive margins, but this year it still remains to be seen just how powerful they'll be against quality opponents. They barely got the 21-14 edge on Midwest City (2-2, 1-0) and lost 26-23 to Edmond Santa Fe (4-1, 1-0). After going down 49-7 to the Nationally ranked No. 2 IMG Academy (5-0) they've since been unstoppable with a 43-6 win over Shawnee and the victory against Ponca. They won't get their first real test till they take on Muskogee next week, but first they have to get past Sapulpa. Rylan McQuarters led the run game against Ponca with 8 carries for 82 yards, followed by Tyler Holmes with 15 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. Two other running backs scored touchdowns in the rout, and double-threat QB Phillip Wheatley was 15 of 22 in the air for 214 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.
Sapulpa (0-4, 0-1) still looks to get in the win column this season after dropping their rivalry game to Sand Springs 35-7. The Chieftains failed to make headway through the air as QB Cameron Elder was only 8 of 13 for 53 yards with no touchdowns and an interception, but the ground game was alive and well. Elder carried 12 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Dayton Vann also had 59 yards from 11 carries, and Marcus Henderson carried 8 times for 67 yards.
The pick: Booker T 56 Sapulpa 3
No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (4) vs No. 9 Deer Creek Antlers (12)
The Midwest City Bombers (2-2, 1-0) have won or lost every game this season by a touchdown or less and notched their first district win of the season 20-17 over Lawton (1-3, 0-1) Friday night at home. QB Preston Colbert was 8 of 12 for 139 yards and a touchdown. Astin Anderson was the workhorse for the Bombers and carried 38 times for 133 yards. Earlier this season they fell 16-12 to Muskogee (4-0) and 21-14 to Booker T Washington (3-2), two of the top three teams in the division. They got in the win column two weeks ago with a 28-21 victory over 5A Del City (2-2).
The Antlers (1-3, 1-0) got their first win of the season with a 21-14 upset over Stillwater (2-2, 0-1) Friday night at a game in which they were the 18-point underdogs. QB Hunter Freese passed for 190 yards and the bulk of the Antler offense. The run game only accounted for 87 yards. Deer Creek may only have one win, but their losses were to quality 6A-I programs. 52-13 to Southmoore (3-1), 47-31 to Edmond Santa Fe (4-1), and 48-31 to Edmond Memorial (3-2).
The pick: Midwest City 23 Deer Creek 14
No. 6 Putnam City Pirates (7) vs No. 7 Lawton Wolverines (5)
While Bixby at Muskogee is the biggest game of District 2, Lawton vs. Putnam City is equally huge for District 1. The Wolverines (1-3, 0-1) and Pirates (3-1, 1-0) both have a lot to prove going into week two of districts. While Lawton was edged out 20-17 by Midwest City (2-2, 1-0), the Pirates got the 36-32 edge on Choctaw (2-2, 0-1). Putnam's only loss this season was 56-20 to Bixby (2-2), while Lawton's only win this season was 62-37 over in-town rival Lawton Eisenhower (1-3).
Lawton demonstrated a powerful aerial assault against Midwest City as QB Zach Hannah completed 11 of 18 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The running game was almost nonexistent, however, as Tre Curry carried 19 times for a mere 60 yards and one touchdown. Curry has proven his abilities in the past with a 201 yard performance against Eisenhower and a 311 yard performance in a 56-41 loss to 5A Carl Albert (4-0). The Wolverines are clearly a double threat team, meaning the Putnam defense will need to be sharp on their toes to keep the scoring in check. Lawton's offense averages 415 yards and 5 touchdowns per game this season. Putnam's defense is stout, however, and averages 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 interceptions per game this season.
The Putnam offense has ran up the yards this season, led by QB AJ Newsome in the air and RB Damon Jemison on the ground. Newsome is only 32 of 82 this season with 6 interceptions, exacerbated by a 6 of 24 performance against the killer Bixby defense which picked off four passes. But he holds 871 yards and 9 touchdowns to pad his resume. Jemison has rushed 78 times this year for only 259 yards. The Lawton defense isn't as tight on the run game as Putnam, but if the Pirates rely on the pass as they have for most of the season, they might find trouble in a team that averages 2 interceptions per game.
The pick: Putnam City 28 Lawton 26
No. 5 Sand Springs Sandites (6) vs Yukon Millers
The Sandites (2-2, 1-0) won their first district game with a 35-7 rout of Highway 97 rival Sapulpa (0-4, 0-1), and will play their final non-district game this weekend against 6A-I Yukon (0-4). Sand Springs started off with a big 56-21 loss to Arkansas powerhouse Pulaski Academy (3-1) and were upset in week two 45-41 by Choctaw (2-2, 0-1), but got in the win column with a close 29-24 victory against Putnam West (3-1, 1-0). RB Payton Scott accounts for the majority of the Sandite offense with 183 carries for 687 yards and 7 touchdowns, while QB Hunter Greathouse is 42 of 90 for 601 yards and 4 touchdowns by air and 4 touchdowns on the ground.
Yukon has yet to even come close to a win this season, falling 42-20 to Mustang (3-1), 55-7 to Norman North (4-0), 38-7 to Southmoore (38-7), and 33-9 to Broken Arrow (2-2). The Millers held a tough schedule with nothing but ranked 6A-I powerhouses and that experience could give them an edge on the Sandites who have played only one powerhouse team this year.
The pick: Sand Springs 38 Yukon 13.
No. 8 Putnam City West Patriots (8) vs No. 11 Stillwater Pioneers (10)
The Patriots (3-1, 1-0) haven't had a winning season since 2000 and they're looking to change that in 2016. After beating Duncan (2-2) 43-14 and Putnam North (1-3) 16-5, the Patriots experienced their first loss of the season 29-24 at the Sandites' (2-2) home-opener. They didn't let that hiccup slow them down, and rebounded with a dominating 35-10 district victory over Enid (1-3, 0-1).
Stillwater (2-2, 0-1) started with one seriously tough pre-district schedule and secured a pair of high quality wins against ranked 6A-I opponents, before giving up a big upset this week. They won their season opener against Edmond Memorial (3-2) 24-7, then lost 16-7 to Moore (2-2) before netting another big win over Mustang (3-1) at 36-24. The Pioneers clearly have what it takes to win big games against big opponents, but after falling 21-14 to Deer Creek at home, they're going to need to buckle down and secure some district wins if they want a shot at their first State Championship since 1967. The Pioneers are led on the ground by Josiah Castleberry who has already ran over 600 yards thus far this season.
The pick: Putnam West 33 Stillwater 29
No. 10 Choctaw Yellowjackets (9) vs No. 12 Enid Plainsmen (13)
Choctaw (2-2, 0-1) is still struggling to find its place in the rankings, starting strong with 52-42 and 45-41 wins over Sapulpa (0-4) and Sand Springs (2-2), respectively, but falling 17-14 to Putnam City North (1-3) and 36-32 to Putnam City (3-1, 1-0). The Yellowjackets are true to their name when it comes to offense, hammering their opponents from the air, but just can't seem to get their defense rolling. QB Dylan Weaver is 64 of 107 for 864 yards this season.
Enid (1-3, 0-1) was edged out 22-19 in the season opener by Guthrie (2-2) and got in the win column in week two with a 42-31 victory over Ponca City (1-3, 0-1), but hasn't come close since. They were dominated in week three 44-14 by Bishop McGuinness (3-1) and shut down 25-10 last week by Putnam West (3-1, 1-0).
The pick: Choctaw 40 Enid 10
No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (11) vs No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (15)
Bartlesville (1-3, 0-1) and Ponca (1-3, 0-1) are both in precarious spots this season with a single win apiece and one of the two destined to be 0-2 in district play after this Friday's meet. The Bruins' lone win was a close 27-24 over McAlester (2-2) while Ponca blanked Guthrie (2-2) 9-0.
The Bruins were utterly dominated 63-6 at the hands of Muskogee (4-0) last week, while the Wildcats were shut out 47-0 by Booker T Washington (3-2). Bartlesville has shuffled through three quarterbacks this year after starter Garrett Meidl was out with a knee injury and Will Walton and AJ Archambo both tried out the position. Meidl returned to action against Muskogee but was held to a mere 10 completions on 24 attempts for 59 yards. Ponca QB Brice McDougal has a solid record this season with 58 completions on 104 passes for 729 yards and only 3 interceptions.
The pick: Bartlesville 21 Ponca 14
6A-II District One Standings
Putnam City West (1-0)
Deer Creek (1-0)
Putnam City (1-0)
Midwest City (1-0)
6A-II District Two Standings
Booker T (1-0)
Sand Springs (1-0)
Ponca City (0-1)