By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board
The 6A-II rankings just got a whole lot weirder as District One continues to duke it out with no clear top-dog, save for Putnam City West. With the exception of the Patriots, every team in District One has a loss to someone they shouldn't have, causing a big confusing circle. Even District Two isn't immune to the mess.
In week two, the Sand Springs Sandites were defeated by Choctaw, and that's their only in-state loss to date. In week three, the Sandites defeated Putnam City West, and that's the Patriots' only loss to date. While the Patriots are the only team out West without a district loss, Choctaw has sustained a pair of district losses to Putnam City and Enid. This Friday Choctaw upset Midwest City, who was previously undefeated in the district with wins over Lawton and Deer Creek. Lawton has wins over both Putnam City and Stillwater. Oh, what a tangled web they weave.
With every team out there having some claim over each other, there's bound to be some disagreement with the rankings, but nevertheless we shall try to make some sense out of it all.
No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 1) vs No. 4 Sand Springs Sandites (5)
It's the marquee matchup for the whole division as the only two undefeated teams in District Two go head-to-head. The Muskogee Roughers (6-0, 3-0) are a powerhouse team once again behind four-time State Championship winning coach Rafe Watkins, formerly of Guthrie.
Muskogee and Sand Springs (3-2, 2-0) are fairly matched in the air, with both Hunter Greathouse and Jacob Medrano completing just over 50% of passes for right at 1,000 yards this season. Both teams employ a mess of solid multi-purpose players who can easily adapt to either the run or pass game as needed. Muskogee's stars include University of Tennessee commit Kamren Curl.
Sand Springs will need to rely heavily on their defense, who scored two touchdowns in their 56-35 win over Ponca City, to put up stops and force turnovers against the explosive Rougher offense. Muskogee has their own powerful defense though, with nine interceptions this season. They forced five turnovers against Booker T Washington Friday night. The two teams were perfectly matched on offense, but four fumbles and an interception paved the way for a 23-7 victory for Muskogee.
The pick: Muskogee 45, Sand Springs 31.
No. 2 Bixby Spartans (3) vs No. 14 Ponca City Wildcats (14)
The two-time defending State Champions (3-3, 1-1) had a rough start to district play, falling 45-42 to Muskogee, but got in the win column Friday in a 62-17 beat down against Sapulpa. The Spartans ran up 646 yards while holding the Chieftains to just over 200, and never once punted. QB Tanner Griffin is sitting around 1500 yards passing this season with 20 touchdowns by air. The Spartans also have a talented running back in Tucker Pawley who is just under 1000 yards this season. They also have a talented defense highlighted by Oklahoma State commit Brendon Evers.
The Ponca City Wildcats (1-5, 0-3) proved Friday that they can hang with some of the best defenses in the State, passing for over 300 yards against the Sandites. They also struggled with turnovers, however, giving up two fumble returns for touchdowns and threw two interceptions.
The pick: Bixby 66, Ponca 12.
No. 3 Booker T Washington Hornets (2)
The powerful Booker T (4-3, 2-1) offense was stymied by Muskogee Friday night, and scored only once despite racking up nearly 300 yards of offense. They were plagued by penalties amounting to more than 100 yards. That, coupled with four fumbles and an interception were insurmountable. The Hornets will have a bye week before returning to action against Sand Springs.
No. 5 Putnam City West Patriots (7) vs No. 6 Midwest City Bombers (4)
This matchup would have been a lot bigger if the Bombers (3-3, 2-1) hadn't given up an upset to Choctaw last Friday, but regardless of district standings the two teams should still put on a quality show. The two teams boast the top two defensive squads in the district with each allowing less than 15 points per game.
The Patriots (5-1, 3-0) are coming off a huge 42-10 rivalry win over Putnam City while Midwest City just dropped their first district game of the season to Choctaw. Putnam West has suffered only one loss this season, 29-24 to Sand Springs, and splits their offense pretty evenly between air and land. They hold one division one commit in Memphis-bound WR Nick Robinson. Midwest City has some impressive talent of their own in 6'2" safety Evan Fields, who's fielding offers from numerous Division One programs including several Big 12 schools.
Midwest City's defense held tight against Choctaw, giving up only 14 points to a team that averaged 36 points per game going into the match. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they were plagued by penalties, miscues, and offensive inconsistency. They made three trips into the red zone and racked up 272 yards of offense while holding Choctaw to only 141, despite the loss.
The pick: No consensus. Scott picks Midwest City 24-21, Virgil picks Putnam West 24-21.
No. 7 Lawton Wolverines (6) vs No. 8 Enid Plainsmen (10)
These two teams hold the same record both in and out of district, and their strength of schedule is still hard to determine. Enid's offense is coming in a lot hotter than in recent years, averaging 28 points per game.
Lawton (3-3, 2-1) isn't executing as well as they have in recent years, but they still boast some high powered athletes in QB Zach Hanna and RB Tre Curry. Friday saw the Wolverines gain the upper hand on Stillwater 21-14 in a low performance game that saw only 95 yards by air. The ground game was dominant for both teams and Curry racked up 121 yards on 13 carries.
Enid (3-3, 2-1) started off the season with a 22-19 loss to a Guthrie team that has long since ceased to be ranked. A 42-31 victory over Ponca City and a pair of losses after that pushed Enid towards the bottom of the rankings, but the Plainsmen have found their mojo for two straight district wins to prove they're not out playoff contention yet. After going down 35-10 to Putnam West, Enid got the edge on Choctaw in a 43-39 shootout and scored a major victory this week in a dominating 45-17 beat down of Deer Creek. The Plainmen picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown, presenting just the kind of defense that could give Lawton fits.
The pick: Lawton 27, Enid 21.
No. 9 Putnam City Pirates (8) vs No. 11 Deer Creek Antlers (9)
A crucial match for both teams, Putnam (3-3, 1-2) started off the season with a series of big wins before giving up two straight to Lawton and Putnam West. Deer Creek (1-5, 1-2) started the season with a tough pre-conference schedule including three-straight losses to high-ranked 6A-I teams. They were expected to be a big contender for the district, but after a close 21-14 win over Stillwater they were blown out 35-0 by Midwest City and 45-17 by Enid. Both teams need a win this week to stay alive in playoff contention.
Putnam has struggled through the air this season, racking up over 1,000 yards but at a 38% completion rate. The defense has been effective, however, averaging 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery per game.
The Antlers employ a solid QB in Hunter Freese, who sits at 51% passing for over 1,200 yards. The run game is nearly nonexistent with the whole team accounting for less than 500 yards.
The pick: Putnam West 23, Deer Creek 17.
No. 10 Choctaw Yellowjackets (11) vs No. 12 Stillwater Pioneers (12)
Stillwater (2-4, 0-3) has lost four games this season, all by a touchdown or less, and they have two quality wins over 6A-I talent. While the playoffs are looking more and more unlikely for the team, they're not out of reach yet. Clearly the Pioneers have talent, especially in RB Josiah Castleberry who holds over 700 yards this season on 7 yards per carry. But they have struggled in the air, doing the quarterback shuffle after their starting senior missed the first half of the season.
Choctaw (3-3, 1-2) has been hit or miss all season, relying on a powerful air raid offense that has rarely been stymied. After netting a pair of close shootout wins over Sapulpa and Sand Springs to start the season, they lost three-straight, all by a touchdown or less, to Putnam City, Putnam North, and Enid, before getting in the win column with a 14-7 upset of Midwest City. QB Dylan Weaver is right at 50% for nearly 1400 yards this season, but was held to under 100 for the first time against Midwest City. The run game has always been a factor with Choctaw, but they really proved how good it could be when they took on Enid and ran up 321 yards on 38 carries.
The pick: Choctaw 42, Stillwater 21.
No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13) vs No. 15 Sapulpa (15)
This is a bigger game for Bartlesville (2-3, 1-1) than it is for Sapulpa (0-6, 0-3). While the Chieftains are technically still in playoff contention, they only have three district games left and don't stand much chance against undefeated Muskogee. Bartlesville, on the other hand, has the kind of aerial offense that could present an upset over Sand Springs. But first they need to get past Sapulpa.
The Chieftains have a double-threat quarterback in Cameron Elder who is throwing 63% this season for right at 1,000 yards and also leads his team on the ground. They have six losses this season and only two could be described as close.
Bartlesville won a close one in their season opener then dropped three straight before getting back in the win column with a powerful 42-20 win over Ponca City two weeks ago. The Bruins are coming off a bye week and look to AJ Archambo, Garrett Meidl, and Deandre Young to lead them to victory.
The pick: Bartlesville 38, Sapulpa 17.