By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board
The 2016 season has seen more parity than any year in recent memory. There is no longer a single team in Class 6A-II without a district loss. To make matters more difficult, there are teams with multiple losses to low-ranking teams and multiple wins over high-ranking teams. Looking at you, Choctaw. The number one team has fallen for the second week in a row, and now we'll try to sort out the mess.
No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 2) vs No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (15)
Muskogee (6-1, 3-1) has the worst of their schedule behind them now and, after taking a bye week to recover from their 26-25 loss to Sand Springs, they'll close out the regular season with the bottom two teams.
Sapulpa (1-7, 1-4) picked up their first win of the season with a 31-27 upset over Ponca City (1-7, 0-5). The Chieftains dominated the Wildcats offensively, doubling them on total yardage, but gave up a pick six to keep the score close.
The pick: Muskogee 56, Sapulpa 10.
No. 2 Sand Springs Sandites (1) vs No. 13 Bartlesville Bruins (13)
Charles Page High School (5-3, 3-1) may have lost to Booker T. Washington on the field, but on paper they destroyed the Hornets 267 yards to 124 and 15 first downs to 9, forcing 7 punts. The Hornets got lucky with 9:32 in the fourth quarter when Sandite QB Hunter Greathouse was unable to haul in a bad hike and the Hornets got the recovery at the 3 yard line. From there the Booker T. defense was able to stop three Sandite possessions for the win. Were it not for that one mistake, Sand Springs would still be undefeated in the district.
The Bartlesville Bruins (4-4, 3-2) had a tough road match at Bixby (5-3, 3-1) and were throttled 63-14. They tried to keep up offensively and posted 342 yards on 79 plays, but the Spartans were explosive for 504 yards on 53 plays.
The pick: Sandites 43, Bartlesville 32.
No. 3 Booker T. Washington Hornets (4) vs No. 4 Bixby Spartans (3)
The Hornets won their battle with Sand Springs on a fumble, and lost their game with Muskogee on turnovers after matching them offensively. The Spartans actually outperformed Muskogee offensively, but gave up two interceptions and a fumble. Against mutual opponents, the Hornets have the better defense and the Spartans have the better offense. Theoretically, this game should be fairly equally matched with the winner being decided on turnovers.
The pick: Bixby 37, BTW 35.
No. 5 Midwest City Bombers (5) vs No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (8)
The Bombers (5-3, 4-1) won an important district game Friday against Putnam City (3-5, 1-4) to continue to their quest for the district title in the district with the most parity. It was a low-scoring 7-0 affair made possible by the incredible Bomber defense.
The Plainsmen (3-5, 2-3) are coming off a 35-10 loss to Stillwater (4-4, 2-3). They gave up five turnovers, but forced three of their own.
The pick: MWC 28, Enid 7.
No. 6 Putnam City West Patriots (7) vs No. 7 Lawton Wolverines (6)
The Patriots (6-2, 4-1) may not be the indisputable head of the district any more, but they're still in contention for the Title after a 27-17 win over Edmond Deer Creek (2-6, 2-3). The Pats have given up only two losses this season, 29-24 to the Sandites, and 21-16 to Midwest City. They have another big test at Lawton.
The Wolverines (4-4, 3-2) rode three straight wins with three close losses to quality teams. That changed Thursday with a 52-26 beat down from Choctaw (4-4, 2-3) to seriously damage their shot at a district title. With the incredible amount of upsets in the district, they're not out of contention yet, but they can't afford a loss. A win over Putnam will put them second only to Midwest City.
The pick: PCW 26, Lawton 24.
No. 8 Choctaw Yellowjackets (12) vs No. 12 Deer Creek Antlers (10)
It's beginning to look like Choctaw (4-4, 2-3) can only win games they're picked to lose. The Yellowjackets have three wins against top-tier teams in Sand Springs, Midwest City, and Lawton, and upset losses to Enid, Putnam, and Stillwater.
After their most recent 52-26 stunner over Lawton, they'll be looking to bring down Deer Creek and Putnam West to clinch a playoff berth. The Yellowjacket's high-powered offense averages 34 points per game while Deer Creek averages only 19 and gives up 35. The Antlers (2-6, 2-3) most recently went down 27-17 to Putnam City West.
The pick: Choctaw 42, Deer Creek 20.
No. 9 Putnam City Pirates (9) vs No. 10 Stillwater Pioneers (11)
The Putnam City Pirates (3-5, 1-4) put up a valiant effort against Midwest City before falling 7-0 while the Pioneers (4-4, 2-3) picked up a 35-10 win over Enid. Stillwater holds two-straight wins and all four of their losses were by a touchdown or less. A potential playoff berth is on the line and they're unlikely to leave their A game at home.
The pick: Stillwater 33, Putnam 23.
No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (14) vs 6A-I Norman Tigers
Barring a miracle, the Ponca City Wildcats (1-7, 0-5) are unlikely to get a win against Muskogee (6-1, 3-1) in week ten, so their last real shot at padding their record comes in their home-finale against 6A-I Norman (1-7, 1-4). The same can be said for the Tigers.
Ponca gave up a 31-27 upset to Sapulpa (1-7, 1-4) last week, while Norman went down 35-7 to Broken Arrow (4-4, 3-2). The Wildcats have been competitive all season, averaging 17 points per game, while the Tigers have scored 15. Norman gives up an average of 44 points and Ponca gives up 40, but Norman plays in a far tougher division and district.
The pick: Norman 28, Ponca 26.