By: Sandite Pride Editorial Board
The regular season has come to a close with few surprises. All four of Sandite Pride's pre-season top four picks from District Two have made the playoffs. We only picked two of four post-season qualifiers from District One accurately, but with the circular losses in that district, it's not surprising. Here's our season review for those who have finished play for the year, and our picks for the post-season.
No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (Last week No. 5) vs No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites (2)
While the Sandites (6-4, 4-2) gave up a hard loss to the Spartans, the Bombers (7-3, 6-1) gave up a surprisingly close battle with Stillwater to close the regular season with the District Two Championship.
This game will likely be a major defensive battle as Midwest City holds the best defense in the State when it comes to points allowed, by a significant margin. They allow only 3.413 yards per play, 2.165 yards per run, and 5.278 yards per pass. Sand Springs is sixth on yards per carry, and managed a surprising 4.71 yards per carry against Bixby, who normally only allows 3.94. They also ran for 3.914 against Muskogee who normally allows only 3.023. Sand Springs is eighth in passing yards per play, so if they're to overcome the two-pronged Bomber defense, they'll definitely need to get creative.
The Bombers will have an equally difficult time against Sand Springs, as they have relied almost entirely on their defense this season. Midwest City is eleventh in offensive scoring and only eighth in yards-per-play. Sand Springs is tenth in points allowed, but third in defensive points scored and wins the turnover battle more often than not. While they give up more yards-per-play than a lot of teams, they're 71% on third-down stops this season.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Bixby vs Putnam West.
The pick: CPHS 24, MWC 23.
No. 2 Bixby Spartans (3) vs No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (8)
The Spartans (7-3, 5-1) upended the Sandites (6-4, 4-2) Friday night 35-19 at Spartan Stadium to secure a home playoff game and will host the Putnam West Patriots (7-3, 5-2).
The Sandite defense performed well, holding the Spartans to their closest win of the season, giving up only five scores on twelve possessions, forcing two turnovers on downs, and three punts, as well as recovering a fumble and an interception.
Bixby was one step better, however, giving up only three scores on twelve possessions, forcing two turnovers on downs with four punts, a fumble, and an interception. The Spartans split time between land and air as Tanner Griffin passed 24 of 33 for 254 yards and an interception. All four offensive touchdowns came at the hands of Tucker Pawley who carried 36 times for 248 yards and four scores, while Clayton Barbour added a fifth touchdown on a 95-yard kick return.
Putnam City West pulled off an impressive 40-37 double-overtime win against Choctaw Friday, sabotaging the Yellowjackets' last ditch effort for a playoff berth. The Patriots ran 38 times for 204 yards and attempted 20 passes for 202 yards.
The Spartans boast the number-one scoring offense in the division, while the Patriots own the number three defense in points-allowed. Bixby also holds the number-one scoring defense and the number-six defense in points-allowed. Putnam West has relied heavily on its defense this season and is only sixth in offensive scoring.
The pick: Bixby 44, PCW 22.
No. 1 Muskogee Roughers (1) vs No. 8 Stillwater Pioneers (9)
The Roughers (8-1, 5-1) finished the season with the best record in the division and the District Two Championship, thanks to the Spartan's defeat of Sand Springs. They sealed the deal with a powerful 48-0 shutout of Ponca City.
Stillwater (5-5, 3-4) closed out the regular season with a loss and made the playoffs on head-to-head with Choctaw (5-5, 3-4). The Pioneers fell 26-17 to Midwest City in what was actually an impressive battle in spite of the loss. The Pioneers have been hit-or-miss this season majorly due to the health of starting QB Jace Brownlee. Brownlee has been recovering from a pre-season shoulder surgery, and his once stellar arm has seen little use. In spite of that loss, the Pioneers have ran miles on the turf and won games without even attempting a single pass.
Muskogee's number-two scoring offense and number-one offense in yards-per-play will take on Stillwater's number-four defense in points allowed. The Pioneers have made it on their defense this season, holding only the number-nine offense in the State, and will have their work cut out for them against Muskogee. The Roughers are number two in the division in points-allowed as well as defensive scoring.
The winner of this match will face the winner of Lawton vs Booker T.
The pick: Muskogee 45, Stillwater 14.
No. 6 Lawton Wolverines (6) vs No. 5 Booker T. Washington Hornets (4)
Lawton (6-4, 5-2) settled for second in their district this year, but ended the regular season with a powerful 49-0 victory over Deer Creek. The Hornets (6-4, 4-2) barely scraped together a 57-39 win over Bartlesville that wasn't decided till the final few possessions.
Lawton QB Zach Hanna was nearly perfect against Deer Creek, completing 12 of 14 passes for 226 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The run game was also alive and well where the Wolverines rushed 35 times for 201 yards and a pair of scores.
Booker T. has been scrambling to figure out a success formula that doesn't include injured QB Phillip Wheatley. They were flying through their opponents before losing Wheatley and since then have barely gotten by. They should have lost 12-10 to Sand Springs but got a miraculous fumble recovery on a bad-hike at the Sandite two-yard line late in the fourth quarter to avert the loss. They suffered their first shutout in years 28-0 at the hands of Bixby, then closed the season with Bartlesville
Booker T.'s defense is fifth in points allowed, fourth in yards-per-play, and tied for fourth in scoring. Lawton's offense is fourth in points scored, and third in yards-per-play, so if Booker T. wants to find a win, they're going to need to come up with something new on offense. Overall the Hornets are only seventh in offensive scoring and twelfth in yards-per-play, and that's including when they still had Wheatley. Without him, they'll have their work cut out for them against Lawton's defense which is eighth in points allowed and sixth in yards-per-play allowed.
The pick: Lawton 36, BTW 24.
No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (7)
The Yellowjackets finished a hit-or-miss season with a 5-5, 3-4 record and just barely missed the playoffs. High points included a 45-41 upset over Sand Springs, a 14-7 upset over Midwest City, and most impressively, a 52-26 upset over Lawton. Choctaw holds the number three offense in the State in scoring, and is fifth in yards-per-play. They struggled defensively, however, and finished ninth in points-allowed with almost every game being a shootout.
No. 10 Putnam City Pirates (10)
Putnam was just one win short of a winning season, finishing 4-6, 2-5. High points included a 16-7 win over in-town rival Putnam North and a 52-6 blowout of El Reno. They also upset Choctaw 36-32 and finished the season on a strong note with a 42-21 victory over Enid. They finished twelfth in offensive scoring and ninth in total offense and were fifth in the air. Their defense was solid at seventh in points allowed and fifth in yards-per-play.
No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (11)
Enid managed only three wins, but two were quite impressive, upsetting Choctaw 43-39 and dominating Deer Creek 45-17. They finished the season 3-7, 2-5 with a 42-21 loss to Putnam. They finished with the number ten offense and number twelve defense.
No. 12 Bartlesville Bruins (13)
The Bruins struggled off and on throughout the year, but finished strong despite three-straight losses. They gave it their all against Sand Springs and Booker T. and legitimately challenged both. They finished 3-6, 2-4 with wins of 42-20 over Ponca City and 51-28 over Sapulpa. They held the number eight offense in points scored, but were actually fourth in yards-per-play with the number two passing record in the division. Defense was their struggle and they finished fourteenth there.
No. 13 Deer Creek Antlers (12)
The Antlers had a rough start to their 6A debut season, finishing 2-8, 2-5 with wins of 21-14 over Stillwater and 20-14 over Putnam. They were shutout 49-0 in the finale at Lawton and finish with the number fourteen offense and number thirteen defense.
No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains (14)
Sapulpa has been in a rebuilding year under new head coach Robert Borgstadt, but the Chieftains (1-9, 1-5) have shown promise. They only won a single game, 31-27 over Ponca City, but lost close ones of 24-21 to Duncan, and 52-42 to Choctaw. They finished thirteenth in running, scoring, and total offense, and fifteenth on the ground. Defensively they were fifteenth in points allowed, run coverage, and total defense, and thirteenth in pass coverage.
No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (15)
The Wildcats finished 2-8, 0-6, but had several solid performances. They lost 42-31 to Enid, defeated Guthrie 9-0, and posted 35 points against Sand Springs. They barely lost 31-27 to Sapulpa and defeated Norman 10-6. Ponca finished the season fifteenth in total offense and eleventh in points allowed. They were tenth in points allowed, fourteenth in yards per play allowed, fifteenth in pass coverage, and tenth in ground coverage.