Delvin Jordan signs LOI to play college football at Pittsburg State University

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Seven Sand Springs High School students signed letters-of-intent Wednesday morning in the Ed Dubie Field House, bringing the grand total of college-bound athletes from the Class of 2017 to fourteen.

Sand Springs has two softball players, two cross-country runners, two baseball players, one basketball player, three football players, one volleyball player, and two soccer players all headed to the next level.

Delvin Jordan signed on a football scholarship to Pittsburg State University. The linebacker had one of the most prolific careers in Sandite history, racking up 310 tackles as a four-year starter. He holds 45 tackles-for-loss and 31 sacks with three interception for two touchdowns, seven fumble recoveries for three touchdowns, and two blocked kicks for one safety. He was a four-year starter in the first-ever class of Sandites to make the playoffs four-straight years. The Sandites went 28-19 during his career and were the 2015 6A-II State Runner-Up.

He made the All-State, All-Tulsa World, and VYPE Top-100 teams. He was also selected as the 2015 Sandite Pride Defensive Player of the Year and is currently a nominee for the 2016 Sandite Pride recognition. He is currently ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in 6A at 220 pounds and has a 35-2 season record and 66-14 career record. He was the 2016 6A-East Regional Champion and State Qualifier. He has been named the Sandite of the Week twice, once for football and once for wrestling.

PSU is an NCAA-Division II and MIAA program coached by Tim Beck. The Gorillas went 7-4 this past season. 

Final Season rankings and State Championship analysis/prediction

Bixby's Tucker Pawley ran for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Semi-Finals. Photo: Morgan Miller

Bixby's Tucker Pawley ran for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Semi-Finals. Photo: Morgan Miller

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

No. 1 Bixby Spartans (Last week No. 2, preseason No. 1) vs No. 2 Lawton Wolverines (Last week No. 5, preseason No. 8)

The State Championship Semi-final games came to a close Friday with a big upset for Lawton, setting the Wolverines up for a rematch of their 2014 State Finals game. The two-time defending State Champions from Bixby defeated the Sandites for the third-straight year in a nail-bitter and will now take on their toughest offensive opponent since losing to Muskogee in week five. 

Bixby has the more explosive record against mutual opponents, winning by an average score of 44-18, compared to Lawton's 29-22, however, Lawton is 4-0 against mutual opponents while the Spartans are 3-1. Muskogee topped Bixby 45-42 in a week-five shootout after winning the turnover battle, while the Wolverines topped the Roughers 35-28 by winning the turnover battle. 

This season has seen an unprecedented amount of parity and circular losses as the Division-II teams that never had a shot in 6A-I are revitalizing their programs in a highly competitive year with numerous newcomers to contention. Choctaw upset Midwest City and Lawton; Lawton upset Muskogee; Putnam West upset Sand Springs; Stillwater upset Edmond Memorial and Mustang; Deer Creek upset Stillwater; Muskogee upset Bixby; Sand Springs upset Muskogee; Booker T. upset Sand Springs. In a season this wild, anything could happen.

That being said, Bixby is still the clear favorite to win--for many reasons. Bixby doesn't lose without major mistakes and miracle plays. They have three losses this season, and two were to annual powerhouse teams. 6A-I No. 1 Jenks was ranked as high as 23rd in the nation by MaxPreps before they lost in a 45-21 upset to No. 3 Union. The Trojans topped the Spartans in a close 38-34 come-from-behind battle in week two in their closest match of the season. The next Spartan loss was 44-34 to Arkansas 7A No. 4 Bentonville (10-2). Bixby's loss to Muskogee came on the heels of three turnovers in a game that the Spartans dominated offensively. 

Lawton has battled through a slightly weaker schedule with bigger losses and closer wins. They lost 56-41 to 5A No. 3 Carl Albert (11-1), 35-28 to 5A No. 1 MacArthur (12-0), and 20-17 to Midwest City (7-4). Though those were all respectable losses to quality teams, they have several other blights on their schedule. They gave up 37 points to Eisenhower (2-8), only beat Putnam City (4-6) by a close 26-14, and Stillwater (5-6) 21-14. They then gave up a massive 52-26 loss to Choctaw (5-5). Though their four-straight wins since then have been of solid quality, they simply don't match up to Bixby.

Bixby owns the number-two scoring defense, while Lawton comes in at fifth. Bixby is sixth in offensive points allowed, Lawton is seventh. Lawton has a slight edge on Bixby defensively when it comes to yards per play, both rushing and passing, but the Spartans have the most dominant scoring offense in the State, by a significant margin. While the Wolverines are fourth in scoring, the Spartans are first with 41.5 points per game. Lawton has the edge in the air, but Bixby has the top run game in the State.

Their overall records indicate a close game, but when you limit it to their four mutual opponents, Bixby emerges as the clear favorite. Lawton has actually under-performed their foes offensively, while winning on turnovers. Bixby out performs their opponents by nearly 200 yards, while also winning the turnover battle every time.

The Spartans are back-to-back defending State Champions with an 8-0 post-season record over the last three years. Lawton is 0-2 against the Spartans over the last two seasons, falling 35-21 in the 2014 State Title game to end the season 11-2. Last year the Wolverines lost to Bixby in the quarterfinals 36-6 to finish the year 8-2.

Wolverines (8-4, 5-2)

defeated Putnam City 26-14
defeated Booker T. 21-20
defeated Putnam West 35-28
defeated Muskogee 35-28

Average score: 29-23
First downs: 15
Allowed: 17
Fumbles-lost: 7-2 (total)
Recoveries: 3 (total)
Interceptions thrown: 3 (total)
Interceptions caught: 8 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 7-62

C-A-Y: 9-17-146
Average: 8.58
Allowed: 16-28-200
Average: 7.14

Rushes-Yards: 37-166
Average: 4.48
Allowed: 37-115
Average: 3.1

Plays-Yards: 54-312
Average: 5.77
Allowed: 65-315
Average: 4.84

Spartans (9-3, 5-1)

defeated Putnam City 56-20
defeated Booker T. 28-0
defeated Putnam West 49-7
lost 45-42 to Muskogee

Average score: 44-18
First downs: 23
Allowed: 10
Fumbles-lost: 6-3 (total)
Recoveries: 4 (total)
Interceptions thrown: 2 (total)
Interceptions caught: 9 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 10-92

C-A-Y: 24-38-256
Average: 6.73
Allowed: 14-30-220-2
Average: 7.33

Rushes-Yards: 44-196
Average: 4.45
Allowed: 21-40
Average: 1.9

Plays-Yards: 82-452
Average: 5.51
Allowed: 51-260
Average: 5.09

The Pick: Bixby 30, Lawton 24.

No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites (Last week No. 3, preseason No. 2)

The Charles Page High School Sandites (7-5, 4-2) don't have the record or the stats to indicate a top-four team, but they have the kind of Sandite magic that ends up on ESPN Sportscenter and upsets number-one ranked teams. The Sandite Defense is tenth in points allowed and ninth in yards per play allowed, but second in scoring. Offensively they were only eighth in yards per play, but fifth in scoring. The Sandites had several big wins, including a 35-7 rout of Highway 97 rival Sapulpa, a 56-35 shootout with Ponca City, a 26-25 upset of top-ranked Muskogee, and a 23-14 win at Midwest City.

No. 4 Muskogee Roughers (Last week No. 1, preseason No. 4)

Muskogee may not have won their first State Championship in thirty years, but they did finish with a District Title and their first winning record since 2008 at 9-2, 5-1. The Roughers boast the number one yards-per-play offense in the state and won several notable games. They bested District One Champion Midwest City 16-12, upset Bixby 45-42, dominated Booker T. Washington 23-7, and shut out Ponca City 48-0. Their offense was second in scoring, fifth rushing, and first passing. Their defense also played lights-out all season and are first in scoring and second in offensive points allowed with the second-best pass coverage. 

No. 5 Midwest City Bombers (Last week No. 4, preseason No. 5)

Midwest City finished an impressive season with a 7-4, 6-1 record and the District One Title, after being knocked out of playoff contention by the Sandites. High points included a 20-17 win over Lawton, and a 35-0 shutout of Deer Creek. The Bombers can boast one of the most talented defenses in the state with first place in points allowed and yards per play allowed against both passing and running offenses. They also hold the fifth-best passing offense in the division.

No. 6 Booker T. Washington Hornets (Last week No. 6, preseason No. 3)

The Hornets finished the season with a 6-5, 4-2 record that could likely have been much better with a healthy quarterback in the end of the season. High points included a 21-14 win over District One Champion Midwest City, a 47-0 shutout of Ponca City, a 45-0 shutout of Sapulpa, and a 17-12 upset over then-No.1 Sand Springs. Their season came to a close with a close 21-20 loss at Lawton. The Hornets hold the number four scoring defense and were fourth in points allowed. Their run-coverage was second only to Midwest City.

No. 7 Putnam City West Patriots (Last week No. 7, preseason No. 14)

The Patriots may not have made it past the first round of the playoffs, but they had their best season in decades and were unfortunately paired with the top-scoring team in the State. The Pats finished 7-4, 5-2, with the number five defense in the state in points allowed, and second in yards-per-play allowed. Offensively they were seventh in scoring, and sixth in yards-per-play. High points included winning the Putnam rivalry with a 16-5 win over North and a 42-10 win over Putnam City. 

No. 8 Stillwater Pioneers (Last week No. 8, preseason No. 10)

Stillwater finished the season 5-6, 3-4, but were a much better team than their record indicates. Starting QB Jace Brownlee has struggled all season with a shoulder injury and has missed several games. Even when he could play, the team was rarely able to pass. High points included a 24-7 upset of Edmond Memorial and 34-26 upset of Mustang. The defense was third in the division in offensive points allowed, and their offense was second in rushing.

No. 9 Choctaw Yellowjackets (Last week No. 9, preseason No. 9)

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 (Last week No. 10, preseason No. 7)

Putnam finished 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 eleventh in offensive scoring and ninth in total offense and were sixth in the air. Their defense was solid at eighth in points allowed and fifth in yards-per-play allowed.

No. 11 Enid Plainsmen (Last week No. 11, preseason No. 12)

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 and were sixth in yards per rush.

No. 12 Bartlesville Bruins (Last week No. 12, preseason No. 6)

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 six offense in points scored, but were actually fourth in yards-per-play with the number three passing record in the division. Defense was their struggle and they finished fourteenth in points allowed, eleventh in yards per play, but an impressive fifth in yards per pass.

No. 13 Deer Creek Antlers (Last week No. 13, preseason No. 11)

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 (Last week No. 14, preseason No. 13)

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 tenth in the air. Defensively they were fifteenth in points allowed, run coverage, and total defense, and thirteenth in pass coverage.

No. 15 Ponca City Wildcats (Last week No. 15, preseason No. 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 tenth in offensive scoring. They were eleventh in points allowed, fourteenth in yards per play allowed, fifteenth in pass coverage, and eleventh in ground coverage.

No. 3 Sand Springs Sandites challenge No. 4 Midwest City tonight at 7:00

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The third ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (6-4, 4-2) will travel to Midwest City High School Friday evening for the first round of the Class 6A-II playoffs and aim to keep their season alive against the District One Champions.

While the Sandites gave up a hard loss to the No. 2 Bixby Spartans (7-3, 5-1) last week, the No. 4 Midwest City Bombers (7-3, 6-1) won a surprisingly close battle with No. 8 Stillwater (5-5, 3-4) to close the regular season with the District Once 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's offense is sixth on yards per carry, and managed an impressive 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. Veterans will get free entry into tonight's game.

The pick: CPHS 24, MWC 23.

Players to watch

Sandite Offense

Junior tight end Dash Fleischman has been solid both blocking and receiving this season, often opening up paths for Payton Scott along the outside. He has also hauled in 9 passes for 143 yards, though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet. 

Junior running back Payton Scott is the work horse for the Sandite offense with 267 carries for 1574 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. His career total is 2705 yards, but this is his first year as the starter. He's also a target for screen passes with 8 receptions for 142 yards this season.

Senior Kasey Bales is the all-purpose player for the Sandites. He holds 55 receptions for 792 yards and 9 touchdowns this season and sits at 1439 yards for his career. He's ran 6 times for 44 yards, mostly on laterals. He frequently handles kicking duties for the Sandites, and is 17 of 22 on extra points this season. He averages 42 yards per punt, and 21 yards per kick return.

Second-year senior quarterback Hunter Greathouse is 122 of 243 passing this season with 1833 yards and 16 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. He has already surpassed his record last season, and he's played three less games. His career total is 3668 and could easily pass the 4000 mark tonight if Midwest City shuts down the run game. He hasn't thrown a 300+ game yet, but certainly is capable of it if necessary. He's a break-even runner due to sacks, and technically has only 3 yards on 54 carries this season. But he has seven touchdowns on the ground and can be counted on to gain a few on a designed run. He also holds two punts this season for an average of 43 yards in case fourth-down conversion attempts fall apart. 

Senior Alejandro "Alex" Hernandez is the primary kicker with 13 extra points on 15 attempts and 2 field goals on 5 attempts. He averages 45 yards per kickoff, but that's deceptive. He can easily drill it inside the ten-yard line, but the Sandites haven't done too well at return coverage this season and often have him send it high and short so they have more time to reach the ball. 

Senior Dalton Morgan is in his first season on offense and has 42 runs for 247 yards and a touchdown. He also has one pass for 29 yards and a touchdown, and 9 receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns. His native spot is on defense where he has seventeen tackles over only two games this season. He also has a fumble recovery.

Senior Mack Thompson is in his first year of Sandite football and holds 19 receptions for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Senior Caleb Wash is also a first year receiver and has 17 receptions for 226 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Offensive linemen Danny Ropp, Lincoln Adams, Michael Carper, Ethan Hooper, Austin Rutledge, Caleb Mallory, and a few others don't have any stats to track, but they are crucial players and are always impressive to watch.

Sandite Defense

Sophomore Luke Bratcher has been a playmaker on the Sandite defense this year with two fumble recoveries and an interception to complement his 26 tackles.

Hayden Cramer has made an impressive debut his sophomore season with 41 tackles, five for losses, and a forced fumble. 

Junior Gage Fain is one of the leading players on defensive line with 31 tackles, including an incredible thirteen for losses totaling 59 yards. Most impressive is his 6 sacks for 32 yards. He also holds a fumble recovery.

Tre Finch holds 28 tackles this season, mostly unassisted, with four for losses totaling 24 yards, including three sacks for losses of 19 yards. He holds one forced fumble. 

Senior Tyler Delozier sits at 25 tackles this season with 2 for loss. He has hauled in two interceptions, one of which he returned for 40 yards. He also has a fumble recovery.

Senior Brett Freeman holds 27 tackles this season with 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery. 

Senior Delvin Jordan, Jr. is Mr. Sandite Defense with 59 tackles this season, including 48 unassisted, 12 for losses totaling 64 yards, and 5 sacks totaling 37 yards. He has two forced fumbles this year and one recovery, which he returned for 32 yards to score. He also very nearly had a scoring fumble recovery in the last game on what appeared to be an incomplete lateral, but was ruled a forward pass after the play.

Senior Cody Motes holds 29 tackles, mostly unassisted, with 2 interceptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. He has one fumble recovery for 58 yards and a score.

Senior lineman Nathan Simonton sits at 33 tackles with 6 tackles for losses totaling 18 yards and 3 sacks for 7 yards. He also has two fumble recoveries. 

Senior Josh Taber splits time between wide receiver and defense and holds 35 tackles this season, mostly unassisted. He has four receptions for 28 yards this season, but mostly plays defense.

Senior Treyce Tolbert has 30 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups.

Week 11 6A-II Rankings and Playoff predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Scott Emigh.

Photo: Scott Emigh.

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.

Sand Springs at Bixby pre-game analysis

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The No. 2 ranked Charles Page High School varsity football team (6-3, 4-1) will travel to the No. 3 Bixby Spartans (6-3, 4-1) this Friday in the regular-season finale as they fight for their first District Title in nearly two decades. The two teams each have playoff berths clinched at this point, and are each vying for the right to host. If Sand Springs loses, they take fourth in the district and will play the District One Champion. If Bixby loses, they take third in the district. 

SEE RELATED: Spartan rivalry continues Friday in the District Title game

Here's how the two teams played against mutual opponents:

No. 3 Spartans (6-3, 4-1)

lost 45-42 to Muskogee
defeated Sapulpa 62-17
defeated Ponca City 60-6
defeated Bartlesville 63-14
defeated Booker T 28-0

Average score: 51-16
First downs: 23
First downs allowed: 13
Fumbles-lost: 8-5 (total)
Fumble recoveries: 6 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 7-68

C-A-Y-I: 18-28-260-0
Average: 9.28
Allowed: 18-32-224-1
Average: 7.00

Rushes-Yards: 42-241
Average: 5.73
Allowed: 25-46
Average: 1.84

Plays-Yards: 70-500
Average: 7.14
Allowed: 57-270
Average: 4.73

No. 2 Sandites (6-3, 4-1)

defeated Muskogee 26-25
defeated Sapulpa 35-7
defeated Ponca City 56-35
defeated Bartlesville 47-28
lost 17-12 to Booker T

Average score: 35-22
First downs: 18
First downs allowed: 14
Fumbles-lost: 6-3 (total)
Fumble recoveries: 6 (total)
Penalties-Yards: 4-36

C-A-Y-I: 12-22-162-1
Average: 7.36
Allowed: 14-23-154-1
Average: 6.69

Rushes-Yards: 40-211
Average: 5.27
Allowed: 34-131
Average: 3.85

Plays-Yards: 62-373
Average: 6.01
Allowed: 57-285
Average: 5.00

The one district loss for Bixby came at the hands of No. 1 Muskogee (8-1, 4-1) in a shootout at the Indian Bowl. The lead changed eleven times in the game that saw a combined 911 yards of total offense. Offensively the Spartans outperformed with six touchdowns, more yards, more first downs, and a higher pass-completion rate. Muskogee's defense won it, however with two interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and four punts. Muskogee utilized a high-powered fast-paced offense that averaged 7.26 yards per play, 11.08 yards per pass, and 2.26 yards per carry. As low as that 2.26 is, it's the highest average allowed by Bixby in district play this season. The Spartans were more methodical, averaging only 5.3 yards per play, 4.02 yard per carry, and 6.36 yards per pass.

Sand Springs traveled to Muskogee two weeks after Bixby and stunned the home crowd with a wild last-minute play that attained national coverage. Sand Springs, like Bixby, outperformed in total yardage and first downs, but had to come from behind with a 65-yard drive in only 38 seconds. They scored on an incredible two-point run to take the lead and the victory. Sand Springs averaged 3.97 yards per carry and 6.91 yards per pass, while giving up 5.63 yards per carry and 5.71 yards per pass.

No. 4 Booker T. Washington (6-4, 4-2) played the spoiler for Sand Springs, despite being outmatched offensively by a considerable margin. The Sandite run game was utterly shut down by the Hornets, being held to 0.93 yards per carry, but the Sandites more than adapted with 9.11 yards per pass. The Hornets were without their starting QB, Phillip Wheatley, and managed only 2.48 yards per pass and 0.4 yards per carry. The Sandites should have won 12-10, but midway through the fourth quarter, QB Hunter Greathouse was unable to haul in a high snap, and Booker T. recovered the fumble at the Sandite two-yard line. Till then, the Sandite defense had been practically impenetrable, forcing seven punts and holding one drive to a field goal, but were unable to stave off the Hornets this time. The Hornet defense pulled out all the stops and forced a turnover on downs in their own redzone, then hauled in a Hail Mary interception to seal the victory.

Booker T. hosted Bixby last week and were soundly defeated in their first shutout since 2012, despite putting up the best defense the Spartans have experienced all season. The Hornets held them to 4.65 yards per run and 5.04 yards per pass, while racking up 2.08 yards per run and 3.81 yards per pass. The Spartans scored twice by air in the first half and twice on the ground in the second half. The Hornets split time between two backup QBs, but neither was able to break even passing.

The Prediction?

Firstly, when you look at a box of the two teams' averages based on mutual opponents, Bixby should win hands down. That's misleading, however, because the Sandites always play to their opponents, while the Spartans play balls-to-the-wall no matter what. To get a true comparison of the two teams, you have to limit your focus to just Booker T. and Muskogee. When you compare those stats, the teams are a whole lot closer.

Sand Springs prefers to keep the ball on the ground when they can, but have adapted well to the air when necessary. The Sandite O-line is powerful, but Bixby's linemen will likely be their biggest test of the season. The Sandites averaged 2.5 yards per carry against Muskogee and Booker T., and won't be likely to fair any better against Bixby.

The Spartans as a whole have the number six defense in the division when it comes to points per game, but gave up an average 7.74 yards per pass against Muskogee and Booker T., meaning that will be the Sandites' best bet for moving the ball. The Sandites have only been held to double digits running once this season, against Booker T., and easily transitioned to a 13-26-237 aerial barrage. Greathouse is 51% for the year with 1,654 yards, fifteen touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He has no problem stepping up when his team needs him, and his 237 against Booker T. was a career-best. 

While the Spartans were more capable of running against Muskogee and Booker T. than the Sandites were, averaging 4.07 yards per carry, they were significantly hampered in the air, averaging only 5.48 yards per pass. 

Bixby will come out with all pistons firing and double the Sandites in the first quarter 14-6. Sand Springs will win the second quarter 14-9 and enter the half trailing by a field goal. Both teams will come out of the half fired up, but defense will hold tough and the Spartans will score the lone touchdown, while the Sandites give up a failed fourth-down conversion attempt inside the Spartan redzone on one posession and kick a field goal on another. The Sandites will win it in the fourth quarter, however, with big passes and trick plays for a come-from-behind stunner.

Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium, located at the intersection of Riverview and Stadium Road. 

Four meetings in two years, the Sandite-Spartan rivalry continues Friday in the District Title game

Sand Springs takes on Bixby in the 2015 6A-II State Championship game at Union Stadium. (Photo: Austin Evans).

Sand Springs takes on Bixby in the 2015 6A-II State Championship game at Union Stadium. (Photo: Austin Evans).

Sand Springs vs Bixby History
Year, Coach, QB, Result

1922 A.R. Bateman, Sixkiller, 14-19 loss
1926 30-12 win
1927 20-6 win
1980 Gary Quimby, Eric Haines, 10-7 win (A)
1981 Gary Quimby, Eric Haines, 12-14 loss (H)
1982 Chris Thurmond, 32-6 loss (H)
1983 LD Baines, Brad Johnson, 4-21 loss (A)
1984 LD Baines, Shawn Morand, 5-3 win (H)
1985 LD Baines, Shawn Morand, 14-3 win (A)
1992 LD Baines, Mike Quimby, 17-20 OT loss (H)
1993 LD Baines, Delvin Jordan, 26-20 win (A)
1994 LD Baines, Delvin Jordan, 33-7 win (H)
1995 LD Baines, Dustin Morrow, 10-17 loss (A)
1996 LD Baines, Keith Hooks, 28-7 win (H)
1997 Archie Loehr, Keith Hooks, 19-0 win (A)
1998 Archie Loehr, Keith Hooks, 30-6 win (H)
1999 Archie Loehr, Ryan Summers, 7-23 loss (H)
2010 Dustin Kinard, Darrack Harger, 35-48 loss (H)
2011 Dustin Kinard, Darrack Harger, 23-43 loss (A)
2012 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 21-7 win (H)
2013 Dustin Kinard, Cody Hale, 21-35 loss (A)
2014 Dustin Kinard, Conner Sitton, 31-34 loss (A)
2014 Dustin Kinard, Jacob Taber, 14-41 loss (BA)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 20-0 win (H)
2015 Dustin Kinard, Hunter Greathouse, 28-38 loss (Union)

Overall Record: 12-13-0

Longest Streak: CPHS 3
Longest Streak: Bixby 3

Shutouts: CPHS 2
Shutouts: Bixby 0

Road wins: CPHS 4
Road wins: Bixby 5

Biggest win: CPHS 33-7
Biggest win: Bixby 41-14
 

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The High School football season still has a month left, but the regular season will come to a close this Friday as the No. 2 Sand Springs Sandites (6-3, 4-1) travel to No. 3 Bixby (6-3, 4-1) to try and earn their first district title since 1997. In the last two seasons the teams have met four times, including two playoff games and a State Championship. High-stakes games are all these two teams know.

In 2014 the Spartans lost their season-opener at Jenks (11-2), then won twelve-straight with an average margin of victory of 27 points. Sand Springs, meanwhile, was the sleeper with a 7-2 record prior to their first meeting with Bixby. Two of those wins were by a touchdown or less and their average win was by 17 points. Bixby was heavily favored throughout the season, but that didn't stop the Sandites from coming within a field goal in their last visit to Spartan Stadium. Sand Springs posed the closest threat to the Spartans all season in a 34-31 loss to end the regular season. Bixby got payback two weeks later, however, ravaging the injury-plagued Sandites 41-14 at Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium.

The Sandites were without starting quarterback Conner Sitton and leading wide-receiver Davey Thayer due to concussions sustained in a quarterfinal playoff game against Midwest City. University of Houston-bound kicker, Blake Boyles, had an injured leg from the last game with Bixby. The starting nose-tackle was out due to disciplinary issues, and a smattering of other players were either out all-together, or nursing mild injuries and well below 100%. Also, one of their leading defensive linemen, Jacob Taber, was filling in at quarterback. 

Last season the Spartans started with the number one ranking, despite a season-opening 58-24 loss to Jenks (11-1), then won three straight, including a 71-7 murder of East Central (0-8) before falling 50-33 to No. 4 Bartlesville (10-2). From there they had less than impressive wins against Ponca (3-6) and Sapulpa (2-7), then were blown out 52-7 by Booker T. Washington (10-1). They nearly even gave up a loss to Muskogee (3-7) before holding on to the 48-41 overtime win. Sand Springs had realistically earned a 7-2 record by the time of their meeting with the Spartans, but had to forfeit two wins due to an ineligible player, and a third game was cancelled at half time due to weather, despite the Sandites having a significant lead. While the Sandites were dominated 24-7 by Bartlesville, their only other loss was a close 17-14 to Booker T., who annihilated Bixby. 

When the two teams met in the regular season finale at Memorial Stadium, the Spartans were utterly dominated by the Sandite defense, and gave up their first shutout since 2008. Sand Springs managed only 255 yards of total offense against the Spartans' 268, but pulled off four fumble recoveries and 13 tackles for loss, totaling 74 yards, including five sacks for 51 yards in the 20-0 win.

Bixby went on to dominate Lawton 36-6 in the quarterfinals and Bartlesville 67-21 in the semis, while the Sandites defeated Stilwater 49-14 in the quarterfinals and Booker T. 30-23 in the semis. 

In the Sandites' first State Championship appearance since they won it in 1966, Bixby played the role of spoiler. The Spartans took a quick 16-0 lead before the Sandites came from behind with three-straight touchdowns to make it 21-16. The teams exchanged scores from there, but Bixby got the last two to win it 38-28. 

If the Sandites fall to Bixby, they'll need a miracle upset from Ponca City over Muskogee in order to remain in the top-two of the district. The current class of Sandites are 16-4 on their home turf and only 12-9 on the road. If the Sandites can clinch a home playoff game, it'll be a big step in the direction of a State Title. Sand Springs hasn't seen a State Title since 1966, and a 50th anniversary win would make it even more special.

The Spartans still have a possibility of a District Title if they win over Sand Springs and Ponca upsets Muskogee, but realistically they're in the same boat of looking for a home playoff game. Over the past four seasons, the Spartans are 15-5 at home and 14-7 on the road, but it's less important for them as they're 6-1 in the playoffs and defending back-to-back State Titles. 

Sandite Pride News has picked Sand Springs as the victor of this weekend's game by a narrow 32-30. Stay tuned for the pre-game analysis, exclusively from Sandite Pride.

Editorial: Why OSU should NOT claim the 1945 National Championship

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Oklahoma State University, or rather, Oklahoma A&M, was retroactively awarded the 1945 football National Championship by the American Football Coaches Association last week. The problem is, there already is a National Champion for 1945--the Army. Apparently the AFCA established a panel to rewrite history. 

The AFCA has recognized a National Champion annually since 1950 when the University of Oklahoma won its first National Title under Bud Wilkinson. The organization recently decided to retroactively award Titles for the 1922-1949 seasons and will arbitrarily select Champions based on pleas from those schools, rather than based on the polls that already existed during that time period. 

The AP poll has been universally recognized as the awarding association for the 1936-1949 National Championships, and in that poll the Aggies weren't even ranked in the top four. By today's standards, they just barely missed the playoffs. 

There were several undefeated teams that season, but the undefeated Army team was unanimously selected by all 116 voters of the AP writers' poll as the top team in the country. Next up was the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by the undefeated Navy. 

No. 1 Army (9-0-0)

9/29 Army defeats Louisville Fields 32-0
10/6 Army defeats Wake Forest 54-0
10/13 Army defeats No. 9 Michigan 28-7
10/20 Army defeats Melville PT Boats 55-13
10/27 Army defeats No. 19 Duke 48-13
11/3 Army defeats Villanova 54-0
11/10 Army defeats No. 2 Notre Dame 48-0
10/17 Army defeats No. 6 Penn 61-0
12/1 Arms defeats No. 2 Navy 32-13

No. 5 Oklahoma A&M (9-0-0)

9/29 OSU defeats Arkansas 19-14
10/6 OSU defeats Denver 31-7
10/12 OSU defeats SMU 26-12
10/20 OSU defeats Utah 46-6
10/27 OSU defeats TCU 25-12
11/10 OSU defeats No. 19 Tulsa 12-6
11/17 OSU defeats Texas Tech 46-6
11/24 OSU defeats Oklahoma 47-0
1/1 OSU defeats No. 9 Saint Mary's 33-13

Comparing the two teams isn't that hard. OSU clearly had a good team. There's no contesting that. But they posted only one shutout to Army's five shutouts. OSU won their games by an average score of 31-8 whereas Army won their games by an average score of 45-5. Army had the number one offense in the country, and the number one defense. Army posted five ranked wins with an average score of 43-6, while OSU's two ranked wins came at an average of 22-9. And don't forget that Army had Heisman Trophy winner Doc Blanchard. 

But somehow, OSU was the better team?

By whatever wildly errant logic that the AFCA is using, Sand Springs should have several State Championships. The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) didn't begin holding playoffs or recognizing a State Champion until 1944, leaving individual schools to claim to State Titles as they saw fit. In 1931 the Sandites went 6-0-1 with four shutout wins and a 0-0 tie with an equally impressive Skiatook team. At the time, high schools didn't play to overtime. Though they didn't have the toughest schedule, they did go undefeated. That's good enough, right? Again, in 1937, the Sandites went undefeated at 8-0-2 with six shutout wins and two 0-0 ties, both to winning teams. Once again, it wasn't the toughest schedule in Oklahoma, but neither was OSU's. 

In 1951, the Sandites went 11-1 with their only true loss being 27-6 to Sapulpa in week three. From there they won nine straight games, including five shutouts. They defeated Poteau 54-0 in the State quarterfinals before "losing" 20-20 to Ada. At the time the OSSAA didn't allow overtime and Ada was awarded the win on red zone penetrations. Apparently having a stout defense able to put up red zone stops doesn't matter to the OSSAA. Sapulpa was Class AA at the time while Sand Springs was A, so that loss doesn't affect their claim to a State title. They essentially went undefeated in their division, and had they been allowed to play overtime against Ada, who knows what might have happened? Ada went on to defeat Ponca City 20-13 for their first Championship. They now hold nineteen State Titles.

In 1962 the Sandites went 7-0-3 with three shutouts and three ties. They even beat Broken Arrow 32-0. At the time the Sandites weren't in an eligible conference and weren't allowed to compete for the State Title. 

That makes two State Titles that the Sandites could claim on wins, due to there being no playoffs, and two Titles they can claim on being unfairly excluded from the playoffs. But Sand Springs doesn't claim those Titles. We didn't claim them then, because we followed the rules and respected that there were better teams, and we don't claim them now, because it would be unfair to the schools that have already held them for decades. We are content to settle for our 1966 State Title and work towards earning new titles in the future rather than living in the past. 

If the University of Oklahoma were to claim National Titles outside of AP rankings, they would have ten more than the seven they claim. In 1915, Oklahoma went 10-0 under Bennie Owen. The official NCAA Division I Football Records Book even lists Cornell, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh as having equal claim to the Title, but only Cornell and Pittsburgh claim it. 

Cornell (9-0)
9/25 defeated Gettysburg 13-0
10/2 defeated Oberlin 34-7
10/9 defeated Williams 46-6
10/16 defeated Bucknell 41-0
10/23 defeated Harvard 10-0
10/30 defeated VPI 45-0
11/6 defeated Michigan 34-7
11/13 defeated Washington & Lee 40-21
11/25 defeated Penn 40-21

Oklahoma (10-0)
9/25 defeated Kingfisher 67-0
10/2 defeated SW Oklahoma 55-0
10/9 defeated NW OK State 102-0
10/16 defeated Missouri 24-0
10/23 defeated Texas 14-13
10/30 defeated Kansas 23-14
11/6 defeated Kendall 14-13
11/14 defeated Arkansas 24-0
11/19 defeated Kansas State 21-7
11/25 defeated Oklahoma A&M 26-7

Shutouts: Pittsburgh 6
Average Score: Oklahoma 37-5

Pittsburgh (8-0)
10/2 defeated Westminster 32-0
10/9 defeated Navy 47-12
10/16 defeated Carlisle 45-0
10/23 defeated Penn 14-7
10/30 defeated Allegheny 42-0
11/6 defeated Washington & Jefferson 19-0
11/13 defeated Carnegie Tech 28-0
11/25 defeated Penn State 20-0

Oklahoma was retroactively selected as National Champions by the Billingsley Report. Cornell was retroactively selected by the Helms Athletic Foundation, the Houlgate System, and the National Championship Foundation, while being selected as co-champions by Parke H. Davis. Pittsburgh was selected as co-champions by Parke H. Davis. 

Oklahoma had yet another undefeated season in 1949 under Bud Wilkinson and was retroactively awarded the National Title by the College Football Research Association, despite the AP giving it to Notre Dame. 

No. 1 Notre Dame (10-0)
9/24 defeated Indiana 49-6
10/1 defeated Washington 27-7
10/8 defeated Purdue 35-12
10/15 defeated No. 4 Tulane 46-7
10/29 defeated Navy 40-0
11/5 defeated No. 10 Michigan State 34-21
11/12 defeated North Carolina 42-6
11/19 defeated Iowa 28-7
11/26 defeated No. 17 USC 32-0
12/3 defeated SMU 27-20

No. 2 Oklahoma 11-0
9/23 defeated Boston College 46-0
10/1 defeated Texas A&M 33-13
10/8 defeated No. 12 Texas 20-14
10/15 defeated Kansas 48-26
10/22 defeated Nebraska 48-0
10/29 defeated Iowa State 34-7
11/5 defeated Kansas State 39-0
11/12 defeated Missouri 27-7
11/19 defeated No. 19 Santa Clara 28-21
11/26 defeated Oklahoma A&M 41-0
1/1 defeated No. 9 LSU  41-0

1949 saw four undefeated teams, including California and Army. However, Notre Dame received 172 of 208 first place votes in the final AP Poll. OU actually came in second on first place votes with 18, whereas the 1945 OSU team received 0. OU defeated three ranked opponents by an average score of 30-12, while Notre Dame defeated three ranked opponents by an average score of 37-9. Notre Dame also had a Heisman award winner, six players who went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and four All-Americans. Oklahoma had one future Hall of Famer and five All-Americans. Just like in 1945, it was clear to the people alive at the time that Notre Dame was the better team, despite Oklahoma having far more claim to the Title than OSU did in 1945. 

The Oklahoma conversation can continue with 1953 (9-1-1, named by Berryman and CFRA) when Maryland (10-1) was recognized by the AP. The 1957  team (10-1, named by Berryman) when Auburn was recognized by the AP, despite having paid two high school players $5000 to play. In 1967 (10-1, named by Poling System) when USC was recognized by the AP. In 1973 (10-0-1, named by CFRA, DeVold, Dunkel, Sagarin) when Notre Dame was recognized by the AP. In 1978 (11-1, named by DeVold, Dunkel, FACT, Helms, Litkenhous, Matthews, Poling, Sagarin) when Alabama was recognized by the AP. In 1980 (10-2, named by Dunkel and Matthews) when Georgia was recognized by the AP. In 1986 (11-1, named by CFRA, Berryman, DeVold, Dunkel, NY Times, Sagarin) when Penn State was recognized by AP. Finally, in 2003 (12-2, named by Berryman) when USC was recognized by AP. 

OSU fans can call themselves National Champions all they want, but the fact is all 116 AP voters, who were alive at the time and actually watched the season, thought that Army was the better team. OSU has a handful of panel members who weren't even alive at the time. 

Oklahoma only claims 7 of our 17 awarded titles. Notre Dame only claims 11 of 22. USC claims 11 of 17. Michigan claims 11 of 16. Ohio State claims 8 of 16. Harvard claims 7 of 12. 

As a proud Oklahoman, I want OSU to win a National Title one day. I would love to see a day and age when OU and OSU are in the playoffs every year as the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams. It's unlikely, but wouldn't it be nice? Heck, throw Tulsa in there as well, so long as we're imaging a perfect world. 

I would much rather see OSU make a case for the 2011 season, when they won ten-straight to earn the No. 2 rank before dropping a double overtime upset to Iowa State. They bested OU 44-10, won their first and only Big 12 title, and beat No. 4 Stanford 41-38 in overtime at the Fiesta Bowl. That year there wasn't a single ranked team without a loss, and National Champion Alabama avenged their regular season loss to No. 1 LSU with a 21-0 victory in the Championship game. While I personally think Alabama and LSU were both far better teams than OSU, at least OSU got 4 of 60 votes in the AP poll that year, as opposed to 1945 when they got 0 of 116. 

Oklahoma State has come a long way as a program and I think one day they will likely win a Championship. But that day won't be this year, it wasn't in 2011, and it wasn't in 1945 either. In 2011 they were named the National Champion by the Colley-Matrix, and the Cowboys did the right thing by not recognizing it. They shouldn't recognize this one either.

I'm not being one sided in this. The AFCA still has 27 more National Titles to give out, of which OU could make legitimate claim to the 1949 title. We were undefeated and we posted one more win than Notre Dame, who was recognized by the AP. While many OU fans may be excited to win the '49 title, I won't be. You can hold me to it, if the AFCA calls Oklahoma the 1949 National Champion, I'll still be claiming seven national titles, not eight. National Titles should be decided at the time, not decades later by people who weren't around when the games were played. Notre Dame was the better team in '49 and Army was the better team in '45.

When Oklahoma State wins its first National Title, I will be as excited as anybody, and more excited than anybody who recognizes the 1945 Championship. Winning a real Title will be much sweeter without being watered down by revisionist history.

Week Seven 6A-II Rankings and Predictions; a look at this weekend's games

Photo: Morgan Miller

Photo: Morgan Miller

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. 

Editorial: How the 6A split saved 6A football

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Oklahoma high school football experienced a dramatic and controversial change in the fall of 2013 when the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) announced a split in Class 6A. The 16 highest-enrollment schools would be separated from the lower 16 and each division would play for their own State Title.

The reason for the decision was simple. Population. The current enrollment of Broken Arrow High School is 4,872. The enrollment of Booker T Washington? 1,317. The difference between the top of 6A and the bottom of 6A is greater than the top of 5A and the smallest schools in the State. Schools like BA, Union, Jenks, and Owasso have four times the talent pool to draw from. While the majority of the Hornet starters play both sides of the ball and never get a break, the Redskins have a roster larger than some colleges and have backups for their backups.

Class 6A was created in 1992 and the inaugural Championship was won by Norman. Jenks won it in ’93, Midwest City went back-to-back from ’94-95, and nobody but Jenks or Union has won it since. More often than not, the State Championship game has simply been a rematch between the Backyard Bowl rivals. Since the inception of 6A, Jenks leads the series with 14 titles to Union’s 7, and only 2 other teams have ever won.

Clearly population isn’t the only deciding factor, otherwise Broken Arrow would have won it every year. But there’s no denying the significance it plays. 6A teams were judged by their ability to turn a winning record, not by their ability to win State Titles. That was irrelevant. Nobody won State Titles but Jenks and Union.

In the 22 seasons that Sand Springs played the 6A division, they earned a total record of 98-131 and only managed 7 winning seasons with 7 playoff appearances. In five of those years they were eliminated by top-four-enrollment schools. The other years it was by top-ten schools. Since the 6A split, the Sandites have gone 15-11, made the playoffs both years, and actually won playoff games for the first time since 1997. In 2015, the Sandites made their first State Final appearance since 1966.

While the problems with the 6A split were clear—increased travel, “easier” brackets—the solution has proved to be a game-changer for the 16 schools who now feel like they actually have a legitimate chance. The culture around Sand Springs football has changed, and it’s not an isolated event.

The Class 6A-II conversation begins with two-time reigning State Champions, the Bixby Spartans. Bixby was an annual contender in Class 5A without fail. They weren’t part of the inaugural class of 6A. They didn’t move over until 2010. Prior to that, they had six-straight winning seasons with ten-straight playoff appearances. In their first year of 6A they finished the regular season 5-5, their worst record since 2003, and were eliminated in round one by Jenks. For the next two years they posted losing records and didn’t make the playoffs again till the 6A split. In a single year, the 6A powerhouses had killed the football culture at Bixby. They were lucky that they only had to live through it for four years before the split. In 2014, the Spartans were once again playing teams at their size, and they went 12-1 for their first ever State Title. Their only loss? A season-opening non-conference game against Jenks. Jenks won that one 66-20. The Spartans defended their title in 2015 and are currently ranked number one in 2016. After two straight winning seasons and State Titles, the Spartans challenged Jenks in their season opener and nearly won it, 38-34.

Booker T Washington has always had a culture of winning, with eight State Championships including two recently in 2008 and 2010 at the 5A level. The Hornets only had to play two seasons of 6A football, both ending in first round devastating playoff defeats at the hands of the Big Four. As soon as 6A split, they were back in it with a 7-game winning streak and a 10-2 season in 2014. Last year they went undefeated in the regular season and earned the number one rank before Sand Springs defeated them in the semi-finals. This year the Hornets are laying the foundation to take their program to the next level with College Hall of Fame member Brad Calip taking over as Head Coach and former University of Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship volunteering with the quarterbacks and offensive coaching. The Hornets have stepped up their pre-conference scheduling with 6A No. 5 Edmond Santa Fe and Florida-based private school IMG Academy which is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation with an entire roster of division-I commits.

Bartlesville was part of the first class of 6A, and went 0-10 in the first two years. They didn’t post a winning record till 2002, when they were doubled down on by Union 54-27 in the first round of the playoffs. Their next winning record wouldn’t come till 2008, and that was only due to a forfeiture by Jenks due to OSSAA sanctions. In 2009 they gave it a real run and even defeated Owasso, but still couldn’t fend off Jenks, BA, and Southmoore. In 2010 they had another winning record at 7-4. Their losses were to the Big Four. Since the 6A split they’ve made the playoffs both years and finished last season with only two losses. They held the No. 1 rank briefly after defeating Bixby, before falling to BTW two weeks later.

The success stories continue from there. The evidence is undeniable, the 6A split has saved 6A football. While critics of the sixteen-team bracket call it a JV division, the reality is that the top teams in 6A-II never could compete with the Big Four when they were in 6A, but now they could. Bixby nearly defeated 6A No. 1 Jenks in a pre-conference battle. BTW almost defeated 6A No. 5 Edmond Santa Fe. Sand Springs has begun scheduling real opponents like Arkansas State Champion Pulaski Academy, instead of their past habit of lighting up Nathan Hale, who has lost 37-straight games. Muskogee has brought in 5A State Championship coach Rafe Watkins from Guthrie and is now a real contender for the first time in years. Putnam City West is confidently rebuilding their program after a decade of losing seasons. Sapulpa brought on former Sand Springs Defensive Coordinator Robert Borgstadt as head coach to rebuild their ailing program.

Success breeds success. Is the 16-team bracket the best way to go? Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a full 32 schools the size of BA and we can re-institute the 32-team standard. Maybe we should split all the other classes into 16-team divisions as well. Or maybe we should call Bixby and Jenks Division Champions instead of State Champions and have them play each other for the true 6A State Championship. There’s many things we could try; some could work, and some won’t. But the fact is, 6A football is more competitive than it has ever been, and almost every school in the Class is now vying to be the next big deal. The Big Four monopoly hasn’t been broken, but at least 16 teams now feel like they have a real shot.