This is it — the final picks column of the year.
We are in the last week of the high school football season, and only three games remain. State champions have already been crowned in 6A-I, 6A-II, 5A, 4A, 3A and C, so 2A, A and B will close out what has been a wacky year to say the least.
However, there are no local games this week. Every team in Rogers County is done and has begun the transition from football to basketball, wrestling and preseason baseball. Bummer, I know.
That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what little high school football we have left, though. As promised, I will give you my predictions for the remaining championship games.
To give you an overview of how I’ve done, I am 80-11 on the season. That means I’ve been correct 87.9% of the time when picking individual games.
On the other hand, my state championship picks have left something to be desired.
I correctly picked the champions for 6A-I (Jenks), 6A-II (Bixby), 5A (Carl Albert), 4A (Wagoner) and 3A (Holland Hall), but my picks for the smaller classes have all been eliminated. Vian, Pawhuska, Shattuck and Timberlake let me down, but in all honesty, those classes were wide open anyway. My confidence level for those selections wasn’t as high as the five I got correct.
But regardless of whether I go 3-0 or 0-3 this week, I will finish with a respectable B-average on this year’s picks, and I am OK with that.
Without further ado, these are the final picks of the season. As always, the designated home teams are in all caps:
2A | Metro Christian 28, WASHINGTON 27: This one is a tossup. Metro Christian bested Washington 55-13 in the Class 2A quarterfinals last year, but we all know prior results don’t matter in the here and now.
Quarterback play will likely decide the outcome, for both programs boast efficient playmakers at that position. The Patriots’ Kirk Francis has thrown for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns in the past three games alone, which is close to 300 yards and four scores per game.
Then for the Warriors you have Emitt Wilk, a dual-threat quarterback who has accounted for 1,894 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.
My heart wants to pick Washington in hopes it can somewhat stifle the private schools’ recent domination in smaller classes, but Metro has been on this stage and won. Just last year, the Patriots topped Vian 42-32 for the first state title in school history.
With that in mind, I reluctantly see Metro joining Bixby and Carl Albert as the third team to successfully defend a 2019 state championship.
A | CASHION 38, Thomas-Fay-Custer 15: Cashion is a program that hasn’t been able to get over the hump in recent years, but that ends in 2020.
The Wildcats are making an appearance in the state title game for the fourth time in seven years, having lost in 2014, 2015 and 2019. They were the favorite entering the 2018 playoffs as well, but they were surprisingly upset in the second round that season.
In 2014, it was Thomas-Fay-Custer handing Cashion a 28-0 loss in the title game. The teams didn’t meet again until Sept. 18 of this year, with Cashion claiming a 28-7 victory.
I expect to see a similar result in the rematch because the Wildcats’ defense is just on another level. It held the Pawhuska offense, which averaged 66.4 points per game through its first 11 outings, to only one score in a 7-6 victory last week in the semifinals. That might be the most impressive feat of any team this season, regardless of class.
That tenacious defense combined with an offense that puts up 47.1 points per game will be enough to earn the Wildcats their first Gold Ball since 1981.
B | Dewar 34, LAVERNE 25: My predicted score might not indicate it, but this might be even more of a “pick’em” game than Metro Christian-Washington.
Both have looked dominant this season, with the exception of Laverne’s season-opening 28-20 loss to Cherokee. Since then, though, these programs have been the runaway favorites alongside three-time defending champion Shattuck, which they both blew out by scores of 50-16 (Laverne) and 54-14 (Dewar).
The Dragons are averaging 55.5 points per game and haven’t allowed more than 18 points in any game, and the Tigers are slightly below those offensive numbers at 47.5 ppg while allowing 50 more points overall despite playing two fewer games.
Every category points to Dewar, so that is whom I’m picking to win the Class B championship.
Last week’s record: 3-1
Overall record: 80-11 (87.9%)