Happy birthday, America!

The Fourth of July is a time for us to look back on this country’s history and celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The United States has been around for 243 years now, and it is truly incredible to witness the growth and development of this great country.

And despite the many ups and downs the USA has endured, it is still considered one of the best nations in the world.

Overcoming adversity is common in sports as well.

Teams at any level of competition will also experience peaks and valleys, but they valleys don’t always outnumber the peaks.

If the New England Patriots were to miss the playoffs next season, their legacy wouldn’t suffer because of it. The program’s consistent success over the years would prevent that.

The same can be said for high school sports.

Last week, I ranked all eight OSSAA football teams in the area based on last season’s results alone. Claremore was deemed Rogers County’s best.

That might not be the case this time around.

In the spirit of celebrating the past, I went back and studied how all area programs, including Claremore Christian, have done on the gridiron since 2000.

After calculating wins, losses, winning percentage and playoff appearances, I came up with a poll ranking the top Rogers County football programs of the 21st century.

The rubric is as follows:

Wins — 1 point

State championship — 125 points

State runner-up — 100 points

Semifinalist — 75 points

Quarterfinalist — 50 points

2nd round (if necessary) — 35 points

1st round — 25 points

Programs that win a state championship are not given cumulative points, meaning they won’t receive points for being a quarterfinalist and semifinalist as well (125+75+50, etc.)

A program’s ultimate finish dictates how many points are earned.

Rankings will be listed from ninth (worst) to first (best).

No. 9 | Claremore Christian

Record: 54-75 (0.419)

Playoff appearances: 2 (2008, 2009)

Best season(s): 7-3 (2007, 2017)

Worst season: 0-9, 2012

Quick take: According to IWasAtTheGame.com, the Warriors started their football program in 2005, remaining private until joining Class C in 2008.

Claremore Christian left the OSSAA in 2014 and now competes in the Heartland Christian Athletic Association (HCAA).

Wins: 54

1st round: 2 (50)

Total points: 104

 

No. 8 | Inola

Record: 70-124 (0.361)

Playoff appearances: 4 (2004, 2010, 2013, 2016)

Best season: 8-3, 2016

Worst season(s): 1-9 (2002, 2005, 2006)

Quick take: Despite having a higher winning percentage than No. 7, the Longhorns landed in this spot because of their inability to get out of the first round.

The closest Inola came to advancing was a 44-37 loss to Eufaula in 2016. The other three postseason outings were decided by an average of about 29.7 points.

Wins: 70

1st round: 4 (100)

Total points: 170

No. 7 | Chelsea

Record: 67-128 (0.344)

Playoff appearances: 5 (2002, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015)

Best season: 10-3, 2002

Worst season(s): 0-10 (2016, 2018)

Quick take: Since the turn of the century, the Dragons have tallied only three winning seasons and two others at .500.

Despite going 3-7 during the 2013 regular season, Chelsea made the Class 2A playoffs, losing to Commerce, 60-7, in the first round.

The Dragons advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002 before getting knocked out by Heritage Hall.

Wins: 67

Quarterfinalist: 1 (50)

1st Round: 4 (100)

Total points: 217

No. 6 | Catoosa

Record: 100-105 (0.488)

Playoff appearances: 11 (2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018)

Best season: 12-1, 2011

Worst season: 0-10, 2001

Quick take: Aside from a drought from 2001-2006, the Indians have been fairly decent, making the playoffs in 12 of the past 14 seasons.

Only five of those trips resulted in at least one win, though.

Catoosa ran the table in 2011, winning 12-straight before falling in the semifinals to eventual Class 4A runner-up Clinton, 27-24.

Wins: 100

Semifinalist: 2 (150)

Quarterfinalist: 1 (50)

1st round: 8 (200)

Total points: 500

No. 5 | Foyil

Record: 105-103 (0.505)

Playoff appearances: 12 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018)

Best season: 12-1, 2005

Worst season(s): 0-10 (2014, 2015)

Quick take: The Panthers were a postseason regular for most of the century’s first decade, but there was a major drop-off after 2011.

Foyil went undefeated through the regular season in 2004 and 2005, but losses in the quarters and semis, respectively, derailed chances of a state title.

The Panthers have only three playoff wins since.

Wins: 105

Semifinalist: 1 (75)

Quarterfinalist: 2 (100)

2nd round: 1 (35)

1st round: 8 (200)

Total points: 515

No. 4 | Claremore

Record: 107-101 (0.514)

Playoff appearances: 13 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018)

Best season: 10-2, 2012

Worst season(s): 2-8 (2014, 2015)

Quick take: The Zebras have advanced to the quarterfinals on five occasions during the 21st century, but they’ve never made it further than that.

In fact, opponents handled Claremore by an average of 28 points per game in those five contests.

Three of those losses came at the hands of my alma mater, Carl Albert, which outscored the Zebras, 132-45.

Of Claremore’s 13 playoff losses since 2000, 12 were decided by double digits.

Wins: 107

Quarterfinalist: 5 (250)

1st round: 8 (200)

Total points: 557

No. 3 | Verdigris

Record: 129-84 (.606)

Playoff appearances: 15 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018)

Best season: 10-1 (2001)

Worst season: 2-8, 2013

Quick take: The Cardinals advanced past the first round in seven of 15 postseason appearances.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking loss came when Verdigris, now in Class 3A, was still in Class A in 2001. The Cardinals won their first 10 games in convincing fashion before being humbled in the second round by Hominy, 45-28.

Verdigris reached 10 wins again in 2003, 2011 and 2012 but made it to the quarterfinals only once during those seasons.

Wins: 129

Quarterfinalist: 2 (100)

2nd round: 7 (245)

1st round: 8 (200)

Total points: 674

No. 2 | Sequoyah

Record: 133-87 (.605)

Playoff appearances: 17 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Best season: 14-0, 2006

Worst season: 0-10, 2018

Quick take: Of all the teams on this list, the Eagles are the only program to secure a state championship in the 21st century.

Sequoyah ran the table in 2006, capping off the magical 14-0 season with a 32-3 win over Marlow for the Class 3A crown.

The Eagles made it back to the title game once more two years later, only to lose a tight 28-21 decision to Cascia Hall.

Although Sequoyah has experienced a perfect season, it has also endured the opposite extreme — a winless campaign.

The Eagles’ seven-year streak of playoff appearances came to a holt in 2018 when the team finished 0-10. Then and in 2010, when the team went 2-7, are the only times Sequoyah missed the postseason since 2000.

Wins: 133

State championship: 1 (125)

State runner-up: 1 (100)

Semifinalist: 3 (225)

Quarterfinalist: 2 (100)

2nd round: 1 (35)

1st round: 9 (225)

Total points: 943

No. 1 | Oologah

Record: 147-80 (0.648)

Playoff appearances: 17 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)

Best season: 12-1, 2003

Worst season: 1-9, 2000

Quick take: Talk about a powerhouse.

Since 2001, the Mustangs have two 12-win seasons, two 11-win seasons and four 10-win seasons.

Not to mention the three-straight Class 4A state championship appearances from 2014 to 2016 and the other nine quarter and semifinal showings.

Oologah lost all three championship bouts to perennial power Wagoner, but it is better than not being there at all.

After an abysmal 1-9 start to the century, the Mustangs qualified for the playoffs in 17 of the next 18 seasons. Now that is a turnaround.

Even after forfeiting three games in 2014 and opening the season 0-5 because of that, Oologah still found itself in title contention.

Wins: 147

State runner-up: 3 (300)

Semifinalist: 2 (150)

Quarterfinalist: 7 (350)

1st round: 5 (125)

Total points: 1,072

Heading into the 2019 season, the Mustangs are your undisputed Rogers County 21st century champions.