If you love breaking down schedules, you have probably loved my recent columns.
Continuing with that theme, I am looking at the toughest stretches on all Rogers County football schedules.
Last week, I said Sequoyah has the toughest overall schedule coming into the 2019 season, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles play their hardest games in succession.
Facing two, three or even four quality opponents in a row came make a mediocre schedule a lot tougher because it is difficult to win against competition of that caliber.
I once again used the RPI rankings on IWasAtTheGame.com to guide me, and for teams that had one or no opponents in the RPI top 20 of their respective classes, I used a mix of the MaxPreps state and national rankings.
No. 9 | Claremore Christian
Aug. 30 — vs. Foyil
Sept. 6 — at Bluejacket
Foyil should be a good measuring stick for Claremore Christian early in the season.
The Panthers, who finished 8-3, whipped the Warriors, 50-6, in 2018, so it’ll be interesting to see if the private school can a fare a little better this time around.
Claremore Christian lost to Bluejacket as well, but the game resulted in a classic rather than a rout.
The Chieftains edged the Warriors in a 58-54 shootout, and we could be in for another close game this season.
No. 8 | Foyil
Aug. 30 — at Claremore Christian
Sept. 6 — vs. Canadian
Foyil had the weakest schedule of the OSSAA schools in last week’s column, and these matchups reenforce that. It is saying something when the Panthers’ toughest back-to-back on the schedule includes a team they beat by 44 points last season.
The only thing keeping Foyil from last again is Canadian.
The Cougars handled Foyil, 286, in the 2018 opener, so the Panthers must avenge that loss to prove themselves a serious contender in Class B.
No. 7 | Chelsea
Oct. 17 — vs. Metro Christian
Oct. 25 — vs. Wyandotte
Metro Christian is by far the toughest opponent Chelsea will face this season.
The Patriots finished 12-2 in 2018, advancing to the Class 2A semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Beggs, 33-28.
Metro Christian defeated the Dragons last season, 51-7.
Wyandotte isn’t a world-beater, but the Bears have been a playoff regular since 2014. Wyandotte went 6-5 in 2018, defeating Chelsea, 5414.
The Dragons have a lot of ground to cover. Both games being at home might help things out a bit.
No. 6 | Inola
Oct. 11 — at Locust Grove
Oct. 17 — at Verdigris
Nov. 1 — at Vinita
Nov. 8 — vs. Cascia Hall
Inola has two notable back-tobacks that’ll prove troublesome this season.
The first pair of matchups starts with a visit to Locust Grove. Despite coming in a heavy underdog, the Longhorns managed to upset the Pirates, 15-13.
Next, Inola must travel to Verdigris for a matchup that could decide the final playoff spot out of District 3A-4.
The Longhorns dropped a 14-7 decision in overtime to the Cardinals last season that resulted in Verdigris making the playoffs, and the stakes could be similar in 2019.
Vinita leads off the second pair of games, a 31-27 loss looming over Inola.
It also kept the Longhorns out of the postseason, and in order to sneak into the playoffs, Inola must find a way to take care of the Hornets.
Finally, the Longhorns close with Cascia Hall.
The Commandos will be the favorite, but even a good showing would bode well for Inola if it were in playoff contention at the end of the season.
Cascia cruised to a 47-13 victory last season.
No. 5 | Catoosa
Nov. 1 — vs. Bristow
Nov. 8 — at Oologah
Catoosa has a couple of games that could be tricky.
To close out the regular season, the Indians host Bristow and then travel to Rogers County rival Oologah.
The Pirates were the surprise of Class 4A last season, nearly going undefeated in the regular season if not for a one-point overtime loss to Wagoner.
Bristow, which finished 9-2, even beat Catoosa to the tune of 5414.
Oologah is another quality opponent that could threaten the Indians.
Catoosa ended a lengthy losing streak to the Mustangs with a 30-12 victory last season, but don’t expect Oologah to be down for long.
Come back tomorrow for the four teams with the toughest stretch of games in 2019.