Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a series where Progress sports editor Kevin Green ranks the toughest multi-game stretches for all 2019 Rogers County football teams.
No. 4 | Oologah
Sept. 6 — vs. Collinsville
Sept. 13 — at Skiatook
Sept. 20 — at Hilldale
Oologah is looking to get back to form after a down year compare to past results, but its nondistrict schedule isn’t doing it any favors.
The Mustangs host Collinsville to open the season, the same team that finished 12-1 in 2018 and made it all the way to the Class 5A semifinals.
Oologah was shutout by the Cardinals, 49-0, so there will be a great sense of urgency on the Mustangs’ side.
A road contest against another Class 5A power in Skiatook might be on of the most physical games on the schedule.
The Bulldogs are known for their power-run game and stout defense, so Oologah will have to bow up and win this one the old-fashioned way.
Skiatook took last year’s meeting, 22-7.
Hilldale, another top 10 team, awaits to close nondistrict play.
The Hornets were a Class 4A quarterfinalist in 2018, and though it is difficult to judge a high school team in the offseason, there isn’t a reason to suspect a drop-off at this point.
Hilldale defeated the Mustangs, 23-19, last season.
No. 3 | Claremore
Sept. 6 — at Bartlesville
Sept. 13 — vs. Sapulpa
Sept. 20 — vs. Edison
Sept. 27 — at Collinsville
This year’s Zebras could be the best in recent memory, but an 0-4 start isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Not only does Claremore open the season against two Class 6A II teams, but it must also battle two quality Class 5A opponents after that, one of which has arguably the best running back in the state.
The Zebras lost to three of these four teams in 2018, defeating only Edison (twice).
Combined, Bartlesville and Sapulpa held Claremore to 21 points, and they weren’t considered top Class 6A II teams. The Chieftains were ousted in the first round of the playoffs, and the Bruins didn’t even make the postseason.
As mentioned earlier, Collinsville was a Class 5A contender last season, and like its meeting with the Zebras’ Rogers County neighbor Oologah, the Cardinals didn’t surrender a point to Claremore in a 31-0 decision.
No. 2 | Sequoyah
Sept. 6 — vs. Hilldale
Sept. 13 — vs. Sperry
Sept. 27 — at Locust Grove
Sequoyah looks to get back to its winning ways after enduring the worst-case scenario last season — finishing 0-10 — but its schedule is quite tricky.
Hilldale was a top 10 team in Class 4A, and Sperry claimed the Class 2A state championship. Both games are at home, but the Eagles are facing an uphill battle in back-to-back weeks here.
Sequoyah was handed consecutive 54-7 losses by these opponents last year.
The Eagles get a week break after these matchups courtesy of a Week Zero matchup against Miami, and they’ll surely put it to good use considering Locust Grove awaits on the other side of the bye.
The Pirates cruised to a 34-12 win over Sequoyah in 2018.
No. 1 | Verdigris
Sept. 6 — at Sperry
Sept. 13 — at Victory Christian
Nov. 1 — vs. Locust Grove
Nov. 8 — at Berryhill
Of the Cardinals’ four toughest games, three of them are on the road.
That includes games against defending Class 2A state champion Sperry, perennial Class 3A power Berryhill and high-caliber teams Victory Christian (2A) and Locust Grove.
Those teams went a combined 40-8 in 2018, outscoring Verdigris by a score of 155-72.
That means the Cardinals surrendered nearly 40 points per game to these giants. Yikes.
The good thing is two of these games are nondistrict bouts, so losses, no matter how lopsided, wouldn’t affect Verdigris’ playoff hopes.
In fact, the Cardinals could possibly be tied for first or second in District 3A-4 heading into those final two weeks of the regular season if they take care of business against the likes of Cascia Hall, Vinita, Inola and Sequoyah.