It is the final week of the Oklahoma high school football regular season for local teams – excluding Claremore Christian and Catoosa – and there are massive games across Rogers County.
Although everyone has the option of advancing to the playoffs, Week 10 carries major implications that could affect how the new-look postseason takes form.
For example, Claremore could miss out on hosting a playoff game with a loss tonight against Pryor. With the new setup, the top four teams in each district host unless a bi-district opponent opts out of the postseason, which would instead result in a bye week.
The Zebras currently sit at fourth in District 5A-4, but a loss and a Sapulpa win would drop them to fifth. If both lose, average marginal points will decide who places fourth. There is a path to third for Claremore, but that is the least-likely scenario.
Verdigris is in an interesting situation as well – for in a realistic scenario where Holland Hall tops Inola – it will lock up second in District 3A-4 with a win over Vinita.
However, the Cardinals could claim a second-consecutive district title with a win if the Holland Hall-Inola game is canceled. Verdigris could also win the district if it wins by eight points or more and the Longhorns somehow upset the Dutch, which isn’t likely considering Massey Ratings gives Holland Hall a 99% chance to win that game.
Inola can’t be lower than sixth in any scenario but would finish fourth with a win – again, highly unlikely – paired with a Central loss to Jay (also unlikely).
Sequoyah would win District 2A-8 with a victory over Adair but could drop to third with a loss and a Sperry win over Rejoice Christian.
Moving down a few classes, Foyil is likely to finish sixth in District B-8 but could jump to fourth with a win over Drumright and a Prue loss. If both Foyil and Prue win, average marginal points will decide the seeding for fourth through sixth.
Elsewhere, Oologah (District 4A-3) and Chelsea (District A-6) are subject to coach rankings. Both are ranked sixth in their respective districts this week and are projected to lose games at Bristow and at Hominy, respectively, according to Massey Ratings.
Catoosa, which also competes in 4A-3, has opted out of the playoffs and will play Miami next week in a battle of winless teams. That game was originally scheduled for Oct. 23 but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
While all those teams are jockeying for position, Claremore Christian will be hosting Sunrise Christian of Bel Aire, Kan., in the Heartland Christian Athletic Association Class 3A semifinals.
As you can see, there are plenty of scenarios that can play out. I have an idea of how things might go, though, so let’s take a look at my Week 10 picks (home teams in ALL CAPS):
Pryor 40, CLAREMORE 24: It has been a while since Pryor has bested the Zebras, but this team has a different vibe to it. Ben Ward – a transfer from Cleveland, Okla. – has Pryor scoring 46 points per game while accounting for 2,566 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns. That is about 321 yards per game.
Even in a 63-41 shootout loss to Class 5A No. 2 Collinsville last week, the junior threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 125 yards and two more scores. A week prior, he rushed for 265 yards and four touchdowns against Sapulpa.
With his help, the Tigers end their five-game losing streak to Claremore.
VERDIGRIS 37, Vinita 17: The Cardinals were humbled last week in a 52-7 loss to Class 3A No. 2 Holland Hall, but they shouldn’t be counted out just yet. That score was a product of a snowball effect, and seventh-ranked Verdigris will prove it with a convincing win over a Vinita team that is still undefeated in District 3A-4 but only because its game against the Dutch on Oct. 9 was canceled.
Adair 36, SEQUOYAH 18: Both teams enter this battle of juggernauts atop District 2A-8 on seven-game winning streaks, but something has to give. Adair is outscoring opponents an average of 40.9-12.4, and Sequoyah is accomplishing similar results at a 37.8-13.8 rate.
For me, the difference is how they’ve looked against common opponents. The Warriors outscored Locust Grove, Dewey, Nowata, Kansas, Salina and Rejoice Christian 292-39, and the Eagles beat those same teams 257-75.
Rejoice Christian is the signature win of that bunch for both squads, with Adair winning 64-20 while Sequoyah took a 56-49 shootout victory. When splitting hairs, I’ll always take the perceived better defensive team.
CLAREMORE CHRISTAN 66, Sunrise Christian 15: CCS lost to the Buffaloes 44-22 in this game last year, but it appears the Warriors have the team to beat this time around. Sunrise Christian enters the contest with a 2-4 record and is coming off a 64-16 loss to Destiny Christian, who the winner of this one will likely play for the HCAA Class 3A championship Nov. 14.
Furthermore, the Buffaloes are giving up 55 points per game. Coach Ryan Mullins’ offense, which is averaging 51.6 points per game, shouldn’t have problems taking advantage of an inferior defense while cruising to an eighth victory.
HOMINY 37, Chelsea 16: The Bucks aren’t as formidable as in recent years, but they have looked significantly more competitive than Chelsea through district play. Despite having played four district games to Hominy’s five, the Green Dragons managed to surrender 53 points more than the Bucks.
Holland Hall 59, INOLA 7: Holland Hall is simply on another level right now. Meanwhile, Inola has lost three of its last four, scoring only 13.3 points per game during that stretch. The Dutch take it easily and finish the regular season undefeated.
BRISTOW 25, Oologah 17: If last week was any indication, this one could be a slobberknocker. Bristow traveled to Southwest Oklahoma to topple then-No. 10 Cache 28-21, and Oologah bested Cleveland 35-28 in a back-and-forth affair.
It’ll be close, but the Purple Pirates’ dual-threat quarterback Stephon Tolon will do just enough to secure a fourth-consecutive victory heading into the playoffs.
DRUMRIGHT 35, Foyil 12: The Tornadoes suck up any hopes Foyil had of avoiding an 0-8 regular season. Sorry, Panthers.
CLEVELAND 45, Catoosa 7: Catoosa hasn’t played since Oct. 15 because of COVID-19 and hasn’t scored a touchdown since the final minute of a 37-7 loss to Claremore on Sept. 18. Even worse, the Indians haven’t scored a point Sept. 25, suffering three-consecutive shutouts to Grove, Wagoner and Oologah.
I think that unfortunate streak could end tonight.
Last week’s record: 7-0
Overall record: 52-10 (83.9%)