Editor's note: Home teams in ALL CAPS.
After three weeks of high school football, the Rogers County area has already seen its fair share of classics and heartbreaking finales.
It has also seen some dominant and consistent performances, and as a result, five of the remaining six unbeaten area teams were ranked in the AP poll this week. Owasso moved up to No. 1 in Class 6A-I after an impressive 42-3 drubbing of Broken Arrow, while Lincoln Christian and Verdigris stayed put at No. 2 and No. 4 in Class 3A, respectively, as did Collinsville as Class 5A’s second-ranked team.
New to the rankings is Pryor, which sits at No. 10 in Class 5A after defeating Gravette, Ark., 35-14. Inola of Class 3A is the only undefeated team in the Progress coverage area that isn’t ranked.
However, the Rams and the Longhorns are on break this week, and so is non-OSSAA school Claremore Christian — which is also undefeated — after its scheduled opponent Northwest Arkansas, a first-year home-school team, forfeited the contest.
NWA wouldn’t have been much of a challenge for the Warriors, having lost 46-0 to a team CCS defeated 72-24, but I digress. There remain 10 games to be excited about for Week 3.
That also means I have 10 opportunities to improve my overall picks record of 27-2 after consecutive undefeated weeks (12-0 Week 1, 11-0 Week 2).
We begin with another intracounty matchup as Claremore travels down Route 66 to Frank McNabb Field to battle Catoosa.
Neither of these teams has managed to earn a win, and one of them will enter district play at 0-3. It is a sad and inescapable reality.
The Indians want to avoid a third-consecutive season without a nondistrict win, a fate the Zebras haven’t experienced since 2014 when under current Sequoyah coach Rob Gilbreath.
Catoosa seems somewhat improved from last year’s 0-7 campaign, especially on offense. Under the guidance of new coach Christian Hood, the Indians have scored 31 points total in losses to Pryor and Fort Gibson. They scored 40 total through seven games in 2020.
However, it might be too early to get any accurate reading of the offensive capability. After all, Catoosa scored 30 points against those same teams last year before managing only 10 points through its final five games.
The jury is also out on the defense because though it impressively held Pryor to 20 points on opening week, it surrendered 52 to Fort Gibson only seven days later. Which defense will show up in Week 3?
On the other side, Claremore is coming off a pair of heartbreaking losses to Bartlesville and Oologah. Both games were decided with less than four minutes to play, and both featured a game-ending turnover by the Zebra offense.
If Claremore can avoid untimely giveaways and convert on more red-zone trips, this one might be over well before the fourth quarter.
I see quarterback Braxton Etheridge coming into his own this game, making some big throws with no interceptions this time around (he has four through two games).
The Zebras gain some much-needed confidence heading into district play … Claremore 30, CATOOSA 14
Verdigris 42, VICTORY CHRISTIAN 14: Victory Christian has one of the more shocking results on its resume, an overtime victory over Pawhuska, but the Cardinals are on another level. Although Verdigris’ recent shutout streak comes to an end, quarterback Dylan White and the offense ride roughshod over the Conquerors and leave Tulsa with another blowout win.
Sequoyah 34, LOCUST GROVE 6: As displayed in consecutive shutout losses to Salina and Adair, the Pirates lack the offensive fortitude to hang with Sequoyah. Coming off a bye week, the Eagles should have no problems taking care of business against an inferior opponent.
Wellston 36, FOYIL 24: The Tigers haven’t shown much in terms of competitiveness after getting outscored 118-20 the first two weeks, but neither has Foyil.
The Panthers score some points in this one, but it won’t be enough to end their 13-game losing streak.
CHELSEA 38, Ketchum 14: The Green Dragons get back in the win column under the Thursday Night Lights with a dominant performance against one of the state’s worst 11-man teams in recent years. Ketchum ended a 28-game losing streak with a win in its season opener, but it returned to the status quo last week in a 42-0 loss to Kansas.
This game was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
HILLDALE 31, Oologah 22: Hilldale prevails over #MustangMagic in a close one. Oologah running backs Aidan Trimble and Nate Morrow are questionable this week, and if they don’t participate, the Mustangs will be forced into throwing against a defense that snagged two interceptions against Checotah last week and has eight sacks on the season.
Rejoice Christian 53, LUTHER 30: Despite this being their third-consecutive road game, the Eagles will look refreshed after a much-needed bye week. Rejoice Christian becomes the third team to score 50-plus on the Lions thanks to the arm of Chance Wilson.
Grove 37, PRYOR 28: Grove gets the nod here thanks to its offense. The Ridgerunners are averaging 49.5 points per game, even hanging 55 on a good Vinita team. Pryor is supposed to have a high-powered attack as well, but after managing only 20 points against Catoosa, which surrendered 49.3 points per game in 2020, I have my doubts.
Collinsville 42, BARTLESVILLE 9: Star quarterback Andrew Carney left last week’s game against Skiatook with a leg injury, and his availability is currently unknown. However, even without his help, the Cardinals should have enough to handle a young Bartlesville team.
This has been a close matchup in recent years, but Collinsville severely outclasses this version of the Bruins. Cards roll.
LINCOLN CHRISTIAN 49, Trinity Christian (Texas) 7: It’ll be a long bus ride home for the boys from Cedar Hill, Texas.
The Tigers have scored only six points through two games, and those came in a 36-6 loss to Seminole, a team that isn’t yet ranked in Class 3A. Conversely, Lincoln Christian is No. 2 in the same class.
If Trinity Christian can’t hang with the Chieftains, what hope do they have of challenging the Bulldogs?
Last week’s record: 11-0 (100%)
Overall record: 27-2 (93.1%)