Week 5 Picks.tif

Verdigris junior Luke Zaferes shakes himself free of a tackler during the Cardinals’ homecoming game against Jay last Friday night.

Editor’s note: Home teams in ALL CAPS.

Last week’s record: 12-2 (85.7%)

Overall record: 48-5 (90.6%)

It is hard to believe we’re already more than a month into the high school football season.

For some teams, that means the regular season is already halfway over as they prepare for what will be their sixth game. A lot of football has been played, and though the stakes get higher each week in terms of playoff implications, it is somewhat sad thinking about how quickly things are moving along.

As we learn more about each team, we can start identifying some things we saw coming and things that have surprised us.

Verdigris, Collinsville and Lincoln Christian getting off to hot starts is no surprise. Those teams are contenders in their respective classes, and everybody knew that coming into the season.

Owasso is up there with those teams when it comes to expectations, and though it lost a 10-7 overtime heartbreaker to Union last week, a state title is by no means out of the picture.

Chelsea and Inola have captured our attention with their best starts in recent memory, but the biggest surprises, by far, belong to Claremore and Catoosa.

The Zebras have fallen on hard times with their first 0-4 start since 2006, but they are four plays away from being 4-0. Those losses came by a total of 12 points, and Claremore had a late lead in each contest.

Catoosa handed the Zebras one of those four losses and has proven to be vastly improved from last year’s 0-7 squad that scored only 40 points. The Indians are 2-2 and have 59 points to their name.

Both teams have big games, but this week we start in Chelsea as the Green Dragons host Morrison in some Thursday night action.

When you widen the scope from Rogers County and gaze upon results from around the state, Morrison is one of those teams that has surprised, but not in a good way.

The Wildcats entered the season ranked fourth in Class A but have underwhelmed with their 1-3 record. Granted, two of those losses were to Class 2A teams, and they’ve played only one home game.

That is right — this will be Morrison’s fourth-consecutive road game. That’ll take a toll on any team, regardless of whether it is in high school, college or the NFL.

Even after their 1-2, start, though, the Wildcats were expected to get back on track against Class A competition. Instead, they lost to tenth-ranked Tonkawa by double digits, 27-16.

Meanwhile, Chelsea sits atop District A-6 with a 4-1 record — its best start since 2015. However, its opponents’ combined record is 6-15 while Morrison’s is 12-4.

There is something to be said about that, and I put a lot of stock in those numbers. With that in mind, I see the Wildcats overcoming the road blues to win their district opener … Morrison 29, CHELSEA 13

CLAREMORE 33, Memorial 2: Rest easy, Zebra fans. Memorial won’t be spoiling Homecoming come Friday night. Claremore has been unlucky as of late, but the Chargers simply don’t have what it takes to keep that ill-fated streak alive.

BERRYHILL 26, Verdigris 22: I picked Berryhill in my preseason predictions, and though my formula says Verdigris wins, I’m sticking with my original selection. The Chiefs are good, and don’t forget they led the Cardinals until the 1:32 mark of the fourth quarter in the playoffs last year.

It is a close one, but playing at home, Berryhill earns the upset over No. 4 Verdigris.

SEQUOYAH 24, Salina 16: Rob Gilbreath said most of the games remaining on the schedule will be barnburners, and he is correct regarding this matchup.

Sequoyah and Salina appear evenly matched in everything from points per game to results against common opponents, but the Eagles find a way to slip past the Wildcats to improve to 2-0 in District 2A-8.

Claremore Christian 54, CROSS CHRISTIAN 18: The Warriors let one slip away last week, blowing a 28-0 lead in a 36-34 loss to Barnsdall. That will be in the back of their minds as they pummel Cross Christian before heading into a four-week hiatus. Claremore Christian won’t play again until Oct. 29 at Life Christian, so rebounding in emphatic fashion is a must for Steve Robinett’s group.

INOLA 26, Jay 20: Tommy Rogers took one on the chin last week in his first loss as a head coach — a 48-7 decision against Berryhill — but he rights the ship and gets the Longhorns back in the win column against Jay. Expect this one to be close as Inola’s three wins have been decided by a total of nine points.

OOLOGAH 39, Skiatook 32: Neither team has looked particularly impressive on the way to 1-3 records, so this one is a toss-up. I honestly have no idea whether this will be a low- or high-scoring affair, so I’ll go with the latter and hope fans on both sides are treated to a fun game that might even see an overtime period or two.

GROVE 46, Catoosa 16: Catoosa won its past two games in low-scoring slugfests, but Grove has the best offense in Class 4A at 53.8 points per game. The Indians become the second team this season to hold the Ridgerunners under 50 points, but they are ultimately overwhelmed.

OWASSO 45, Norman North 25: The Rams are fuming after suffering a 10-7 overtime loss to Union last week, and they take out their frustrations on a Norman North team that is coming off a 49-48 loss to Mustang. Owasso returns to the offensive juggernaut it is, sending a statement to the rest of District 6A-I-2.

REJOICE CHRISTIAN 52, Kansas 12: Rejoice Christian scores loads of points — 45 points per game, to be exact — which is a quality Kansas lacks. The Eagles cruise, using this game as a tune-up for their showdown with Sequoyah next week.

PRYOR 28, Glenpool 21: Glenpool is flying high after a thrilling victory over Claremore, but Pryor proved it belongs in the discussion as a district frontrunner after handling Tahlequah 31-14 on the road.

Collinsville 42, SAPULPA 27: In his first true test as starting quarterback, Kaden Rush leads Collinsville past a pesky Sapulpa team looking to make a splash in its second year of Class 5A action. The squads have a common opponent in Bartlesville, with the Cardinals winning by 35 (42-7) while the Chieftains claimed a 20-point victory (34-14).

LINCOLN CHRISTIAN 63, Locust Grove 6: The Pirates put up little fight against the vastly superior Lincoln Christian. I don’t pick shutouts, but the Bulldogs could easily walk away with their second skunk in as many weeks.

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