Adding new classifications for Oklahoma schools competing in the OSSAA is nothing new.
Class 6A-II success may prove a valid need for certain classifications to break into smaller groups. Not everyone at the time of the creation of 6A-II agreed, calling it the JV of 6A.
Bixby took advantage of the situation by winning 7 state titles after the creation of 6A-II. Now in 6A-I, the proving grounds of 6A-II seemed to prepare the growing Bixby district for the rigors of 6A-I and the proof is their state title in 2022 over the likes of Owasso, Jenks, Union, and Broken Arrow (or The Big Four).
Booker T. Washington (2017) and Stillwater (2022) each won titles in 6A-II. It was the Hornets first title since 2010, but for Stillwater, it was their first title in 55 years.
Has the success of 6A-II opened the door for more classifications to break up?
Of course it does.
The OSSAA board recently voted in the new districts for the 2024-25 seasons. It includes 12…yes 12 classifications. Which means 12 champions with Class 2A, A, and B splitting.
What does that mean for the smaller classifications? If Bixby is the model, it could mean an easier path to a title for some smaller heavy hitters.
Take Class B for example.
In the last 20 years there have been 10 different champions. Two of those champions moved in or out of Class B to win titles in Class C. I’m talking about Shattuck (11) and Cherokee (2).
Coming into the 2023 season the top ranked teams in Class B are Laverne, Dewar, and Seiling. Both Laverne and Dewar have won the last three state titles in Class B and according to the new districts, they would be in Class B-I with an easier path to a title.
So, who would be the favorite this year in Class B-II?
The heavy hitters for B-II could be Oklahoma Bible, Cherokee, Davenport, and Pond Creek-Hunter. But wait…Okeene would be in B-II. The Whippets move from Class A to B-II. Interesting.
Surely Class A is different.
In the last 20 years of Class A football there have been 14 different champions. Can you say parody?
Splitting Class A will also split the last 20 champions into the two new classes with five (Fairview, Cashion, Stratford, Pawnee, Tonkawa) going to A-I and six (Thomas, Afton, Woodland, Ringling, Wayne, Morrison) going to A-II of those remaining in the classification.
The Class 2A split makes winning 2A look doable. Only 5 teams who have won a 2A title in the last 20 years remain in 2A-I or II. Class 2A former champions now in 2A-I are Millwood, Washington, and OCS. While former 2A champions in 2A-II are Hennessey, and Davis.
Cue the boo birds.
I can hear it now… “everyone gets a trophy” or “these teams aren’t as tough as our team who ran the 2A gauntlet in 2016.”
Maybe there’s some validity to that.
Either way it appears it will happen and when it does, everyone will complain for a season, then they will realize football is football and for the kids who get to raise a gold ball, I say congrats!