Round one of the playoffs is in the books and there were some surprises in our area for football fans.
Let’s start off with the big story in the area—HOW ABOUT THEM BLACK DIAMONDS!
The town of Sallisaw is going crazy with Diamond fever after Sallisaw shocked sixth-ranked Cushing with a 35-28 overtime victory in what Brandon Tyler called one of the best playoff wins of his career. And that’s saying a lot given the success that he enjoyed in the playoffs during his time at Vian and Gore. The win continues the Cinderella ride that the Black Diamonds are on after going 1-19 the past two seasons until Tyler appeared on the scene last spring.
The victory boosts them to 7-4 on the year. Quarterback Brock Streun (pictured above) was one of the heroes of the night as he threw a touchdown pass in the final seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime and then another pass for a score in OT. From there the Black Diamond defense finished the upset by forcing a Cushing fumble and then recovered it to end the game as Sallisaw recorded its first road playoff win in over 20 years. Next up for the Black Diamonds will be a trip to number two ranked Blanchard to face the Lions. Is it time for a Safari?
What we considered the top game of the week saw Vian taking on Eufaula as coach Larry Newton Jr. sought his first win in what has become a great rivalry with the Wolverines. But with Masyn Wright (pictured above) back in the quarterback spot after missing a game and half in a controversial suspension, Vian was too much for the Ironheads in a 33-14 win. The Wolverines continue their road tour this week as they play at Adair.
Another surprise team has been the Indians of Sequoyah Tahlequah who knocked off Heavener 30-28. The Indians started the season slow losing their first two games but then Chad Hendricks crew found the way, winning eight of their last nine with the lone loss coming to district champion Prague. Sequoyah Tahlequah has flown under the radar for the most part but are showing they are for real and they’ll get a chance to prove it as they continue their playoff swing this week at #2 ranked and undefeated Kiefer.
Otherwise, things went as expected for most of the other area teams in the playoffs. Top ranked Poteau won easily over Miami 41-13 and will host #4 Newcastle Friday night and second-ranked Wagoner had no problem with Broken Bow 57-7 as defensive end Alex Shieldnight announced his decision to attend OU in 2025 while quarterback Kale Charboneau (pictured above) set a new single season passing record for the Bulldogs. Wagoner will play host to a familiar playoff foe Friday as the third-ranked Tuttle Tigers visit Odom Field. We’ll delve into the history of this rivalry more in our Games of the Week feature on Thursday.
The Gore Pirates are another team that has prospered without a “star” player and as a team beat Fairland 22-14 to continue their playoff journey on the road Friday at Stroud. And in Class B, the Webbers Falls Warriors moved on to the second round of the playoffs as they crushed Welch 64-14 and will travel to Weleetka this coming Friday to test the Outlaws. In battles of the public schools versus the private schools in Class 3A, Stigler and Checotah saw their seasons come to an end against Cascia Hall and Holland Hall respectively. The Panthers fell 32-21 to the Commandos while the Dutch took advantage of four Wildcat turnovers to post a 38-13 win over Checotah.
The second-ranked Muskogee Roughers had the week off to lick their wounds and heal their wounded following their 30-20 loss to Stillwater in the District 6AII-1 championship game and will host Ponca City Friday. The Wildcats are not totally unfamiliar opponents as they were district foes with the Roughers until realignment two years ago. Coach Travis Hill and his staff traveled to Ponca City to watch their playoff game against Putnam City West which the Wildcats won 27-21. “There’s nothing like scouting a team in person despite all the technology available to watch the film,” said Hill. “You get to see things and hear things that you wouldn’t just watching film. We had a good week of practice and gave the kids some time off and now it’s time to go back to work.” The Roughers were hampered in their loss to Stillwater playing without two of their main running backs, Ondraye Beasley who was out on concussion protocol and Israel Martin who was nursing a wrist injury. Both are expected to be back for Friday’s game which we’ll talk more about on Thursday.