It’s’ the second season…time to play big or go home for football teams. And several of our area teams will be involved to start the second season so today on Monday Morning Quarterback we’lll take a look at who’s playing and who we think we’ll survive to the next round.
We’ll start off with Class B where Trent Holt has the Webbers Falls Warriors back in the playoffs. With Maddux Shelby running a prolific offense that has averaged nearly 50 points a game the Warriors are 8-2 for the season with their only stumbles coming against #2 ranked Dewar and Caddo in district play. Webbers Falls will be on the road this week at Welch which is also 8-2 on the season averaging 44 points a game. It’s hard to gauge these kinds of games but it seems to me that District B-5 where the Warriors play is a little tougher than District B-6 where Welch resides. The Warriors are hungry after being early ousted in the first round last year so even though they are on the road, I’m liking the Warriors in this one.
Nick’s Pick: Webbers Falls 34 Welch 28 Bill’s Pick: Webbers Falls 40 Welch 27
Moving to Class A, our local entry is the Gore Pirates who have had a great season under new coach Brandon Ellis despite losing a bunch of talent off last year’s team. The Pirates finished in three-way tie for second place in District A-8 and nabbed the number two spot by a slim two points in the point differential tiebreaker. As a result, they’ll host Fairland, the third-place team in District A-7. The Pirates were rankled a good part of the season but late losses to Central Sallisaw and Panama knocked them out. They still finished 8-2 on the year compared to the 5-5 mark for Fairland. Gore made it to the Class A championship game last year and though I’m not sure they’ve got the horses to get that far this year they should have more than enough to take out Fairland playing at home.
Nick’s Pick: Gore 33 Fairland 20 Bill’s Pick: Gore 27 Fairland 21 (OT)
There are a couple of teams in Class 2A that will have our attention this week. The Vian Wolverines are accustomed to playing deep into the playoffs having gone to the second round the past two years. They got off to a slow start this year as they integrated some new faces into the lineup. But with the development of VYPE TOP 100 player Masyn Wright at quarterback and the emergence of sophomores Riley Ellis and Draighton Fletcher running the ball, it’s propelled the Wolverines to a 6-4 record, though probably a little disappointed after losing last week to Sequoyah Tahlequah which bumped them to third in the district. As a result, they will have to play a familiar foe as they get a rematch at Eufaula. The Wolverines beat Eufaula 35-28 in the season opener so the Ironheads will be hungry for payback this week. Eufaula is also a team that graduated a lot of talent but found the “next man up” this year to grab second place in the district with a 7-3 record, their only other losses coming to seventh-ranked and undefeated Idabel in the season finale last week and a loss to Checotah in the McIntosh County showdown. Vian has owned this series with a 4-1 edge over the past five years but I’m a little concerned about their mental frame after dropping their final two regular season contests and the fact that the Ironheads did win the regular season game this year. This should be a dandy given the already existing rivalry between these teams, but I think the Ironheads have revenge, momentum and Paul Bell Stadium all in their favor so I’m taking the Ironheads in a close one.
Nick’s Pick: Eufaula 21 Vian 18 Bill’s Pick: Vian 22 Eufaula 20
The Class 3A picture had all kinds of twists and turns to get to playoff time. The Checotah Wildcats were pretty much assured of a spot in the playoffs but a convincing win over Stigler last week nailed down the number three spot in the district and a trip to Holland Hall this week. Both teams finished the year at 7-3. The Wildcats were ranked in Class 3A a good part of the season but fell out after losses to district champ Lincoln Christian and then Berryhill late in the year. The Dutch enter the playoffs ranked ninth in the polls and were unbeaten in district play. Both teams lost to Lincoln Christian, but the Wildcats did at least score some points against them while the Dutch got shut out. The combination of Jacob Jones at quarterback and OU commit Elijah Thomas at receiver have served the Wildcats well this year. But I think both will have to big games to win this one. Holland Hall is used to the big stage having gone deep into the playoffs every year since 2017 including back-to-back championships in 2020-21 while being deep in the playoffs has not been so familiar to the Wildcats. So I like the Dutch in this game playing at home. The other area team here is Stigler and the Panthers have had an up and down year. After getting off to a 5-1 start and floating in and out of the Class 3A rankings, the Panthers lost their last three including last week’s showdown with Checotah. So Stigler entered last week in a three-way tie for fourth place in the district with Seminole and Locust Grove. All three lost their regular season finales so it was still a three-way tie, which Stigler ended up winning on point differential. Stigler gets to travel to Cascia Hall this week to face the Commandos who captured the District 3A-4 title. They’re coming into the playoffs on a four game winning streak after being upset by Jay at mid-season for their only district loss. While I’d love to see the Panthers pull this one out, I think the Halls will make a sweep of our area teams in 3A.
Nick’s Picks: Holland Hall 31 Checotah 20 Cascia Hall 28 Stigler 16
Bill’s Picks: Holland Hall 31 Checotah 28 Stigler 28 Cascia Hall 27
In Class 4A Wagoner and Poteau who both won their districts, should have relatively easy wins this week as the Bulldogs will host Broken Bow and the Pirates will host Miami. The other area team in 4A that has our attention is Sallisaw who completed a great turnaround season last week with a shutout win over Madill to nab third place in District 4A-4. Someone recently asked our editors to talk about the surprise team of the season and I have to cast my vote for the job Brandon Tyler has done with the Black Diamonds who were 1-19 the previous two seasons. Sallisaw has to travel to Cushing for this week’s playoff game. The Tigers come in with an 8-2 mark with their only losses coming to then top ranked Wagoner in district play and Perkins-Tryon, number three in Class 3A early in the season. I’m afraid the Cinderella season ends here for the Black Diamonds, but you can bet they’ll go down fighting.
Nick’s Pick: Cushing 36 Sallisaw 16 Bill’s Pick: Cushing 28 Sallisaw 21
And that just leaves 6AII for our area teams where the Muskogee Roughers will have the week off in this year’s unique Class 6A playoff format where six teams qualify for the playoffs with the number one and two teams in each district getting a first-round bye. Muskogee let too many red zone opportunities slip away in their 30-20 loss to Stillwater last week, depriving the Roughers of a district championship. They for sure missed the play of running back Ondraye Beasley in that game but the defense also faltered in the second quarter giving up too many points. The Roughers will play the winner of Ponca City and a familiar possible opponent in Putnam City West in the second round at Rougher Village.