At this point in the high school football season, the direction that most teams are going is abundantly clear — much to the joy of some fans and the heartbreak of others.
Edmond Memorial, for example, is 0-4. But Memorial is well ahead of most public high schools in another and ultimately more important measure of success. The school has 10 students among the more than 200 Oklahoma kids who are semifinalists for National Merit Scholarships, a total that includes private schools and homeschoolers.
Less than 1 percent of high school students nationally qualify for National Merit Scholarships, a program that will reward good students with more than $30 million in scholarship money next spring.
Its football fortunes may be lower this year, but Memorial has more semifinalists than the much larger Union and Jenks high schools, one of which usually wins the state Class 6A football championship each year. The three Edmond high schools (Memorial, North and Santa Fe) have a combined 16 National Merit semi-finalists, compared with eight at Union and nine at Jenks. No other Class 6A schools come close.
Among private schools, Tulsa's Bishop Kelly (2-2 in football so far this year) has an incredible 14 students on the list. That's topped only by the 16 at the public Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, which doesn't field a football team.
The point of this is to say that even as September turns to October, football is far from being the only way to judge the success of high schools. In fact it's far from the best way. What the students do in the classroom has that distinction.
Memorial's Bulldogs aren't winning on the gridiron but some Memorial students are doggedly determined nevertheless. We congratulate them and the other Oklahoma high school students — public, private and homeschooled — who are excelling in academics.