Considering the winner will only advance to the quarterfinals, it seems a little early for a state championship-caliber matchup in the Class 3A playoffs.
But Kingfisher hosts Tuttle on Friday night, not only pairing two of the area's powerhouse programs, but also teams that were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, most of the season.
While Tuttle (10-1) is battle-tested, coming out of one of 3A's toughest districts with Jones and Blanchard, Kingfisher (11-0) has been able to cruise. The Yellowjackets haven't played a game closer than 43 points since late September, and they've been pushed to the brink of defeat only once, a 21-20 win over Hennessey in Week 3.
“It's been a weird season, just because we haven't been in many knockdown dragouts, like we're used to,” Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers said. “You think if you win your district, you'll be rewarded, but now we have probably the toughest road to state.”
Friday's winner will get Berryhill or district champ Stigler in the next round, with a team like Seminole or Metro Christian waiting in the semifinals.
The Kingfisher defense has held nine of 11 opponents to six points or fewer, with seven shutouts, but it will be charged with trying to contain Tuttle's Jesse Gregory, one of the hottest running backs over the last few weeks.
Kingfisher counters with its own strong running game, anchored by running back Landon Nault and quarterback Grant Newton.
“We've had the luxury of not having to use those two guys on the defensive side of the ball, so now they're fresh,” Myers said. “They're both seeing success because of who's up front. Our offensive line is as good as we've had in our eight years here, and that's saying a lot.”