1921: Arbuckle ‘a finished player'
Until he died in 2006 at 102 years old, Dale Arbuckle was the oldest surviving OU football player, and it's a good bet he was the oldest surviving Oklahoman All-Stater at the time, too.
Arbuckle was selected to the 1921 team as a halfback in a competitive year at the position, according to the newspaper, which said he was “a finished player, who has starred against the strongest teams in the state.”
1931: Skelton's second appearance
In 1931, just the 19th year of The Oklahoman's All-State selections, it was incredibly rare for a player to be selected twice, especially considering only 11 players were chosen each year.
But Shawnee's Ed Skelton was among the first “repeaters,” as he was called by sports editor Bus Ham, also referring to him as “the smashing tackle of the Shawnee Wolves.”
Skelton's name hasn't been forgotten in Shawnee. The Wolves still play baseball on Ed Skelton Field.
1941: Not Big Bob
No, that's not a misprint on the 1941 roster, and it's not the person you might be thinking of, either.
Norman's Bob Berry was one of the best backs in the state in 1941, but the more well-known Bob Barry was only 10 years old at the time. He came through Classen a few years later, before going on to his TV and radio career.
Berry was 18 when he was picked for the All-State team, which was in the middle of the pack that year. Among the 44 selected players, ages ranged from 16 to 20.
1951: Litchfield's lost career
Wynnewood tackle and 1951 All-Stater Wayne Litchfield might have had a brilliant career at Oklahoma. In fact, that's where he wanted to play college football.
But he chose SMU when the opportunity to go to OU didn't come.
After Litchfield played in the Oil Bowl following his senior season, OU coach Bud Wilkinson walked onto the field and extended the offer Litchfield had been hoping for.
But being a man of his word, Litchfield turned Wilkinson down, and enrolled at SMU.
Before his freshman season began, he was taking part in a photo shoot with the other players. As was common in those days, Litchfield was asked to lunge at the camera for an action photo.
He landed awkwardly on his shoulder, which he injured severely, and never played another down of football.
Still considered part of the SMU program, Litchfield lived in the Mustang dorms with the likes of Forrest Gregg, Doak Walker and Raymond Berry. He later graduated from the OU law school and raised a family in Oklahoma City. Litchfield lost his battle with multiple sclerosis this summer, when he died at age 78.
1961: Ringer did it all
Pauls Valley's Mike Ringer was named the 1961 Back of the Year, not only for what he did as a quarterback and linebacker.
As Ray Soldan wrote in The Oklahoman, “the 180-pounder possesses great speed, plus everything else demanded of a football player. Ringer scored 12 touchdowns, kicked 14 conversions in 16 tries, passed for four touchdowns, punted for a 37-yard average and was the team's kickoff man. He won the state Class A high hurdles as a sophomore and was second in both hurdles last year.”
1971: Selmon brothers lead the way
A line in The Oklahoman story that accompanied the 1971 All-State team suggested that the roster “does not possess the ‘super stars' of some of the past squads.”
Of course, in 1971, no one was predicting Eufaula's Lee Roy Selmon would eventually be a first-round NFL draft pick and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
OU found a few other stars on the All-State team that year, including Lee Roy's brother, Dewey, Miami's Tinker Owens and Tulsa East Central's Jimbo Elrod.
Muskogee's Bill Littrell, and later his son Seth, played for the Sooners as well.
1981: Cutter was top back
One of three running backs named to the 1981 team, Putnam City West's Mike Cutter was named Back of the Year, in the same season the Patriots' Mike Little was selected as Coach of the Year after leading PC West to a state title.
Oklahoman writer Tim Cowlishaw, now a Dallas Morning News columnist and ESPN personality, wrote that Cutter “might be embarrassed by a lot of running backs in a foot race. He wouldn't win a weightlifting contest, either. But he will win football games.”
Joining Cutter on the team that year was Tulsa Edison running back Spencer Tillman, who played on OU's 1985 championship team and spent eight years in the NFL.
1991: Like father, like son?
While many names on the 1991 team stand out for their accomplishments on the football field in high school and beyond, Shattuck's Dusty Hansen might not be one of them.
Hansen returned 10 kickoffs for touchdowns that year, and was selected as the team's kick returner, though he also starred at quarterback and defensive back.
But could Hansen be in line to join a small group of father-son duos to be named to the All-State team?
His son, Justice Hansen, was one of the top quarterbacks in the state at Edmond Santa Fe this past season. The 2012 All-State team will be announced Dec. 23.
2001: Year of the pass-catchers
The 2001 team stands as one of the best teams for pass-catchers, though the first-team roster had only one wide receiver spot.
That position went to Aaron Ivey of Putnam City North, who went on to play baseball at OU.
The offense had two tight ends, Garrett Mills of Jenks and Derek Fine of Sallisaw, who had standout college careers at Tulsa and Kansas, respectively.
Oklahoma State star D'Juan Woods made the team as a defensive back.
And the most successful of the bunch, Tulsa Washington's Robert Meacham, who is still catching passes in the NFL, made the team as a kick returner.
2011: No repeaters ahead
There won't be any second-time All-State selections on the 2012 team when it comes out.
The 2011 squad included 24 seniors, with Lawton's D.J. Ward checking in as the only junior. Ward was ruled ineligible by the OSSAA after transferring to Douglass, then Southmoore.
The 2011 team had some quick-impact college players, including Kevin Peterson at Oklahoma State and Sterling Shepard at OU.