BY RYAN ABER
In the six days now since the news broke that Guthrie would have to forfeit eight games, I’ve had discussions with plenty of people–coworkers, other high school writers, coaches–about how I would handle the Bluejays in the Class 5A rankings.
Before the ruling came down, Guthrie was No. 1. I left them No. 1 this week and imagine, barring something wild happening in the first round (assuming Guthrie isn’t reinstated), they’ll stay there next week. That will be my last rankings until after the playoffs are concluded.
It’s not a protest vote. Far from it. I considered what I’d seen from Guthrie this year and even with the exclusion of the player ruled ineligible, the Bluejays would not only be undefeated but would still be my pick to win 5A. Their defense is outstanding, especially in the front seven. Their offense is balanced and they get excellent play from the quarterback spot.
Not everyone agreed with that stance, though many did. In The Associated Press poll of writers and broadcasters, just two of eight voters left Guthrie off their ballots. The other six voted the Bluejays No. 1. Barry Lewis from the Tulsa World also left Guthrie atop Class 5A.
Here’s the complete top 10 in 5A:
1. Guthrie (1)#2-8*
2. Lawton MacArthur (2)#10-0
3. McAlester (3)#10-0
4. Carl Albert (4)#10-0*
5. Tulsa Kelley (5)#7-2
6. Tulsa East Central (7)#9-1
7. Pryor (6)#8-2
8. Coweta (9)#6-4
9. Duncan (NR)#7-3
10. Tulsa Central (NR)#8-2
*Guthrie forfeited eight games, including win over Carl Albert, pending Wednesday appeal.
Had I dropped Guthrie out and needed another team to fill my top 10, I would’ve gone with Ardmore (6-4) over Ada (7-3). That decision would’ve been easy. Not only did Ardmore beat Ada head to head, 28-0, on the road to start the season but they played Carl Albert and McAlester much closer than Ada did.