Carl Albert coach Gary Rose quickly points out how his teams have not dominated District 5A-2.
The Titans, though, have dominated Class 5A, winning more state championships than district titles during the past 15 seasons. They have 10 championships, but Rose can count the number of district titles they have won on one hand.
Welcome to District 5A-2, where winning the district has turned into an old fashioned game of “Trouble.”
Trouble for the teams in the district hoping to survive it, and trouble for those on the outside, who know they'll have to beat one of those teams to earn a state title.
“That tells you that our district's really, really good,” Rose said. “And also speaks to our kids that they don't give up and we keep getting better late in the year.”
Last year, the battle on the game board saw Deer Creek reach the safety of a district title, only to watch Carl Albert rally from a fourth-place district finish to the state championship.
Meanwhile, schools such as Shawnee, McAlester, Tulsa East Central and Lawton MacArthur wait for their turn on the board once the postseason arrives.
Shawnee and East Central have even come away victorious, winning titles in 2003 and 2005. But they have also fallen short, like East Central last season and MacArthur the year before.
Still, Carl Albert and Guthrie have dominated the board in the playoffs, winning 12 of the last 16 titles.
So what makes the district so dominant and often times the favorite to produce the state champion?
“There's something to be said about competition,” Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins said. “Perfect example is that's why I think the SEC is so good. They don't really have down weeks. You have to always get up.”
Last year, Deer Creek, McGuinness, Guthrie and Carl Albert spent part of or the majority of the season in the top 10. This season, they all open in the top five.