Most intriguing matchup
Class 6A No. 1 Tulsa Union vs. No. 3 Jenks
Why bother: Anybody who has followed Oklahoma high school football for any length of time knows. This is the biggest regular-season game of the year period and has been for coming up on two decades. The teams have combined to win the last 16 Class 6A state championships and both figure to be in the hunt once again. The teams regularly meet twice, like last season when Union beat the Trojans by one in the semifinals. The winner of the regular-season game, though, isn't necessarily the team that wins come playoff time.
The pick: Tulsa Union 34, Jenks 28
Jenks' offense is explosive, especially with running back Trey'vonne Barr'e and wide receiver Jordan Smallwood, an OU commit. But the Redskins are tough all around. They were a young team overall last year when they won their fourth consecutive gold ball, but with experienced players like Blake Mejia, Chris Hall and Dalton Rodriguez all over the field, Union has the advantage as they start their quest for five consecutive titles.
Other top attractions
Class 4A No. 3 Douglass at Class 6A No. 13 Tulsa Washington
Plot: One of the biggest rivalries in the state comes back after being dormant for a decade. Even with the difference in the schools' sizes now, this still should be an excellent game. Some of the luster might've been taken off with the departure of D.J. Ward from Douglass on Thursday, but the game still features at least three of the top players in the state.
Starring: A lot of people were fired up to watch Ward face the stiffest competition up front he figured to see all year at Douglass. But the Hornets will still have to deal with junior defensive end Deondre Clark up front. Tulsa Washington also has a heck of a defensive end in Dominique Alexander, who is committed to Arkansas as a safety. James Caligone is also one of the most explosive cornerbacks in the state.
The pick: Tulsa Washington 20, Douglass 14
Eventually, the differences between a Class 6A opponent and one in 4A will shine through. The Hornets' depth advantage will wear down the Trojans in the end as Washington takes the first game in the reignited series.
Class 5A No. 3 Tulsa East Central at No. 11 Del City
Plot: Tulsa East Central emerges from its offseason of turmoil with new head coach Bobby Klinck. The Cardinals have had three head coaches since the end of last season. They also come in as one of the favorites in Class 5A. Del City drops to 5A after going 1-9 last season. But the Eagles bring back a talented corps and are expected to compete for at least a playoff spot, if not more.
Starring: East Central features OU commit Stanvon Taylor in the secondary and one of the top linebackers in the state in Kimmie Carson. Del City has plenty of star power of its own, headlined by Corey Lawrence, who can play several different roles. His speed figures to be a big part of Del City's offense, while center Jake Warehime is a force in the middle of the offensive line.
The pick: Tulsa East Central 21, Del City 13
Del City is going to be much, MUCH better than last season, but their early schedule is absolutely brutal. The Eagles hang with East Central early before the Cardinals pull away to give Klinck his first win as a head coach.