After rolling through its 2011 schedule unscathed, Guthrie appeared headed toward coach Rafe Watkins' third state championship in his 11 seasons in Guthrie.
Guthrie won the District 5A-1 title. It won a classic 38-35 game over archrival Carl Albert on Oct. 14, and no one else came close to touching the Bluejays.
But a ruling Thursday by the organization that governs high school sports in Oklahoma erased all that, officially at least.
All because the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association says senior receiver and safety Clint Simek never made a bona fide move from Prague.
So instead of opening the playoffs Friday at Jelsma Stadium against Durant, the Guthrie football team will meet its fate Wednesday at 7300 Broadway Extension against a much tougher opponent — the OSSAA's board of directors.
Looming large over the meeting is a 2005 Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that held the OSSAA, as a voluntary organization, can enforce its rules without court interference short of extraordinary circumstances.
The ultimate outcome affects the makeup of the Class 5A playoffs. While Watkins and Guthrie are preparing for a game against Durant — meeting Saturday to watch game film and scheduling practice for Monday and Tuesday — virtually everyone else in the 5A postseason picture is gearing up for a postseason without the No. 1-ranked team.
Most directly affected is El Reno, which claimed fourth place in its district and a playoff berth by virtue of Guthrie's forfeits and resulting disqualification. And half of the Class 5A playoff's first-round matchups are subject to change pending Wednesday's appeal.
Simek's family moved to Guthrie last February, but his father owns an auto supply store in Prague, where the family home remains for sale. The OSSAA launched an investigation last month after receiving an anonymous letter claiming, among other things, that a Simek family member still lived in the home.