There's no doubt that having Norman North travel more than 125 miles while Owasso will travel less than 20 to play Friday night's semifinal game between the two at Tulsa Union isn't completely neutral.
But Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association rules made clear long before this issue arose that the game would be played in the Tulsa area.
“In an even-numbered calendar year, the best available site on the east side of the state will be selected. In an odd-numbered calendar year, the best available site on the west side will be selected,” the OSSAA rule says regarding semifinals and finals in 6A and 5A.
The rule has been in place since 2004.
In 2009, Jenks traveled to play Southmoore at Putnam City, and in 2007 the Trojans played Midwest City at Edmond's Wantland Stadium.
In 2008, Union played Midwest City at Sand Springs and Jenks played Mustang at Broken Arrow.
HENNESSEY, VIAN READY FOR REMATCH
This week's Hennessey-Vian quarterfinal clash is the most anticipated matchup in Class 2A since the playoff bracket was released.
It could be compared to a Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali title bout, round two.
“I know Vian has been looking forward to it ever since we played them in the third round last year at our place,” Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen said.
Hennessey won that game, 18-7, on its way to a second straight state championship.
This year's game at Vian will feature the No. 1 team in the state, and the club most pundits pick to win the title, against the two-time defending state champions.
“It's the same scenario as last year,” Luetjen said. “We knew that was going to be a very physical football game between two teams that were real similar. We expect the same thing this week.
“It's going to be a fistfight from the start. Whoever can stand it the longest is probably going to be who comes out on top.”
Vian (12-0) has crushed its opponents this season but hasn't faced anyone as good as Hennessey (10-2).
The Eagles will rely heavily on running back Levi Hill, who rushed for 283 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in Hennessey's 56-21 win over Washington Friday night.
Luetjen expects Hill to get the same amount of carries or more against the punishing Vian defense.
“He is our guy,” Luetjen said. “He knows it's his time to step up.”
Luetjen said the town of Hennessey has been waiting for this game, too.
“They know how big it is,” he said. “The town of Hennessey will be empty that night.”
CASHION, TEXHOMA, COMMERCE HIT THE ROAD
Cashion has a long haul this week for the Class A quarterfinals.
After starting the playoffs with back-to-back home games, the Wildcats will travel 212 miles to Talihina in the third round.
Cashion would've been at home had Warner, which entered Friday's game against Talihina undefeated, beaten the Golden Tigers and advanced.
As long as Cashion's trip is, though, it's not even close to the longest trip this week in Classes 3A-A.
Texhoma, located in the panhandle nearly straight north of Amarillo, Texas, travels to Elmore City-Pernell this week. Elmore City gets to host after winning back-to-back road games as the fourth seed from District A-5.
The other 300-plus mile road trip belongs to Commerce, which must travel 328 miles to play undefeated Frederick.
The shortest trip in the classes goes to Stroud, which will travel less than 50 miles to play at Oklahoma Christian School.
TALIHINA PASSING GAME PICKING UP
The Cashion defense will have to be prepared to defend the pass in its quarterfinal matchup at Talihina on Friday night, though that hasn't always been the case for Tiger opponents.
Talihina attempted 10 passes or fewer in six of its first eight games, but is averaging nearly 20 throws per game in the last four, including a couple of 200-yard passing performances by Clark Austin.
The senior quarterback has thrown for more than 1,400 yards and is completing 66 percent of his pass attempts. He is also the team's leading rusher with more than 1,200 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Austin threw for 109 yards and rushed for 108 and two touchdowns in Friday night's second-round win over Warner.