Most intriguing matchup
Class 5A No. 3 Deer Creek (7-0) at No. 1 Guthrie (7-0)
Why bother: Easy — two of the best offenses and two of the best defenses in Class 5A go head-to-head in what will basically be the first game of a three-team round-robin to decide the top-three playoff spots in District 5A-2. Another undefeated team in the district — Bishop McGuinness — will host Guthrie and Deer Creek in the final two weeks. The only time either of these teams have been pushed came in wins over Carl Albert.
The pick: Guthrie 21, Deer Creek 18
Guthrie has plenty of experience in these big games, having won last year's Class 5A title. Deer Creeks had a big victory earlier in the season when it beat Carl Albert after struggling to knock off the top teams in 5A for the past few seasons. But beating Guthrie — especially at The Rock — is a different animal. Guthrie quarterback Bryan Dutton has a knack for finding a way to help his team come out ahead in tight games. Dutton once again works his magic to keep Guthrie's undefeated season intact.
Other top attractions
Class A No. 7 Cashion (7-0) at No. 8 Crescent (7-0)
Plot: For the first time since 2008, the teams enter their matchup undefeated. That season, though, the meeting came in the third week of the season. This one means much more, as the District A-3 title figures to be on the line (Crescent has yet to face Watonga, which has only lost to Cashion in A-3 action).
Starring: Both teams have high-powered offenses. Crescent quarterback Preston Walker has thrown for 1,416 yards and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions while Cashion's T.J. Reasnor has 1,208 yards, 15 touchdowns and just a single interception. Crescent's Michael Cronister has nearly 800 yards rushing. Cashion's T.J. Martin is over the 500-yard mark.
The pick: Crescent 31, Cashion 28
Cashion has owned this series of late, winning in each of the last four years after moving up from eight-man. The game hasn't been decided by less than two touchdowns since the 2008 meeting. So far this season, Crescent has been the more dominant team and it breaks through to end the streak by the skin of its teeth.
Class 4A No. 2 Cascia Hall (7-0) at No. 8 Fort Gibson (7-0)
Plot: No. 2-ranked Cascia Hall has already beaten No. 7 Sallisaw, 42-17 on Sept. 28. So now, No. 8 Fort Gibson appears to be the biggest roadblock into extending its state-best district winning streak into next season. The Commandos have won 50 consecutive district games dating back to Sept. 23, 2005. Fort Gibson has already continued its trend of improving every year since going winless in 2007.
Starring: Both teams start their offense with the ground game, led by Fort Gibson's Jake Gandara with 1,150 yards and 16 touchdowns. Cascia Hall's Abrm McQuarters has 1,081 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The pick: Cascia Hall 35, Fort Gibson 26
Cascia Hall, like fellow 2011 Class 3A finalist Anadarko, has shown little effects from moving up a class this season. The Commandos proved against Sallisaw that they belonged among 4A's elite and will continue that Thursday. Fort Gibson has its best team since the Teddy Lehman era, but the Tigers don't quite have enough to snap Cascia Hall's district streak.