Oklahoma high school football playoff preview: Breaking down each bracket
The Oklahoman's high school writers preview each class for the 2012 Oklahoma high school football playoffs.
The favorite: Tulsa Union
The Redskins have won four consecutive Class 6A titles and six of the last eight. Since dropping a tight game to Owasso in Week 4, Union has rolled with a balanced offense led by quarterback Hunter Atyia.
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Player to watch
Jordan Evans, Norman North
Evans has been everything he was expected to be on defense, holding down the middle for the Timberwolves at linebacker. But recently, Norman North has used Evans as an offensive force as well.
Team to watch: Jenks
It's hard to think of the Trojans as an underdog but after four years of Union dominance, Jenks is in that role. After back-to-back losses to start the season, the Trojans have been dominant. No team in the 6A playoffs is playing better entering the playoffs than Jenks.
Best first-round matchup: Sand Springs at Broken Arrow
The Sandites got out to a hot start, winning their first six games before going 2-4 to end the season. Broken Arrow's season was the opposite, fighting through a 3-3 start to finish in second place in District 6A-2. Does Broken Arrow continue its surge or can Sand Springs regain the magic from the hot start to advance.
Best first-round matchup: Guthrie at Lawton MacArthur
No. 1 for much of the season, defending champ Guthrie goes on the road to face the team it beat in last year's title game.
Player to watch: Stanvon Taylor, Tulsa East Central
The Oklahoma commitment is simply electric, and will make big plays on offense, defense and special teams.
Toughest road: Del City
Claremore or Tulsa Memorial in the second round. Possibly No. 3 McGuinness or No. 4 Tulsa Kelley in the semifinals. But the Eagles have to get through a Mid-Del grudge match against Carl Albert first.
Potential first-round upset
Coweta over Tulsa Kelley. Bubba Burcham's Coweta squad was up-and-down in district play, finishing fourth in 5A-4, but only lost 29-25 to the Comets in Week 3.
The favorite: ????
Perhaps no class is as wide open as 4A, with three undefeated teams and defending champion Wagoner, which only lost to 5A Coweta in the season opener, leading the way. Anadarko and Cascia Hall, teams that met for last year's 3A championship with Anadarko coming out ahead, are among the crowded group of contenders in 4A.
Toughest road: Wagoner
The defending champion Bulldogs would've been the favorite if not for the loss of Kerwin Thomas for the season. Not only does Wagoner face the playoffs without on of their top players but the Bulldogs' road starts with Sallisaw, who was considered a state-title contender before the season, and could include Douglass and Anadarko before even making the title game if Wagoner was able to win. With Lawrence Evitt in the backfield, Wagoner can certainly repeat, but it'll certainly have to earn it.
Best first-round matchup: Broken Bow at Cleveland
Perhaps we learned more about these teams more in losses than in their wins. Broken Bow pushed Cascia Hall to the edge last week before falling, while Cleveland gave Wagoner all it wanted in mid-October. Cleveland lost last week but the game was meaningless in the playoff picture. Cleveland quarterback Chas Stallard has been on of the top passers in 4A this season.
Player to watch: Easton Pingleton, Ada
Well, player to watch other than Evitt, who has more than 2,100 yards rushing this season. Pingleton has been a big reason the Cougars are back in the title hunt once again, with nearly 1,000 yards receiving. Ada quarterback Wyatt Robson has been efficient in getting the ball to Pingleton, who is averaging more than 18 yards per catch.
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