Thomas Terriers football
|11 - 1||7 - 1||4 - 0||.917||439||121|
|2012-08-31||@||Alva||W||28 - 14|
|2012-09-07||vs||Okeene||W||26 - 6|
|2012-09-14||vs||Carnegie||W||41 - 8|
|2012-09-21||@||Burns Flat-Dill City||W||35 - 7|
|2012-09-28||@||Apache||W||42 - 6|
|2012-10-05||vs||Sayre||W||57 - 0|
|2012-10-12||vs||Hollis||W||21 - 14|
|2012-10-18||@||Cordell||W||34 - 0|
|2012-10-26||vs||Snyder||W||42 - 12|
|2012-11-09||vs||Hooker||W||37 - 6|
|2012-11-16||vs||Velma-Alma||W||55 - 6|
|2012-11-23||vs||Wynnewood||L||21 - 42|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
Thomas football News
NewsOK articles about Thomas football, or articles mentioning current or former Thomas football players.
Thomas High School Varsity Boys Football
FRIDAY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Davis vs. Nowata, FSPLUS (Cox 68) 7 p.m., Thomas vs. Cashion, KRXO-FM 107.7 BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL 5:30 p.m., Bishop O’Dowd at Montverde, ESPN2 (Cox 28) NBA 6 p.m., Portland at Chicago, ESPN (Cox 29) 7 p.m., OKC at Minnesota, FSOK (Cox 37)/WWLS-AM 640/98.1 FM 8:30 p.m., L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, ESPN (Cox 29) COLLEGE FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Chattanooga vs. N....
Sports TV listings for Friday, Dec. 12-Sunday, Dec. 14
Dec 11, 2014FRIDAY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Davis vs. Nowata, FSPLUS (Cox 68) 7 p.m., Thomas vs. Cashion, KRXO-FM 107.7 BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL 5:30 p.m., Bishop O’Dowd at Montverde, ESPN2 (Cox 28) NBA 6 p.m., Portland at Chicago, ESPN (Cox 29) 7 p.m., OKC at Minnesota, FSOK (Cox 37)/WWLS-AM 640/98.1 FM 8:30 p.m., L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, ESPN (Cox 29) COLLEGE FOOTBALL 7 p.m., Chattanooga vs. N. Hampshire, ESPN2 (Cox 28) MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 6 p.m., Texas Southern at Florida, SECN (Cox 275) WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 8 p.m., M. Tenn. St. at Kentucky, SECN (Cox 275) AHL 7 p.m., Grand Rapids at OKC, KXXY-FM 96.1 GOLF 6:30 a.m., Alfred Dunhill, GOLF (Cox 60) Noon, Franklin Templeton, GOLF (Cox 60) 7 p.m., Australian PGA, GOLF (Cox 60) 12 a.m., Sat. Thailand Golf, GOLF (Cox 60) RODEO 9 p.m., NFR, CBSS (Cox 249) MEN’S SOCCER 4 p.m., UMBC vs. Virginia, ESPNU (Cox 253) 6:30 p.m., Providence vs. UCLA, ESPNU (Cox 253) HOCKEY 6:30 p.m., Sarnia at. Kitchener, NHLNET (Cox 263) VOLLEYBALL 8:30 p.m., Nebraska at Washington, ESPNU (Cox 253) SATURDAY NBA 9 p.m., Detroit at Sacramento, NBATV (Cox 256) NHL 6 p.m., Detroit at Toronto, NHLNET (Cox 263) 7:30 p.m., New Jersey at Dallas, FSOK (Cox 37) 9 p.m., St. Louis at Colorado, NHLNET (Cox 263) COLLEGE FOOTBALL 11 a.m., C. Carolina vs. N. Dak. St., ESPN (Cox 29) 2 p.m., Army vs. Navy, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) 7 p.m., Heisman Presentation, ESPN (Cox 29) MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 11 a.m., Wichita State at Detroit, ESPNU (Cox 253) 11 a.m., N. Carolina at Kentucky, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) 11 a.m., Stony Brook at Providence, FSOK (Cox 37) 11 a.m., Radford at Georgetown, FS1 (Cox 67) 1 p.m., Dayton at Arkansas, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 1 p.m., St. Bonaventure at Pitt., ESPNU (Cox 253) 1 p.m., St. Mary’s, at Creighton, FS1 (Cox 67) 1:30 p.m., Oklahoma at Tulsa, CBSS (Cox 249)/KRXO-FM 107.7/KRMG-AM 740 2:15 p.m., Utah vs. Kansas, ESPN (Cox 29) 3 p.m., Xavier at Missouri, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 3:30 p.m., W. Kentucky at Mississippi, SECN (Cox 275) 4:15 p.m., Michigan at Arizona, ESPN (Cox 29) 5 p.m., Oklahoma St. at Memphis, ESPN2 (Cox 28)/KXXY-FM 96.1 6 p.m., Sam Houston St. at LSU, SECN (Cox 275) 6 p.m., Northern Iowa at VCU, NBCSN (Cox 251) 7 p.m., Texas State at Texas, LHN (Cox 274) 7 p.m., Florida St. at Notre Dame, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 8 p.m., Purdue at Vanderbilt, SECN (Cox 275) 9 p.m., Gonzaga at UCLA, ESPN2 (Cox 28) RODEO 9 p.m., NFR, CBSS (Cox 249) MEN’S SOCCER 9 a.m., English Premier, NBCSN (Cox 251) 11:30 a.m., Arsenal FC vs. Newcastle U., NBCSN (Cox 251) VOLLEYBALL 3 p.m., NCAA Regional, ESPNU (Cox 253) 5:30 p.m., NCAA Regional, ESPNU (Cox 253) 8 p.m., NCAA Regional, ESPNU (Cox 253) 10:30 p.m., NCAA Regional, ESPNU (Cox 253) AHL 7 p.m., Grand Rapids at OKC, KGHM-AM 1340 GOLF 4:30 a.m., Alfred Dunhill, GOLF (Cox 60) Noon, Franklin Templeton, KOKH-25 (Cox 12) 1 p.m., Father/Son Challenge, GOLF (Cox 60) 2 p.m., Father/Son Challenge, KFOR-4 (Cox 4) 7 p.m., Australian PGA, GOLF (Cox 60) DEW TOUR Noon, Breckenridge, KFOR-4 (Cox 4) FOOTBALL 11 a.m., Pop Warner, ESPN2 (Cox 28) SUNDAY NFL Noon, Oakland at Kansas City, KGHM-AM 1340 Noon, Miami at New England, KWTV-9 (Cox 10) Noon, Green Bay at Buffalo, KRXO-FM 107.7 Noon, Cincinnati at Cleveland, KOKH-25 (Cox 12) 3:25 p.m., San Francisco at Seattle, KOKH-25 (Cox 12) 7:20 p.m., Dallas at Philadelphia, KFOR-4 (Cox 4)/KGHM-AM 1340 NBA 6 p.m., Phoenix at OKC, FSOK (Cox 37)/WWLS-AM 640/98.1 FM MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL 11 a.m., St. Peter’s at Seton Hall, FS1 (Cox 67) 1 p.m., Butler at Tennessee, ESPNU (Cox 253) 1 p.m., Prairie V.A.M at Texas T., FSOK (Cox 37) 1 p.m., Temple at Villanova, FS1 (Cox 67) 3 p.m., Jacksonville at Florida, FSOK (Cox 37) 3 p.m., La. Tech at Syracuse, ESPNU (Cox 253) 3 p.m., Illinois St. at DePaul, FS1 (Cox 67) 5 p.m., Savannah St. at Kansas St., FSPLUS (Cox 68) 5 p.m., UNC Wilmington at Louisville, ESPNU (Cox 253) 7 p.m., Oakland at Michigan St., ESPNU (Cox 253) WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL Noon, Mercer at Alabama, SECN (Cox 275) 2 p.m., NW State at Texas, LHN (Cox 274) 2 p.m., Tennessee at Rutgers, ESPN2 (Cox 28) 2 p.m., Stephen F.A at Baylor, FSPLUS (Cox 68) 4 p.m., Oklahoma at Ark.-L.R., KREF-AM 1400/98.5 FM/KOKC-AM 1520/103.1 FM 5 p.m., Belmont at Kentucky, SECN (Cox 275) GOLF 4:30 a.m., Alfred Dunhill, GOLF (Cox 60) 1 p.m., Father/Son Challenge, GOLF (Cox 60) 2 p.m., Father/Son Challenge, KFOR-4 (Cox 4) COLLEGE FOOTBALL 7:30 p.m., Bowl Mania, ESPN (Cox 29) MEN’S SOCCER 11 a.m., NCAA Final, ESPNU (Cox 253) DEW TOUR Noon, Breckenridge, KFOR-4 (Cox 4)
The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright predicts the score of the Class 2A and A championships and the Class 3A semifinals.
Oklahoma high school football Week 5 playoff picks
Dec 11, 2014Every week, The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week’s record: 5-6 (45.5 pct.) Overall record: 1,573-350 (81.8 pct.) All games at 7 p.m. Friday Championships Class 2A at Stillwater Davis 34, Nowata 28 Class A at Enid Cashion 35, Thomas 31 Semifinals Class 3A at Sapulpa Heritage Hall 28, Locust Grove 24 *All games at neutral sites
Dec 11, 2014
More than 20 alumni and current students have spent their evenings this week practicing in the school’s auditorium for a return performance some would say is long overdue.
Friday Night Lights: Cashion will strike up the band once more
By Jacob Unruh | Dec 11, 2014CASHION — Amber Meek nearly gave her trumpet away as recently as a few weeks ago. She hadn’t played it since graduating from Cashion in 2006, but for some reason she held on to the instrument. A smart move considering Meek and more than 20 alumni and current students have spent their evenings this week practicing in the school’s auditorium for a return performance some would say is long overdue. There were saxophones. There were trumpets. There were drums. There were trombones. It was a familiar and beautiful sound for those involved since Cashion’s music program was the victim of budget cuts nearly four years ago. “We haven’t had a band here in so, so long, which really breaks my heart because back when I went to school you were cool if you were in band,” said Meek, a 2006 graduate. “It was sad that they cut it off anyway, so the fact they’re allowing us to do it is really, really neat I think.” The band’s reformation to offer support for Friday’s Class A championship game between the Wildcats and top-ranked Thomas in Enid is a display of the tightness in the small community, but also a sign of unity to bring back a staple of high school football. “That’s why small towns are great,” Cashion football coach Lynn Shackelford said. “The school’s a big deal, the football team’s a big deal and success is fun, everybody wants to be a part of it. I think it’s great and our kids think it’s great. I’m excited for those people that are excited they’re going to be part of the game.” Cashion has won three state championships at the eight-man level, the last one coming in 1981. This could be the first in 11-man, but fourth with a band blasting the school fight song “Washington and Lee Swing.” The band might not stop with this game, however. First-year Cashion superintendent Sammy Jackson said he intends to bring the music program back, even if it takes baby steps that include an after-school program. “I personally think it’s a great idea because it doesn’t let the memory of the band die away and we don’t want it to die away,” he said. “We’re going to work really hard to get the program back in our school because we think it’s very important. Hopefully, it will help our resurgence of the program.” The idea of reforming the band started over the weekend and it was nearly complete in an hour. Cashion High School secretary Jamie West quickly became the school sponsor. That was relatively easy considering the school still owns instruments and music that could be loaned to alumni. Alumnus Tyler Persechino quickly became the key to the puzzle. A student at Oklahoma State University, Persechino was a member of the Cashion band during high school before it was cut following his junior year in 2011. He directed a volunteer band his senior year, but when he graduated it completely fell apart. Leading the band this week brings back some fun and bitter memories, but he’ll do whatever it takes to help bring back the music program he loved. “It’s more of alumni, everybody coming together and doing something they love,” Persechino said. “That’s what I’m so excited about. “I think that’s what this is going to help do. I think people are excited about the music program; it’s going to show we are capable of doing something great and I think it’s going to help kick-start the program again.” In Wednesday’s practice, 20 people attended, including graduates as far back as 1991, transplanted community members and current students who were finally getting their chance to experience a pep band. It was only expected to grow Thursday night among the community. “It’s good to finally get a chance to play with some sort of band,” junior Travis West said. “The last year they had it we had five people. It’s good to finally be able to have one of the big performances instead of the five people.” The hope is the band will return the normal game-time experience back to the game, boosting the atmosphere and excitement around the community. Normally, the Cashion cheerleaders lead the crowd in the fight song after each touchdown, an option that doesn’t necessarily bring much fanfare. Friday’s band will feature the fight song along with a short version of it for big plays and first downs. There’s also the possibility of a few other songs mixed in. “Whenever you have the football team out there and they make a touchdown and then you hear the cheerleader sing the fight song, there’s not a lot of noise going on,” Persechino said. “I think this is going to get people really excited. We’re going to play the fight song loud and proud for our football players.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Shane Conlan played high school football in western New York on teams with some linemen who weighed 140 pounds.He was discovered by longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who decided to offer the 170-pound kid from Frewsburg a scholarship after watching him play basketball.Conlan proved he belonged at his first college practice, and Bradley's faith in him was...
Conlan, Thomas inducted into College Hall of Fame
By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press | Dec 9, 2014NEW YORK (AP) — Shane Conlan played high school football in western New York on teams with some linemen who weighed 140 pounds. He was discovered by longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who decided to offer the 170-pound kid from Frewsburg a scholarship after watching him play basketball. Conlan proved he belonged at his first college practice, and Bradley's faith in him was rewarded. "I was doing one-on-one drills against the starting tight end and I did really well," Conlan said. The former All-America linebacker who helped the Nittany Lions win their last national title is part of a class of 14 former players and two coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The group of honorees at the National Football Foundation awards banquet included: North Carolina cornerback Dre Bly; Southern California offensive tackle Tony Boselli; Purdue defensive tackle Dave Butz; Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton; Maine linebacker John Huard; Stanford halfback Darrin Nelson; Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Willie Roaf; South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe; McNeese State cornerback Leonard Smith; TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson; Mississippi tight end Wesley Walls; and the late Derrick Thomas, who dominated at linebacker for Alabama. "I know that big smile is smiling down on us today," said Thomas' mother, Edith Morgan, who represented him a morning news conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Thomas had 27 sacks and won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker in 1988 before going on to a successful NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was paralyzed in an automobile wreck in 2000 and died from complications about a month later. He was 33. Conlan was also one of the most dominant linebackers of the 1980s. He had two interceptions in his final college game as Penn State upset Miami 14-10 in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national title. "I guess (Miami quarterback) Vinny (Testaverde) threw it to the wrong guy," said Conlan, who played nine NFL seasons, most of them with the Buffalo Bills. Conlan thanked Bradley, who is now a defensive assistant at West Virginia after spending 35 years at Penn State as a player and coach under Joe Paterno. Bradley said he had to convince Paterno to give Conlan one of the last scholarships Penn State had available that year. "Tom found me," Conlan said. "I owe him everything." The coaches being inducted were Jerry Moore, who won I-AA national titles at Appalachian State and led the Mountaineers to an upset against Michigan in 2007, and Mike Bellotti, the winningest coach in Oregon history.
Dec 8, 2014
This season, and particularly this week in the Class A championship game, the Wildcats are looking to remind everyone that reputations can change.
High school football: High-scoring Cashion team wants to be known for defense, too
By Scott Wright | Dec 8, 2014CASHION — Cashion football coaches and players know they’ve gained a reputation as a team with a high-powered offense, hoping to win games in shootout fashion. This season, and particularly this week in the Class A championship game, the Wildcats are looking to remind everyone that reputations can change. “In the past, we’ve been known as a finesse team, and we absolutely hate that,” defensive end Kaleb George said. “We’re pretty tough kids and when we get out here on the football field, we like to go fight. We like to deliver the first blow and take it to everybody.” Cashion faces a tough Thomas squad in the Class A final at 7 p.m. Friday at Enid High School. The offense is as dangerous as ever, averaging 50.0 points while helping lead the Wildcats to a 14-0 record. But the defense is playing with a different mindset this season, and is a big reason the Wildcats are in the state finals for the first time at the 11-man level. The Cashion defense came up with several big plays in the 48-32 win over Talihina in the semifinals last Friday. And while giving up 32 points might not sound like great defense, it was only the second time all year Talihina’s powerful offense had been held below 46. “A big focus for us every year is getting our defense to play at the same level our offense does,” Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford said. “One way to do that is to play a physical style of ball. If we’re going to have a chance to win a state title, our defense will have to play well.” Shackelford credits defensive coordinator Tony Woods for emphasizing the new mental approach this season, and using a versatile lineup effectively. “We’ve got the mix of what it takes to have a good defense,” Shackelford said. “We have guys on the edge who are fast and can rush the passer. We have big guys in the middle who can let our linebackers run free. “Coach Woods has done a good job of getting through to the kids that defense is fun and defense is important. It used to be, ‘Let’s just get the ball back.’ Now the kids take pride in it.”
The Class 2A and A championships will be played Friday. The Class 3A semifinal has yet to be determined because of the Douglass-Locust Grove controversy.
Oklahoma high school football Week 5 playoff schedule
Dec 7, 2014Championships Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Class 2A At Stillwater H.S. Friday, 7 p.m. Davis (14-0) vs. Nowata (14-0) Class A At Enid H.S. Friday, 7 p.m. Thomas (14-0) vs. Cashion (13-0)
Dec 6, 2014
Mateen Cleaves now works as an in-studio analyst on Pistons coverage for Fox Sports Detroit, and serves as a co-host for Sirius XM radio and a college basketball analyst for CBS Sports Network.
Collected Wisdom: Mateen Cleaves, former Michigan State and NBA player and in-studio analyst
Interviewed by Darnell Mayberry, email@example.com | Dec 6, 2014Mateen Cleaves grew up 66 miles northwest of Detroit, in the industrial and no-nonsense city of Flint, Michigan. A McDonald’s High School All-American, Cleaves went on to lead Michigan State to the 2000 national championship. He is the school’s only three-time All-American. Cleaves was the 14th overall pick by Detroit in the 2000 NBA Draft and had stints with Sacramento, Cleveland and Seattle. Cleaves now works as an in-studio analyst on Pistons coverage for Fox Sports Detroit, and serves as a co-host for Sirius XM radio and a college basketball analyst for CBS Sports Network. Growing up in Flint, it was tough because it’s a tough area. But growing up in Flint made me who I am. It’s a hard-working town. Having that attitude, I think that’s what helped me in sports; being a competitor. Always not wanting to lose and having to fight for everything that I wanted. It was very competitive. Growing up in Flint, all we had, we didn’t have much here but it was sports. We took our sports serious. That’s just the attitude. We’re very prideful people. To be a Flintstone, that means you’re a hard worker. You’re a competitor. You fear nobody. We’re not going to back down from nobody. I was blessed to have two parents that kept me on the straight and narrow path. And I was the youngest of five siblings. So my big brothers and sister definitely helped me. I benefited from being the youngest child. I always ran up under my brothers. When they went to the park to play ball, I was right behind them. In the backyard, whether it was football or basketball, I always ran up under my brothers. I always played against older guys. And then when I was playing against people my age, I was a little more advanced because my brothers kept me ahead of the game. My role models coming up, guys I looked up to were Isiah Thomas because he was the leader of the Bad Boys. I benefited from watching them play every night. Magic Johnson because he is from Michigan. I always tried to keep up with him. And Steve Smith. I took a liking to him. He was one of my favorites. So I probably had three. My oldest brother Keith taught me how to play. He’s much older than me. He came back from the military and he would make us jog through the city and run and do pull-ups and exercise at the parks. He always took us out and made us play against grown men. A.J. Guyton at Indiana always made me better. He was a tough guard. He was a very talented player. I knew I had to bring it anytime I went up against him. My best teammate I probably ever had was Chris Webber. That was in Sacramento. Not only was he so talented and made the game easier for everybody else, but also who he was as a person. He was a hard worker and a humble guy. He treated everybody like he wanted to be treated. That lets you know how special he is to me because I don’t hang out with Wolverines like that. Every time people see us together they look at us like, ‘What are you guys doing together?’ But that’s like my big brother. He was in my wedding, and I was in his. The friendship goes beyond basketball. Tom Izzo, to me, is priceless. Great coach. A better person. Along with my mom and dad, he helped mold me into a good person and instilled values in me that are helping me right now as a 37-year-old man. If I got any regrets, it’s probably not getting the playing time that I wanted in the NBA. The business part of the league, I don’t care for. You grow up playing basketball in parks and it’s fun. But sometimes when you get to the NBA and it can be political and it can be a business. I’m not bitter about it, but I do understand it. The game has changed. I was more of a throwback, a pass-first guy. I think it started really changing with Allen Iverson. I think we had the last of the dying breed with Jason Kidd. We got Chris Paul, and he might be the closest thing to it. But he can go out and get 25 (points) if he has to. But I think that pass-first point guard, Jason Kidd might have been the last of a dying breed on that note. I sat in every seat. I’ve been the best player on a team. I’ve been a role player on a team. I’ve been the guy not playing on the team. I’ve been cut from teams. So now, being a broadcaster I can relate to any guy on that team. I’ve always been a people person that likes to talk anyway. So doing broadcasting and doing radio has been pretty much an easy transition for me.
Dec 5, 2014
NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) — The nation's first high school sports governing body to face a class-action concussions lawsuit warned Friday that the legal action could result in wealthier schools keeping their football programs and cash-strapped ones eliminating them.Court-imposed policies, such as mandating physicians be present at all practices, could be prohibitively costly to many cash-strapped...
IHSA: Suit could create 'have,' 'have-not' schools
By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press | Dec 5, 2014NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) — The nation's first high school sports governing body to face a class-action concussions lawsuit warned Friday that the legal action could result in wealthier schools keeping their football programs and cash-strapped ones eliminating them. Court-imposed policies, such as mandating physicians be present at all practices, could be prohibitively costly to many cash-strapped schools, especially Chicago's public high schools, Illinois High School Association Director Marty Hickman told a Friday news conference. "If you are going to do that what you are going to have is some very poor, depressed areas that are going to eliminate football," he said. "The haves are going to continue to have it and the have-nots are not going to have it." The IHSA and schools have been proactive on the issue, Hickman said, pointing to 22,000 coaches in football and other sports have taken an IHSA course on concussions after a new Illinois law mandated it. "It's not that we've been sitting on our hands," he said. Former star high-school quarterback Daniel Bukal sued in Cook County Circuit Court on Saturday. He alleges the IHSA failed to protect him from concussions he suffered when he played at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles and still doesn't do enough to protect the 50,000 high-school athletes in Illinois. While Bukal says he suffers from lingering effects from the concussions, including memory loss, he isn't seeking damages. Instead, he asks a judge to order the IHSA to force its 800-member schools to implement policies that go beyond the requirements of the state's head-injury law. Head injury lawsuits against the NFL and NCAA led to proposed settlements, but high school litigation likely will be messier. One reason is that high-school football isn't governed by one national body, but by a combination of state laws, school boards and 50 separate associations. Among the policies Bukal's suit seeks to be imposed is a baseline test, which is not mandated by Illinois law. The neurological test is given in the preseason to establish a baseline of normal cognitive function for individual players and referred to during the season to determine when athletes have suffered and recovered from a concussion. After the news conference, Hickman estimated that about half of all schools already do the tests. Earlier in the day, he said the IHSA did not have the authority to simply mandate baseline testing by schools, all of whom have a say in setting policies. "It's not a kingdom kind of deal," he said. Several high school coaches and IHSA attorneys participated in Friday's news conference. One attorney, Thomas Heiden, said judges shouldn't be called in when a sports body, legislators, school boards and schools are already doing all they can. "Courts should not step in to referee this issue unless others ... refuse to act, which they have not," he said. Coach Frank Lenti of the perennial Illinois powerhouse Mount Carmel High School, said the right balance needed to be struck. And he echoed Hickman, saying he worried pressure to go further than what schools can do, practically speaking, could have dire consequences. "My concern is that we don't legislate football out of existence," he said. "We don't want to over or under react."
Here’s how The Oklahoman’s high school sports staff picked the top Week 4 playoff games: Scott Wright Tulsa Union 34, Jenks 31 Lawton 42, Bixby 38 Lawton MacArthur 35, Skiatook 34 Oologah 28, Wagoner 24 Laverne 48, Alex 34 Tipton 54, Cherokee 48 Kingfisher 34, Cushing 21 Davis 28, Hennessey 27 OCS 38, Nowata 30 […]
High school football: Staff picks for the top Week 4 playoff games
Trent Shadid | Dec 5, 2014Here's how The Oklahoman's high school sports staff picked the top Week 4 playoff games: Scott Wright Tulsa Union 34, Jenks 31 Lawton 42, Bixby 38 Lawton MacArthur 35, Skiatook 34 Oologah 28, Wagoner 24 Laverne 48, Alex 34 Tipton 54, Cherokee 48 Kingfisher 34, Cushing 21 Davis 28, Hennessey 27 OCS 38, Nowata 30 Thomas 21, Wynnewood 20 Cashion 40, Talihina 32 Lock of the week: Laverne over Alex. Not only is it my Lock of the Week, it’s also the only title game this week that I think will be decided by more than a touchdown. Laverne is just too strong. Jacob Unruh Jenks 31, Tulsa Union 27 Lawton 35, Bixby 28 Lawton MacArthur 35, Skiatook 31 Oologah 28, Wagoner 27 Laverne 48, Alex 32 Tipton 40, Cherokee 38 Kingfisher 35, Cushing 24 Davis 21, Hennessey 20 OCS 35, Nowata 27 Thomas 33, Wynnewood 28 Cashion 40, Talihina 35 Lock of the week: Kingfisher over Cushing. The Yellowjackets were completely dominant last week, especially up front. That proves too much in the rematch of district foes. Trent Shadid Tulsa Union 27, Jenks 24 Bixby 28, Lawton 27 Lawton MacArthur 33, Skiatook 30 Wagoner 22, Oologah 20 Laverne 52, Alex 30 Tipton 50, Cherokee 44 Kingfisher 42, Cushing 20 Davis 26, Hennessey 23 Nowata 49, OCS 42 Thomas 27, Wynnewood 21 Talihina 34, Cashion 33 Lock of the week: Lawton MacArthur over Skiatook. It’s been quite a turnaround for Skiatook from 0-10 two seasons ago to the Class 5A championship this season. But the Highlanders are likely too talented for the Bulldogs’ dream run to end with a title. Here are the standings: Scott (85-44, 9-4) Jacob (84-45, 9-3) Trent (78-51, 8-5)
Dec 4, 2014
There are no championships — or even big-time bowl bids — at stake in Saturday’s Bedlam matchup in Norman. But there are plenty of reasons to head to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to watch the game.
Bedlam football: Five story lines for this year's Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game
BY RYAN ABER AND KYLE FREDRICKSON | Dec 4, 2014There are no championships — or even big-time bowl bids — at stake in Saturday’s Bedlam matchup in Norman. But there are plenty of reasons to head to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to watch the game. Here are five reasons — some for OU fans, some for OSU fans and some for both‚ that this year’s Bedlam still holds intrigue: 1. TICKET PRICES In years past, one could expect paying upward of $200 through secondary markets for often sold-out Bedlam tickets. That’s certainly not that case this season. Here’s a quick look at the going rate for seats from various sellers with two days until kickoff. Soonersports.com: Tickets are being sold for $105. And as of late Thursday, as many as four seats in a row were available for purchase. Stubhub: The cheapest single ticket was listed at $51.39. For two-to-seven seats together, the lowest rate is $53.73. For a non-nosebleed section ticket, 25 rows up in the lower-sideline seats, expect to pay about $270. Craigslist: In the most fluid of online markets, student tickets were being offered for as low as $35. And one post listed four seats together at $60 apiece. For the big spenders, donor seats are running as high as $600. 2. PERINE WATCH It’s reached the point where you never want to miss a carry from Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine. Last time out, he set the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a game with 427 yards against Kansas. He’s had three games of 200 or more rushing yards this season. Entering summer workouts, Perine was considered to be no better than fourth on the Sooners’ running back depth chart behind Keith Ford, Alex Ross and Joe Mixon. Plus, Daniel Brooks and David Smith had been in the program. Now, though, it’s clear who OU’s top threat in the running game is — the freshman from Pflugerville, Texas. 3. THIRD-STRING QBs Both teams are expected to start freshman quarterbacks who spent time as third stringers in camp and early into the season. For Oklahoma, that’s a certainty as redshirt freshman Cody Thomas will make his third consecutive start after Trevor Knight was injured late in the loss to Baylor. Thomas has been the backup most of the season but was hurt early, and OU hoped Baker Mayfield would be eligible before his appeal was finally denied mid-season. Thomas has struggled through the air so far, though his two starts have come under difficult conditions. Those should be much more favorable Saturday, with Thomas having a chance to put together a strong performance entering bowl preparations. For Oklahoma State, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy won’t say who starts at quarterback Saturday, but common sense trumps gamesmanship this week. Mason Rudolph, not Daxx Garman, is the guy. Rudolph’s Baylor debut showcased why he was so highly recruited out of Northwest High School in Rock Hill, S.C.: 13-of-25 passing for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. It’s hard to blame Cowboy fans who look at the measurables — 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds — and are reminded of another OSU passer: Brandon Weeden. It’s too early to tell if Rudolph’s ceiling is as high as Weeden’s was back when the Cowboys were national title contenders. But with Bedlam on tap, it’s worth asking the question. 4. MIKE GUNDY’S OU PROBLEM Before kickoff on Aug. 30 in the AT&T Stadium press box, Boone Pickens was asked a number of questions related to Mike Gundy’s success at OSU. Instead of handing out praise, Pickens remained focus on one aspect of Gundy’s head coaching career. His Bedlam record. It’s 1-8. “When you look at the other schools we’ve played, we’re competitive,” Pickens said. “The only one we haven’t been competitive with is OU. Like last year, we’re a 10-point favorite and we lose. We should have won, in the last five years, three ball games.” Gundy’s lone win arrived in 2011. The Cowboys rolled 44-10 and were crowned Big 12 champions. But in those eight losses, the OSU has been outscored 337 to 206. A Bedlam victory in a down season would not only bring hope to Cowboy fans moving forward. It might also ease the pressure Gundy faces from boosters and administration. 5. BOWL BERTH ON THE LINE The last time OSU failed to reach a bowl game, Mike Gundy was a 37-year-old first-year head coach. It was 2005 and the Cowboys’ 4-7 record was capped by with a 42-14 Bedlam loss in Norman. It’s reminiscent of OSU’s disappointing 2014 campaign — with one major difference. In 2005, the Cowboys were already out of bowl contention entering Bedlam. This season, a victory against the Sooners would propel OSU into postseason play. And capturing that moment in person, albeit unlikely, would be worth the price of admission for any Cowboy fan. “The main motivation is being bowl eligible,” linebacker Ryan Simmons said. If the OSU wins, they’d almost certainly be slated to play in the Cactus Bowl, Jan. 2 in Tempe, Ariz. The opponent would be the sixth pick from the Pac 12 after the College Football Playoff teams are selected.
Dec 4, 2014
The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright makes his picks for this week’s games.
Oklahoma Week 4 high school football playoff picks
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Dec 4, 2014Every week, The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week’s record: 15-5 (75.0 pct.) Overall record: 1,568-344 (82.0 pct.) All games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted Championships Class 6A-I Tulsa Union 34, Jenks 31 Class 6A-II Lawton 42, Bixby 38 Class 5A Lawton MacArthur 35, Skiatook 34 (Saturday) Class 4A Oologah 28, Wagoner 24 Class B Laverne 48, Alex 34 (Saturday) Class C Tipton 54, Cherokee 48 (Saturday) Semifinals Class 3A Kingfisher 34, Cushing 21 Class 2A Davis 28, Hennessey 27 Oklahoma Christian 38, Nowata 30 Class A Thomas 21, Wynnewood 20 Cashion 40, Talihina 32 *All games at neutral sites
Dec 1, 2014
I’ve been around referees and officials for 35 years. And there have been some duds. I’ve seen a few with obvious bias, but not many. Hardly any, actually. I’ve seen a few with judgment problems. Couldn’t tell safe from out or in from out. But not many. I’ve seen a few with personality problems. Sort […]
OSSAA director tells how officials are selected
Berry Tramel | Dec 1, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2014/12/terrance-bagby.jpg]3503369[/img] I've been around referees and officials for 35 years. And there have been some duds. I've seen a few with obvious bias, but not many. Hardly any, actually. I've seen a few with judgment problems. Couldn't tell safe from out or in from out. But not many. I've seen a few with personality problems. Sort of like bad cops, they can get a little power hungry. But not many. But I've seen way more of those kinds of officials than I have refs who don't know the rules. Maybe I was jaded by spending so much time with the late Bob Colon, who as sports editor of The Oklahoman hired me 23 years ago. Bob also was a high school official, a zealous defender of officiating, and here's why. He knew the rules. His crew knew the rules. Bob believed every zebra should know the rules. Which brings us to the Locust Grove-Douglass situation. Locust beat Douglass 20-19 in the Class 3A quarterfinals Friday night, after a Douglass touchdown pass with a minute left in the game was wiped out by a sideline penalty. The sideline infraction should have been assessed on the extra point or the ensuing kickoff. Instead, the know-nothing officiating crew enforced the penalty from the previous line of scrimmage. The Trojans were flagged again for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call, a 4th-and-31 pass fell incomplete and Locust Grove advanced. I wrote about the situation for the Monday Oklahoman, which you can read here. Mike Whaley coached 30 years of Oklahoma high school football. He never lost a game like Douglass lost, never lost a game because officials didn't know the rules. And now Whaley is mortified, since his job is director of officiating for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. And Whaley gets to answer the question. How could that officiating crew not know the rule? "That's a great question," Whaley said. "Obviously, I wouldn't have stuck them out there if I'd know they didn't know the rules." The crew messed up because they incorrectly called it a live-ball foul. The sideline infraction is a live-ball penalty only if it involved a player. If it involves a non-player, it's a dead-ball penalty and is assessed after the play. The rule is relatively new and comes from the national high school federation. Whaley said it came from a sideline incident in which an official collided with a coach, was injured and filed a lawsuit. So the new rule was implemented to try to keep non-player personnel off the field in the heat of battle. But the officials didn't make the distinction between player and non-player. "That's where they messed up," Whaley said. "I'm not happy at all about it. I'm thoroughly embarrassed that I had somebody out there that didn't know the rule, especially in a situation like that. I take responsibility. I'm the director of officials and I made the assignment. I shouldn't put people out there that don't know the rules." All across America, there is a shortage of good officials on the high school level. But there shouldn't be a shortage in late November. During the regular season, anywhere from 160-180 Oklahoma high school games are played. Shortage then? Sure. But Friday night, there were 20 playoff games staged. Let's say half of the regular-season crews can be labeled solid. That means you need less than a quarter of the solid crews. The Douglass-Locust Grove crew was in the upper 10-15 percent of Oklahoma crews? Whaley explained how officiating assignments work. The OSSAA asks crews to sign up for availability in the playoffs. Maybe someone has a wedding the third weekend in November. Maybe somebody's gone for Thanksgiving weekend. Not every crew is available every week. Whaley said over the past five or six years, an average of about 115 crews will sign up. Whaley makes assignments based loosely on geography -- no reason to ask a crew to drive 200 miles to a game, but crews won't call a game in their hometowns, either -- and ranks them with a system that's heavily subjective: * 22 percent of a crew's grade from coaches over the last year. * 22 percent of a crew's grade from coaches over the last three years. * 22 percent of a crew's grade from a group test. Officials routinely take an open-book test individually, but Whaley likes to test the crews as a group. * 22 percent of a crew's experience, including attendance at clinics, playoff experience and years of service. * 12 percent from reports, recommendations, complaints, praise. Anyone credible -- coaches, media, long-time observers, other officials -- Whaley makes note of. He takes all that information and ranks the crews, then doles out assignments based on class and geography. In other words, a crew that has called largely Class A and 2A games isn't likely to be handed the Tulsa Union-Mustang game. A crew that's called 6A games most of the season isn't likely to be given Wynnewood-Thomas. Whaley also collects information. He asks officials their alma mater and what conflicts they have in terms of friends or relatives who might be coaching or have sons playing. You don't want a guy calling a game involving his nephew or his college roommate's son. Also, coaches at the start of the playoffs get five crews they can scratch. Five crews they don't want calling their games. Whaley checks each crew's regular-season schedule. He prefers not to have a crew call a game involving a team it recently officiated over. Whaley tries to produce the best matches for officials. "But I can't know every night where the tough game is going to be," he said. "I try to put the best guys on the best games. Does the system work perfectly, no it doesn't." And it fails miserably when officials don't know the rules. Whaley doesn't pretend to know how Douglass players and coaches feel. But he coached Oklahoma high school football for 30 years. "I experienced that 30 times, when you have to quit playing," Whaley said. "Football season, you prepare, you prepare, you prepare, and you play a game, and all of a sudden it ends like a train stopping. It's very difficult. I wouldn't claim to tell you I know what it's like for those players and coaches, what they're going through. But I know what it was like for me when the train stopped." It's hard to take. And it's even worse when the train stops because officials don't know the rules.
Championships Class 6A-I At Univ. of Tulsa Friday, 7 p.m. Jenks (10-2) vs. Tulsa Union (11-1) Class 6A-II At Moore H.S. Friday, 7 p.m. Bixby (11-1) vs. Lawton (11-1) Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Class 5A Skiatook (12-1) vs. Lawton Mac (12-1) Class 4A Wagoner (10-3) vs. Oologah (8-5) Class B Laverne (12-0) vs. Alex (13-0) Class C Cherokee (12-0) vs. Tipton (13-0) Semifinals Note:...
Oklahoma high school football Week 4 playoff pairings
Nov 29, 2014Championships Class 6A-I At Univ. of Tulsa Friday, 7 p.m. Jenks (10-2) vs. Tulsa Union (11-1) Class 6A-II At Moore H.S. Friday, 7 p.m. Bixby (11-1) vs. Lawton (11-1) Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Class 5A Skiatook (12-1) vs. Lawton Mac (12-1) Class 4A Wagoner (10-3) vs. Oologah (8-5) Class B Laverne (12-0) vs. Alex (13-0) Class C Cherokee (12-0) vs. Tipton (13-0) Semifinals Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Class 3A Heritage Hall (12-1) vs. Locust Grove (13-0) Cushing (9-4) vs. Kingfisher (11-2) Class 2A Hennessey (12-1) vs. Davis (13-0) Okla. Christian (13-0) vs. Nowata (13-0) Class A Thomas (13-0) vs. Wynnewood (13-0) Cashion (12-0) vs. Talihina (12-0)
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the sites and dates for next week’s state championship and state semifinal football games across the state. No games will be played at Oklahoma State this season due to the contract expiring following last season. Instead, games are placed in neutral locations determined by the location of teams […]
OSSAA sets championship, semifinal locations, dates
Jacob Unruh | Nov 29, 2014The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the sites and dates for next week's state championship and state semifinal football games across the state. No games will be played at Oklahoma State this season due to the contract expiring following last season. Instead, games are placed in neutral locations determined by the location of teams playing. The Class 5A championship between Skiatook and Lawton MacArthur is Saturday at Yukon. A time has not yet been announced. Also on Saturday, the Class B and Class C title games will be played in a doubleheader at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Class C between Tipton and Cherokee is at 1 p.m.. Class B between Alex and Laverne is at 7 p.m. The Class 4A championship involving Wagoner and Oologah will be played Friday at Broken Arrow High School. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Class 3A semifinals will be played at Sapulpa and Stillwater High School. Top-ranked Locust Grove and No. 2 Heritage Hall play at 7 p.m. Friday in Sapulpa, while Kingfisher and Cushing meet at the same time in Stillwater. The Class 2A semifinal between Davis and Hennessey will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Putnam City Stadium, while the Oklahoma Christian School and Nowata game will be at Owasso. In Class A, the Cashion and Talihina game will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Glenpool and the Thomas and Wynnewood game will be at Cache. The Class 6A-I and Class 6A-II championship games were set last week. Jenks and Union will play Friday at 7 p.m. at Tulsa's H.A. Chapman Stadium. Bixby and Lawton will play at Moore High School.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the sites and dates for next week’s state championship and state semifinal football games across the state. No games will be played at Oklahoma State this season due to the contract expiring following last season. Instead, games are placed in neutral locations determined by the location of teams playing. The Class 5A championship...
High school notebook: OSSAA sets championship, semifinal sites, dates
BY JACOB UNRUH | Nov 29, 2014The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the sites and dates for next week’s state championship and state semifinal football games across the state. No games will be played at Oklahoma State this season due to the contract expiring following last season. Instead, games are placed in neutral locations determined by the location of teams playing. The Class 5A championship between Skiatook and Lawton MacArthur is Saturday at Yukon. A time has not yet been announced. Also on Saturday, the Class B and Class C title games will be played in a doubleheader at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Class C between Tipton and Cherokee is at 1 p.m. Class B between Alex and Laverne is at 7 p.m. The Class 4A championship involving Wagoner and Oologah will be played Friday at Broken Arrow High School. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Class 3A semifinals will be played at Sapulpa and Stillwater High School. Top-ranked Locust Grove and No. 2 Heritage Hall play at 7 p.m. Friday in Sapulpa, while Kingfisher and Cushing meet at the same time in Stillwater. The Class 2A semifinal between Davis and Hennessey will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Putnam City Stadium, while the Oklahoma Christian School and Nowata game will be at Owasso. In Class A, the Cashion and Talihina game will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Glenpool, and the Thomas and Wynnewood game will be at Cache. The Class 6A-I and Class 6A-II championship games were set last week. Jenks and Union will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium. Bixby and Lawton will play at Moore High School. WASHINGTON’S KULBETH RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL Washington senior running back Brady Kulbeth was released from the hospital early Saturday morning following an injury he suffered against Nowata that delayed the playoff game for more than 25 minutes Friday. Kulbeth suffered an injury around his spine and neck that caused him to initially lose feeling in his upper body late in the second quarter. He regained feeling and movement before leaving the field. “It was mainly precautionary,” Washington coach Brad Beller said. “They wanted to check for any major damage and they were able to let him go.” Washington lost the game 42-35. Part of the delay was due to an ambulance not being on site when the injury occurred. Beller said that’s the first time the entire season that has happened and that he was told an emergency call was placed that required the ambulance just before the start of the game. “It still was a scary situation that we need to make sure next year we’ll have one there for sure at the start of each game,” Beller said. SIKES FINDS RHYTHM IN OCS WIN Oklahoma Christian School senior Conner Sikes appears to be getting more and more comfortable each week he plays quarterback. Sikes threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns in OCS’ 35-25 win over Colcord in the Class 2A semifinals, dishing out his best performance in the past three weeks he’s filled in for injured Thomas Qualls. “He threw some really, really pretty passes,” OCS coach Derek Turner said. “He really did a phenomenal job and led the team well.” Each touchdown pass went to a different receiver, including a 52-yard strike to Luke Frankfurt and a 65-yard pass to Andrew McKinnis. Receiver Callen Crockett also had a big night, catching seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. He also had an interception on defense. OCS travels to Owasso on Friday and will play undefeated Nowata in the Class 2A semifinals. CASHION GETS ANOTHER CRACK AT TALIHINA For the third straight year, Cashion will face Talihina in the Class A playoffs. After falling last year, the Wildcats are looking to win for the second time in that span and advance to the championship game. The semifinal game is 7 p.m. Friday at Glenpool. “We definitely are familiar with each other,” Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford said. “They do a lot of good things and they’ve got some talent. We need all hands on deck for the remainder of the year.” Cashion (13-0) got help from an unexpected place Friday in a 20-13 win over Stratford when senior Kaleb George scored twice and had a big game defensively with seven tackles. George, a senior, was due for a breakout game. “He’s really good,” Shackelford said. “I think it probably helps too that we’ve got so many other kids that have had good years he was probably not somebody Stratford was keying on last night.” HENNESSEY TURNS TO PASS TO ADVANCE Throughout the week, Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen noticed some opportunities on film that would allow the Eagles to throw the ball against Hartshorne. It’s a different pace for Hennessey and it’s normal run-heavy offense, but it worked well as the Eagles won 28-14 to advance to the Class 2A semifinals Friday in Putnam City against No. 1 Davis. “We ran into a very, very tough, physical football team real similar to what we are,” Luetjen said. “We knew that going in and they were able to force us to throw the football a little bit more and spread some things out. We were able to capitalize on some things we saw going into the game. “But we were still able to sustain a couple big drives with our run game, which I thought put them behind the eight ball.” Hennessey quarterback Tony Mendoza threw three touchdown passes, completing 9 of 17 passes for 123 yards. The different element of the offense may benefit the Eagles against Davis, too. At least, that’s what Luetjen hopes. “I think this gives us an opportunity going into that game that’s going to make them think a little bit more about loading the box because we have the ability to throw the football around a little bit,” he said.
Nov 27, 2014
The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright makes his predictions for this week’s games.
Oklahoma high school football third-round playoff picks
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Nov 27, 2014Every week, The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week’s record: 42-4 (91.3 pct.) Overall record: 1,553-339 (82.1 pct.) Friday’s games Semifinals Class 5A At Yukon Skiatook 24, Ardmore 21 At Choctaw Lawton MacArthur 35, McAlester 34 Class 4A At Glenpool Metro Christian 35, Wagoner 28 At Sapulpa Fort Gibson 35, Oologah 21 Class B At Enid Laverne 34, Davenport 28 At Del City Alex 48, Dewar 36 Class C At SWOSU, Weatherford Cherokee 38, Grandfield 20 At Cache Tipton 50, Fox 34 Quarterfinals Class 3A Heritage Hall 31, BEGGS 28 Locust Grove 35, DOUGLASS 28 Lincoln Christian 28, CUSHING 27 KINGFISHER 27, Roland 17 Class 2A Hennessey 34, HARTSHORNE 30 Davis 35, ADAIR 21 Oklahoma Christian 28, COLCORD 24 WASHINGTON 21, Nowata 20 Class A Thomas 27, KIEFER 22 Wynnewood 32, HOMINY 28 Cashion 42, STRATFORD 30 RINGLING 28, Talihina 27 *-Home team in CAPS. Semifinal games at neutral sites.
Nov 26, 2014
Will Johnson didn’t expect to hear from a program like Oklahoma for a long time. But after a whirlwind recruitment that went from initial contact to visit to commit in the span of less than a week, the 6-foot, 180-pound Johnson plans on being in Norman by January to get to work on earning a place in the Sooners’ secondary.
Oklahoma football: Sooners turn to junior college recruiting to shore up secondary
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer | Nov 26, 2014NORMAN — Will Johnson didn’t expect to hear from a program like Oklahoma for a long time. He thought it would come eventually, but the junior college cornerback from Baltimore expected to have to wait until even after signing day to get his chance. “Maybe after they didn’t get the guy that they really wanted,” Johnson said. “Maybe I’d be the fallback kind of guy.” But after a whirlwind recruitment that went from initial contact to visit to commit in the span of less than a week, the 6-foot, 180-pound Johnson plans on being in Norman by January to get to work on earning a place in the Sooners’ secondary. Oklahoma has struggled in the back end defensively and loses senior cornerback Julian Wilson and safety Quentin Hayes after this season. While Sooners’ coaches say they are confident in the young defenders coming up behind them, OU clearly needs an upgrade in the secondary. “It isn’t any indication that we’re not happy with the guys we have,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said of the pursuit of junior college defensive backs. “We’re thin back there. We need more guys. In our league, the way people play, you’re gonna play five or six DBs a lot. We just need more guys back there.” At corner, the Sooners will return Zack Sanchez and Jordan Thomas next season. Sanchez has been a starter the last two seasons and Thomas — a true freshman — took over for Wilson after he suffered a broken thumb against Baylor. Outside of that, things are plenty uncertain. Junior Cortez Johnson, who started two games last season, finally dressed out again a couple weeks ago and then played a bit against Kansas. But Johnson doesn’t look like he’ll be a factor moving forward. Sophomore Dakota Austin looked like he might be a starter this season after playing in five games last year but has appeared in just four games. Stanvon Taylor played in 13 games, starting one, as a true freshman, but has been on the fringe of the Sooners’ rotation this year. Will Johnson is one of three defensive back commitments for the Sooners, joining high school cornerback P.J. Mbanasor of Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson and Midwest City safety Will Sunderland. Johnson will have three years to play in Norman. Out of high school in Baltimore — Johnson has known OU defensive end Charles Tapper for several years — he went to prep school in Atlanta before landing at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. There, he’s been focused on growth both as a player and a person. He had a sub-2.00 grade-point average coming out of high school, then barely missed qualifying out of prep school when his test scores fell just short. “It just came together — my weight, school work and recruiting,” Johnson said of his time at Monroe. And he said he won’t get complacent once he gets to a Division I campus. “A lot of guys, their mindset will change because they’ll feel like they’ve made it getting to another level,” Johnson said. “Going through this long journey, you can’t stop until you meet that goal. Failing so many times, you know it can happen again. Johnson doesn’t mind being seen as a last resort kind of player. “I didn’t mind being last on a guy’s recruiting board,” Johnson said. “I’m one of those guys who feeds off of being at the bottom. Being an underdog my whole life, it’s my life. I’m used to coming from the bottom anyway. “I’m a humble guy. I’m always going to stay grounded.”
Nov 24, 2014
Quiet or not, Van Meter has become a force for the second-ranked Saints in the absence of injured quarterback Thomas Qualls, and that was evident during Friday’s 34-15 win over Kingston in which Van Meter returned a punt for a touchdown and caught a long touchdown pass.
High school football: OCS receiver Kade Van Meter does his talking on the field
By Jacob Unruh | Nov 24, 2014EDMOND — Oklahoma Christian School coach Derek Turner likes to joke about how much Kade Van Meter speaks. “I think I’ve heard him say 10 words in the four years he’s been here,” Turner said. “He’s one of those silent leaders.” Quiet or not, Van Meter has become a force for the second-ranked Saints in the absence of injured quarterback Thomas Qualls, and that was evident during Friday’s 34-15 win over Kingston in which Van Meter returned a punt for a touchdown and caught a long touchdown pass. It was his second touchdown reception and the team’s second punt return for a score in as many weeks. “I was put in a position where I was forced to step up and I expect it from myself every night now,” said Van Meter, who is The Oklahoman’s staff pick for Player of the Week. OCS (12-0) hits the road this week, facing upstart Colcord (11-1) in the Class 2A quarterfinals Friday. It’s the first time OCS has traveled without Qualls, whose status remains uncertain moving forward. That leaves playmakers like Van Meter and Luke Frankfurt to step up to help fill-in quarterback Connor Sikes, who normally plays receiver. “It’s going to put added pressure on you because you’re down one really quality receiver,” Turner said. “In our particular case, that’s what we’re looking at. But we’ve got some kids who can really fill in. “It’s more pressure on Van Meter, but he’s handled that.” Van Meter now has three touchdowns on special teams, having returned two kickoffs earlier in the season for touchdowns. Last week, Callen Crockett joined the mix with a punt return for a touchdown. Frankfurt also has four touchdowns in the past two games, bringing his season total to 23. “It’s just our reaction to adversity,” Van Meter said. “All of us can make a play anytime, and that keeps teams on their heels having to guard a lot of playmakers. It helps us out a lot.” Van Meter said the Saints’ early four-game schedule prepared them for the challenge of the playoffs. In that span, OCS beat Ringling, Metro Christian, Lincoln Christian and Millwood. Three of those teams remain in the playoffs in their respective classes. But even he’s a little surprised how well the team has responded the past two weeks. “A little bit,” he said. “But we’re used to it now.”
Nov 23, 2014
You already know that these are tough times in our neck of the sports woods. The Thunder is wounded. The Sooners have disappointed. The Cowboys are struggling. But it’s Thanksgiving week, and that means we’re contractually obligated to give thanks. And you know what? Our sports world isn’t without reasons to give thanks.
What Oklahoma sports fans have to be thankful for during the holiday season
BY JENNI CARLSON | Nov 23, 2014We won’t be sugar coating anything, sports fans. You already know that these are tough times in our neck of the sports woods. The Thunder is wounded. The Sooners have disappointed. The Cowboys are struggling. But it’s Thanksgiving week, and that means we’re contractually obligated to give thanks. And you know what? Our sports world isn’t without reasons to give thanks. With the Thunder, we can be thankful for what these injuries have revealed. Nick Collison’s 3-point shot. Serge Ibaka’s shooting range. Every able-bodied player’s heart. And of course, there are the healing powers of the human body and whatever Mr. Miyagi tricks the Thunder has up its sleeve. At OSU, there’s Mason Rudolph’s spark, Michael Cobbins’ return and Desmond Roland’s perseverance. There are also plenty of reasons, maybe hundreds of millions, to be thankful for Mike Gundy and Boone Pickens, even when they aren’t thankful for each other. At OU, there’s Samaje Perine’s running, TaShawn Thomas’s eligibility and Blake Bell’s class. And even with the Adrian Peterson saga, OU can say, “Pay no attention to that. Perhaps you’ve heard about our amazing alum, DeMarco Murray.” Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, has there ever been a pro franchise outside the Thunder that flew the flag for our state more than them? Please tell me someone’s has come up with a drinking game after all of Mike Tirico’s references to OU and OSU during that Monday Night Football game? Oklahoma City Public Schools is fixing fields and working to right long-listing football programs. The Los Angeles Dodgers are bringing their Triple-A team to town. Pro soccer has come to town. And the NCAA still loves us. Volleyball championships are coming to Oklahoma City in December, basketball regionals are on the calendar for future years, and the Women’s College World Series isn’t going anywhere. Yes, I know the teams that dominate our scene are struggling. Not since 2005 have things been so bad. Mike Gundy’s first season. Bob Stoops’ worst season since Year 1. The only saving grace that year was the NBA blowing into town. The Hornets weren’t great, but that fall, they provided distraction. Perhaps that year provides perspective. It has been nearly a decade since our sports world had it as rough as it has this year. We have it good. That’s fact. That’s not sugar coating — we know you’ll get plenty of that on your honey-glazed hams and marshmallow-covered yams. What the readers are thankful for ... Rita Riley, Oklahoma City Very thankful for our Thunder players. They are exhibiting grace in a very difficult time. Playing their hearts out. Greg Hargrove, Lawton Splitting of Class 6A into two divisions means my Lawton High School Wolverines have a realistic shot at a gold ball. Lauren Dennison, Oklahoma City I’m thankful that we even have an NBA basketball team. Big-league city. David Jordan, Fairfax, Va. As a very temporary Virginian at the moment (working as an Army National Guard Chaplain at the National Guard Bureau), I want to say I'm still very thankful for the OU football program. Each Saturday I feel a little more connected to home when I watch on TV. Justin Wilmeth, Oklahoma City The Edmond Hyundai “helium” commercial is, by far, the best part of the season for the Thunder so far. John Rhea, Norman I’m thankful for the off button on my radio after a loss, so I can ignore the volunteer assistant coaches on sports talk radio. What the writers are thankful for ... Berry Tramel, columnist “May you live in interesting times” is a new English phrase that masquerades as a Chinese proverb. Sort of the literary version of sweet-and-sour pork. But despite the travails of the Thunder and Sooners and Cowboys, sports fans in Oklahoma can’t say they don’t live in interesting times. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are hurt for now, but soon enough, two of the 15 best basketball players in the world play in OKC. OSU football stinks, but even in defeat, the Boone Pickens/Mike Gundy spat is fascinating theater. And the Sooners, win or lose, never are boring. Interesting times? These are the best of times. There’s never been a better time to be a sports fan in Oklahoma. Ryan Aber, OU basketball Be thankful for the NCAA — seriously — and TaShawn Thomas. Sure, the NCAA waited until about 17 hours before the Sooners’ season opener to rule in Thomas’ favor on his appeal for immediate eligibility. But in a season where OU football has been on the wrong side of NCAA rulings involving Dorial Green-Beckham and Baker Mayfield, you take victories where you can get them regardless of timing. Thomas fills the Sooners’ glaring hole, putting another big body opposite Ryan Spangler and giving OU one of the nation’s best starting fives. Ed Godfrey, outdoors From antelope in the Panhandle to black bears in the southeastern counties, few states can match Oklahoma’s diversity of wildlife. We should be thankful for bass fishing lakes like Grand and Arbuckle and crappie lakes like Hugo and Eufaula. We should be thankful we can catch stripers on Lake Texoma, snag spoonbills on Grand Lake and its tributaries, and fly fish for trout year-round on the Lower Mountain Fork and Lower Illinois rivers. The state is blessed with good deer and turkey hunting statewide and some of the most underrated duck hunting in the country. Heck, even the bird hunters are happy this year because the bobwhite quail have returned. Jacob Unruh, high school hoops There is an impressive amount of young talent across the state likely bound for Division I hoops. On the boys side, there are Putnam West’s Tre Evans, an Oklahoma State commitment, Southeast’s DeShawn McDowell, and Mustang standouts Jakolby Long and Austin Meyer. The girls are equally talented with Choctaw sophomore Ana Llanusa and small-school stars Preston’s Chelsea Dungee and Alva’s Jaden Hobbs. Llanusa and Dungee are verbally committed to Oklahoma while Hobbs is committed to OSU. Kyle Fredrickson, OSU football Things are going to be little tense at the proverbial Thanksgiving table this year between Mike Gundy and an anxious OSU fan base. No bowl for the first time since 2005? A beef with Boone Pickens? The opportunity to jump ship for Florida? Even still, there’s plenty to be thankful for. In just a few months, the anguish Cowboy fans feel today will be replaced by the optimism of a new season that features a core of experienced returners. And OSU’s 2015 schedule is much more manageable with home games against TCU, Baylor and OU in November. If anything, Cowboy fans, be thankful OU isn’t much worse off at the moment. Anthony Slater, Thunder Two of the best 10 players in the world still reside on the Thunder roster. And at some point in the next month, Thunder fans will get an early Christmas present with the return of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Plus, despite these early season troubles, OKC remains among an elite group of teams that most pundits believe can still win the title. Weather this storm because good times are likely ahead. Jason Kersey, OU football The Sooners have enjoyed a remarkable run of consistent success under Bob Stoops, who has made 10-win seasons the norm in Norman. OU under Stoops is 10-6 against Texas and 12-3 against Oklahoma State, so rivalry bragging rights are another thing to appreciate. Are things perfect? Of course not, and they’ll never be. But the very fact that some fans are calling for a coaching change because of three losses in one season should be enough to realize how good you’ve got it. John Helsley, OSU basketball Cowboys basketball fans can be thankful for a team offering optimism. From Michael Cobbins’ health to Le’Bryan Nash’s plans for a big senior season to Phil Forte filling it up from 3-point land to a promising bunch of youngsters that figure to make this season interesting, there’s much to like about these Pokes. Scott Wright, high school football There is still meaningful football to be played. Seasons might not have played out the way OU and OSU followers had hoped, but the excitement, drama and tension of the high school playoffs hasn’t even reached its climax. Nine championships are still to be decided, including the first-ever Class 6A Division II title. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be held this weekend, with championship games the following two weeks. Mike Baldwin, minor league sports Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark ranks as one of the finest Triple-A ballparks in the country. A ton of a future big leaguers have played at The Brick. Hockey was bigger back in the Blazer days, but Triple-A hockey is an upgrade. Several NHL players have played at the Cox Convention Center, including some young Edmonton Oilers stars during the NHL lockout. Minor-league sports in OKC are top rate.
Nov 22, 2014
NORMAN — Oklahoma improved to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 Conference play with Saturday’s 44-7 rout of Kansas on Owen Field. Here’s a look at what some players and coaches had to say after the game. Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, on the offensive line’s performance: “I saw early in the week that the weather report said there was going to be pretty bad weather ... obviously it...
OU football: What they're saying about the Sooners' 44-7 win over Kansas
Jason Kersey | Nov 22, 2014NORMAN — Oklahoma improved to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 Conference play with Saturday’s 44-7 rout of Kansas on Owen Field. Here’s a look at what some players and coaches had to say after the game. Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, on the offensive line’s performance: “I saw early in the week that the weather report said there was going to be pretty bad weather ... obviously it became very important that we control the line of scrimmage. Our guys did a tremendous job.” Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine, on fan support: “The fans stuck it out through the bad weather. I really appreciate them for that. I know you don’t see many fans do that, but it just goes to show the support that we have. We really love our fans.” Oklahoma redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Thomas, on his first time meeting Perine: “I think the first time I saw him when he was on a visit here, he was wearing a shirt, and there was not an inch of air in there. I was like, ‘No way that kid’s in high school.’” Oklahoma senior fullback Aaron Ripkowski, on the team’s reaction to Perine’s record: “I think it’s a reflection of how close we are as a team. Everybody wants to see everyone do well. Nobody on the team’s about ‘me.’” Kansas interim coach Clint Bowen, on Perine: “I don’t think there is anything bad about the kid. He is a special running back, one of the better ones in the conference going back to Ricky Williams and Adrian Peterson and those guys. He is going to have that kind of career in the Big 12.” Kansas defensive tackle Keon Stowers, on where OU’s offensive line ranks in the Big 12: “They’re probably the top one. They’re an experienced group. They’re pretty big and physical. As far as the way the game looked; I don’t think they dogged us the way it looked.”
Nov 22, 2014
A look at the next round of matchups.
Oklahoma high school football third-round playoff pairings
Nov 22, 2014Semifinals Note: All semifinal games will be played at 7 p.m. Friday. Class 5A Ardmore (11-1) vs. Skiatook (11-1) at Yukon McAlester (11-1) vs. Lawton MacArthur (11-1) at Choctaw Class 4A Metro Christian (10-2) vs. Wagoner (9-3) at Glenpool Oologah (7-5) vs. Fort Gibson (12-0) at Sapulpa Class B Laverne (11-0) vs. Davenport (12-0) at Enid Alex (12-0) vs. Dewar (12-0) at Del City Class C Cherokee (11-0) vs. Grandfield (11-1) at Southwestern, Weatherford Tipton (12-0) vs. Fox (11-1) at Cache Quarterfinals Note: All games will be played Friday, 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Class 3A Heritage Hall (11-1) at Beggs (11-1) Locust Grove (12-0) at Douglass (10-2) Lincoln Christian (10-2) at Cushing (8-4) Roland (11-1) at Kingfisher (10-2) Class 2A Hennessey (11-1) at Hartshorne (11-1) Davis (12-0) at Adair (12-0) Okla. Christian (12-0) at Colcord (11-1) Nowata (12-0) at Washington (11-1) Class A Thomas (12-0) at Kiefer (12-0) Wynnewood (12-0) at Hominy (9-3) Cashion (11-0) at Stratford (11-1) Talihina (11-0) at Ringling (10-1) Championships Note: Will be played at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 Class 6A-I Jenks (10-2) vs. Tulsa Union (11-1) at Tulsa University Class 6A-II Bixby (11-1) vs. Lawton (11-1) at Moore
Every week, The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week’s record: 72-16 (81.8 pct) Overall record: 1,511-335 (81.9 pct.
High school football: Predictions for week 2 of the playoffs
By Scott Wright | Nov 20, 2014Every week, The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week’s record: 72-16 (81.8 pct) Overall record: 1,511-335 (81.9 pct.) All games Friday unless noted Class 6A-I semifinals Jenks 21, Owasso 7 Tulsa Union 31, Mustang 28 (Saturday) Class 6A-II semifinals Bixby 38, Sand Springs 34 Lawton 24, Tulsa Washington 21 Class 5A quarterfinals ARDMORE 30, Shawnee 28 Guthrie 28, SKIATOOK 22 McAlester 49, DEL CITY 38 Lawton MacArthur 28, COLLINSVILLE 14 Class 4A quarterfinals ANADARKO 35, Metro Christian 28 WAGONER 27, Weatherford 20 Oologah 21, CLINTON 18 FORT GIBSON 28, Newcastle 27 Class 3A second round HERITAGE HALL 35, Plainview 20 BEGGS 26, Eufaula 22 Douglass 32, LONE GROVE 28 LOCUST GROVE 42, Berryhill 27 Idabel 34, LINCOLN CHRISTIAN 28 CUSHING 21, Marlow 14 ROLAND 34, Checotah 30 Kingfisher 21, SEMINOLE 17 Class 2A second round HENNESSEY 28, Lindsay 20 HARTSHORNE 40, Wyandotte 18 DAVIS 42, Christian Heritage 30 ADAIR 44, Panama 14 Colcord 28, STROUD 21 OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN 35, Kingston 7 NOWATA 20, Vian 16 WASHINGTON 28, Chisholm 24 Class A second round THOMAS 34, Minco 20 KIEFER 38, Rejoice Christian 14 WYNNEWOOD 21, Hollis 14 Hominy 33, KETCHUM 28 CASHION 49, Afton 20 APACHE 22, Stratford 18 TALIHINA 35, Morrison 24 RINGLING 28, Fairview 12 Class B quarterfinals LAVERNE 44, Keota 14 DAVENPORT 36, Maysville 16 ALEX 42, Weleetka 20 DEWAR 56, Pond Creek-Hunter 34 Class C quarterfinals CHEROKEE 48, DC-Lamont 28 Grandfield 34, BLUEJACKET 28 TIPTON 56, Thackerville 8 FOX 44, Balko 36 *-Home team in CAPS
Nov 19, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Rob Gronkowski makes a twisting, leaping, one-handed catch.The super-sized tight end swats away would-be tacklers.He celebrates touchdowns with a powerful spike that, somehow, doesn't knock the air out of the ball."Imagine trying to cover that," said Tom Brady, whose defensive teammates with the Patriots only have to do it in practice.It's a quandary NFL teams face...
Top tight ends use size to pile up receptions
HOWARD ULMAN, Associated Press | Nov 19, 2014FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Rob Gronkowski makes a twisting, leaping, one-handed catch. The super-sized tight end swats away would-be tacklers. He celebrates touchdowns with a powerful spike that, somehow, doesn't knock the air out of the ball. "Imagine trying to cover that," said Tom Brady, whose defensive teammates with the Patriots only have to do it in practice. It's a quandary NFL teams face against Gronkowski and many others in this era of big receiving tight ends. "Every offense in the league wants a guy like that," said Tony Gonzalez, who helped usher in the trend during a brilliant 17-year career that ended after last season. "It is unguardable." Top tight ends are heavier than defensive backs, often faster than linebackers, and taller than both. The eight tight ends with the most catches this season are all at least 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. Just five years ago, only two of the top eight had that height-weight combination. They're athletic and line up all over the offense — next to the tackle, in the slot, split out or in the backfield. Their wide wingspans and large bodies shield defenders from the ball. The crackdown on illegal contact makes it easier to get open. And many play with outstanding quarterbacks who put the pass in the perfect spot: Gronkowski (6-6, 265 pounds) with Brady; Jimmy Graham (6-7, 265) with Drew Brees in New Orleans; Julius Thomas (6-5, 250) with Peyton Manning in Denver. What's a poor defender to do? "It's a big challenge," Tennessee safety George Wilson said, "week in and week out." Graham leads all tight ends with 59 receptions. Gronkowski is tied for third with 53. Thomas is tied for the NFL lead with 12 touchdown catches. They often are double-teamed, making it easier for wide receivers to get free. "It's a constant struggle," Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. In none of the 13 seasons from 1994-2006 did tight ends catch more than a total of 2,000 passes, according to STATS. They've surpassed that number in each full season since. Their 1,500 catches this year are more than the totals in all of 1994 (1,412) and 1996 (1,458), and they're on pace for the fourth straight full season of more than 2,300. Gronkowski has some highlight-reel plays in this year's batch. In the Patriots' eighth game, he caught a pass, flicked off safety Ryan Mundy like a pesky gnat at the Chicago 25, and scored his third touchdown of the day, a 46-yarder, in a 51-23 rout. "He's just a beast," Mundy said. "His size is just his best asset." The next week, Gronkowski jumped and swiveled his body to reach for a pass thrown behind him. He hauled it in with his left hand while surrounded by defenders for a 20-yard gain to the Denver 1. He caught a touchdown pass on the next play of the Patriots' 43-21 victory. In last Sunday night's 42-20 rout of Indianapolis, he caught the ball at the Colts 20, was hit by four defenders, outran a fifth, then flattened cornerback Vontae Davis while leaping into the end zone for a 26-yard score. "When you see the ball," the sure-handed Gronkowski said simply, "you want to go for it." Graham did that at the end of regulation of a 27-24 overtime loss to San Francisco on Nov. 9. Brees passed from the 50. Graham jumped over defenders and caught it in the end zone, but was penalized for pass interference. "I'm not always going to outrun everyone," he said, "Drew just says go up and get the rebound." Skills he used in college basketball — boxing out opponents, soaring for dunks — translate to his position. Thomas, Antonio Gates of San Diego and Jordan Cameron of Cleveland also played college hoops. Gonzalez was a trailblazer from the hardwood to the turf. "Going up for those passes is like going up for an alley-oop and dunking," New York Giants tight end and former high school basketball standout Larry Donnell (6-6, 265) said with a laugh. "I use that now to catch passes from Eli (Manning)." After going undrafted in 2012 and making three catches as a rookie, Donnell has 44 this season. Some shorter tight ends also are productive receivers. "It's all about angles," said Gates (6-4, 255), "being able to reach the ball at its highest point. That's what I brought to the table from playing basketball." Delanie Walker (6-0, 248) has 38 receptions for Tennessee. "I never categorized him by size," said Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt, a former NFL tight end. It's impossible to ignore Gronkowski's, but he claims he can be guarded. "If I'm not running the route how I was coached and not going full speed, I feel like I can be covered by anyone," he said. It's not easy. "You've got to play a near-perfect game with him," Buffalo safety Da'Norris Searcy said. "You have to try to anticipate routes and be able to jump routes on him." But if Gronkowski gets to the right spot, the defender "can't do anything about it," Brady said. "I think they know that, too. So then they panic and then when they panic, it's even more of an advantage to the offense." Gronkowski is the most powerful example of that. But not the only one. "It's the No. 1 mismatch in the NFL," Gonzalez said. "Even when you're guarded, you're not guarded." ___ AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Arnie Stapleton and Teresa Walker, Sports Writers Brett Martel, John Wawrow and Bernie Wilson, and AP freelancer Gene Chamberlain contributed to this report. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Nov 15, 2014
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the locations, date and time Saturday morning for all four Class 6A semifinal football games next week, with three of the games being played in the Tulsa metro.
High school notebook: Class 6A semifinals set for next week
BY JACOB UNRUH AND SCOTT WRIGHT | Nov 15, 2014The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced the locations, date and time Saturday morning for all four Class 6A semifinal football games next week, with three of the games being played in the Tulsa metro. In Class 6A-I, Jenks and Owasso will play Friday night at 7 p.m. at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium. The other semifinal between Mustang and Tulsa Union will be played at the same stadium Saturday at 1 p.m. The Division II semifinals are both set for 7 p.m. Friday. Bixby and Sand Springs will play at Broken Arrow, while Lawton and Tulsa Washington will play at Yukon. Winners advance to the state championship games two weeks later, which will be played at a site and time to be determined. Last year, the OSSAA approved a bye week following the semifinals to accommodate the smaller brackets with the Class 6A split and avoid Thanksgiving week serving as a championship week. ROAD WINS AT A PREMIUM IN FIRST ROUND A playoff road win never comes easy, and Friday night further proved the theory. Only 16 road teams survived out of 88 first-round games, slightly less than a 20-percent success rate. District champions were 41-3 in the opening round. Class 2A had the strongest home-field advantage with only one road victory, Panama’s 35-21 win at Chandler. Class A and 3A each had three road teams win, the most of any class. Oddly, the 16 road winners on Friday night won by an average of nearly 12 points, with just five of those games being decided by fewer than seven points. “When you go on the road, you’re already about seven points down,” said Minco quarterback Hunter Jones, who guided the Bulldogs to the biggest blowout among road winners, a 36-point win over Healdton. “It’s tough to win on the road this time of year, so if you can get it done, it’s pretty big.” DISTRICT 4A-1 PULLS OFF SWEEP In the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, only two teams won on the road — Clinton and Weatherford, both from District 4A-1. With Anadarko and Newcastle picking up home victories, 4A-1 pulled off the rare playoff sweep in the first round, defeating all four opponents from 4A-2. The most notable such sweep in recent years was District 5A-2’s sweep of 5A-1 in 2012. That year, fourth-seeded Carl Albert opened the playoffs with an upset of 5A-1 champion Del City and the Titans rolled on to the state title. HENNESSEY’S JOHNS SETS SCHOOL RECORD Hennessey junior Tabor Johns’ journey from third-string receiver to starting running back added a school record Friday. Johns scored six touchdowns in a 41-6 rout of Luther to set a single-game record for rushing touchdowns. “He was big for us because we felt like we could run the football,” Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen said. Johns finished with 209 yards on 23 carries, a number much lower than his average of more than 30 per game the past few weeks with Abe Ortega dealing with an ankle injury. Ortega is expected to be back to 100 percent in time for the second-round game against high-powered Lindsay, which would be huge as Hennessey looks to control the game with its rushing attack. “It’s just magnified against a team like Lindsay that is so talented and can score so quick with the offense they run,” Luetjen said. “Tabor’s going to have to be able to run it up in there, get positive yards and then Abe’s really coming around to give us some spell back there, too. That gives us a better 1-2 punch with those guys back there.” LOSS OF QUALLS DOESN’T STOP OCS Even without starting quarterback Thomas Qualls, Oklahoma Christian School continued rolling in a 35-6 rout of Newkirk to open the Class 2A playoffs. Qualls suffered an injury in the Week 10 win over Luther. His status remains uncertain for next week. But if Friday is any indication, he might be able to take another week off to heal. Receiver Connor Sikes moved to quarterback, throwing four touchdown passes, and the Saints’ defense allowed just 29 yards in the first half. “We just keep doing what we do,” OCS coach Derek Turner said. “We handled it well.” Turner said Sikes had not played quarterback in a few years, but he was impressed with how well he handled the new duties. That will make preparing for Kingston (9-1) next week even easier. “He’s a great ballplayer, great receiver and he understands our offense,” Turner said about Sikes. “He throws a nice ball and he’s got nice touch.”
Second Round Note: All games are Friday, 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Class 6A-I Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Jenks (9-2) vs. Owasso (10-1) Tulsa Union (10-1) vs. Mustang (8-3) CLASS 6A-II Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Bixby (10-1) vs. Sand Springs (8-3) Lawton (10-1) vs.
Oklahoma high school football second round playoff pairings
Nov 15, 2014Second Round Note: All games are Friday, 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Class 6A-I Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Jenks (9-2) vs. Owasso (10-1) Tulsa Union (10-1) vs. Mustang (8-3) CLASS 6A-II Note: Neutral site, date and time TBA Bixby (10-1) vs. Sand Springs (8-3) Lawton (10-1) vs. Tulsa Washington (10-1) Class 5A Shawnee (8-3) at Ardmore (10-1) Guthrie (10-1) at Skiatook (10-1) McAlester (10-1) at Del City (6-5) Lawton MacArthur (10-1) at Collinsville (8-2) Class 4A Metro Christian (9-2) at Anadarko (11-0) Weatherford (7-4) at Wagoner (8-3) Oologah (6-5) at Clinton (6-5) Newcastle (10-1) at Fort Gibson (11-0) Class 3A Plainview (5-6) at Heritage Hall (10-1) Eufaula (9-2) at Beggs (10-1) Douglass (9-2) at Lone Grove (9-1) Berryhill (10-1) at Locust Grove (11-0) Idabel (9-2) at Lincoln Christian (9-2) Marlow (7-4) at Cushing (7-4) Checotah (8-3) at Roland (10-1) Kingfisher (9-2) at Seminole (10-1) Class 2A Lindsay (9-2) at Hennessey (10-1) Wyandotte (7-4) at Hartshorne (10-1) Chr. Heritage (9-2) at Davis (11-0) Panama (8-3) at Adair (11-0) Colcord (10-1) at Stroud (9-1) Kingston (9-1) at Okla. Christian (11-0) Vian (8-3) at Nowata (11-0) Chisholm (9-2) at Washington (10-1) Class A Minco (8-2) at Thomas (11-0) Rejoice Christian (6-5) at Kiefer (11-0) Hollis (10-1) at Wynnewood (11-0) Hominy (8-3) at Ketchum (9-2) Afton (9-2) at Cashion (11-0) Stratford (10-1) at Apache (10-0) Morrison (9-2) at Talihina (10-0) Fairview (7-4) at Ringling (9-1) Class B Keota (10-1) at Laverne (10-0) Maysville (10-1) at Davenport (11-0) Weleetka (8-3) at Alex (11-0) Pond Creek-Hunter (10-1) at Dewar (11-0) Class C DC-Lamont (8-3) at Cherokee (10-0) Grandfield (10-1) at Bluejacket (10-1) Thackerville (8-3) at Tipton (11-0) Balko (9-2) at Fox (10-1)
Redshirt freshman Cody Thomas is scheduled to make his first OU start on Saturday at Texas Tech, and it might be a harrowing day. But Mike Fuller, Thomas’ high school coach at Colleyville Heritage in suburban Dallas, figures Thomas can handle it.
Oklahoma football: Cody Thomas' high school coach remembers his multi-sport high school days
BY BERRY TRAMEL | Nov 14, 2014Redshirt freshman Cody Thomas is scheduled to make his first OU start on Saturday at Texas Tech, and it might be a harrowing day. Lubbock can bring wind, sand, cold and a tough crowd. Not the recipe for a young quarterback’s success. But Mike Fuller, Thomas’ high school coach at Colleyville Heritage in suburban Dallas, figures Thomas can handle it. He told our man Jason Kersey about one particular day that sealed Fuller’s belief that Thomas was an uncommon athlete. Let’s let Fuller take over: “This is one of my favorite stories to tell about high school sports. His junior year in the springtime, he got up to school early and got some receivers up there to run routes for him at 6:30 in the morning. He left there and went into the weight room and lifted weights for about an hour-and-a-half on his own because he had first period off. “Then he went to our district track meet. He hadn’t run in any track meets all year until the district meet. We hadn’t done well in any of the relays. He anchored the 4x1(100) and we got second. He anchored the 4x2 (200) and he won by about 15 meters. “He had a baseball game that night. He had to take his truck and made it with five minutes to spare to get to the bus in time for the baseball game. They went over to Irving and he hit the first pitch he saw about 50 feet over the right field wall.” A solid day’s work.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Shane Ray hit it out of the park.With less than a minute remaining in Missouri's 20-10 win against Kentucky on Nov. 1, the defensive end sacked Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles on fourth down. Ray then stood up and celebrated with a baseball swing like that of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.Tigers coach Gary Pinkel cheered from the sideline as teammates...
DE Shane Ray leads resilient Missouri defense
JAKE KREINBERG, Associated Press | Nov 13, 2014COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Shane Ray hit it out of the park. With less than a minute remaining in Missouri's 20-10 win against Kentucky on Nov. 1, the defensive end sacked Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles on fourth down. Ray then stood up and celebrated with a baseball swing like that of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. Tigers coach Gary Pinkel cheered from the sideline as teammates swarmed the junior, a Kansas City native who had recorded his 12th sack of the season — breaking the school record of 11 1/2 set by both Michael Sam and Aldon Smith. A few minutes later, Ray found and hugged his tearful mother in the stands, the person who persuaded him to take up football in high school because it might help keep him out of trouble. "It was just a crazy moment because of course my mom knows everything that we've been through together," Ray said. "Just to share that and to see her right after the game, it was kind of like a movie. It was nice." With at least four games left in Missouri's season, Ray wants to add to his record. He hopes to surpass Willie Evans' 15 sacks for Mississippi State in 2005, the most of any Southeastern Conference player in a season since the NCAA began keeping the statistic in 2000. The late Derrick Thomas owns the all-time league mark with 27 in 1988 for Alabama. Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who has watched seven of his players earn first-team all-conference honors in the last seven years at Missouri (7-2, 4-1 SEC), says Ray is the fastest defensive end he's had in 14 seasons with the Tigers. "Coming out of high school, would we have said this guy's going to break our sack record? Probably not," Kuligowski said. "But since he's been here, he's been an unbelievable competitor and hard worker, and just a pleasure to have around." Despite being 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds — "still a skinny kid," according to Kuligowski — Ray attributes his success to limiting distractions that could detract from his performance, such as NFL draft talk. That approach came from fellow defensive end Markus Golden, a senior with 4 1/2 sacks who helps keep opposing offenses honest. When Golden didn't play against Indiana because of a hamstring injury, the Hoosiers ran repeatedly to his side of the field, gaining 493 total yards in an upset win. With both Golden and Ray on the field, the Tigers have allowed 299.6 yards per game and an SEC-low 4.0 yards per play against league opponents. The team will be challenged to maintain those averages this week when it travels to Texas A&M (7-3, 3-3). Missouri will be without fifth-year safety Braylon Webb for the first half after his targeting penalty against Kentucky, and cornerback Aarion Penton remained indefinitely suspended after being arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana last week, Pinkel said. The coach didn't provide a direct answer when asked if Penton, who was arrested in March for the same offense, would play Saturday. "These are young guys," cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford said. "They all make mistakes, just like my kids. I try to treat them just like that. We move on and we learn from it." As for Ray, Pinkel called the player one of the "top five" competitors he's coached in his 38-year career. "It's a great visual aid for our team, because he's got a tremendous work ethic," Pinkel said. "'Just watch that guy, do what he does and you've got a chance to be as good as you can be.'"
Nov 13, 2014
Thomas’ high school coach said the quarterback will ‘do great’ as a first-time starter Saturday night against Texas Tech.
Oklahoma football: Cody Thomas has a calm demeanor in pressure situations
By Jason Kersey | Nov 13, 2014NORMAN — Mike Fuller isn’t concerned that Cody Thomas’ nerves will get the best of him this weekend, when the redshirt freshman quarterback leads Oklahoma’s offense into a hostile environment at Texas Tech. “I know he’s gonna do great,” said Fuller, Thomas’ coach at Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High School. Because of Trevor Knight’s lingering neck injury, Thomas will start his first career game under bright lights in a big stadium away from home. So why isn’t Fuller worried? He’s seen Thomas succeed in exactly those circumstances. Thomas made his first start behind center for Colleyville Heritage on Aug. 26, 2011, when his Panthers opened their season against Duncanville inside Dallas’ Cotton Bowl Stadium. The then-junior completed 60 percent of his passes, threw for nearly 300 yards and led Heritage to a 28-21 victory. “Cody kept his composure better than anybody I’ve ever coached,” Fuller said. “It didn’t matter if it was a scrimmage that didn’t mean anything or fourth-and-goal in a district game against a big rival, his demeanor never changed. He was the same cool, level-headed guy.” Thomas has completed seven of 16 pass attempts for 50 yards with an interception in limited action this season, but showed some of that composure in his one drive against Kansas State last month. When Knight had to briefly leave the game injured, Thomas came in and calmly led the Sooners down the field on a touchdown drive. He also made an impressive save late in the drive, when center Ty Darlington sent a shotgun snap high and to Thomas’ right. Thomas reached out with his right hand, snagged the errant snap and rushed for five yards to pick up a first down. Fuller credits Thomas’ proficiency in baseball for at least part of his calm, cool demeanor in all circumstances. “He’s used to being at the plate with the game on the line,” Fuller said. Thomas was picked in the 30th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He chose to pursue football instead of jumping right into professional baseball, although he has continued his career on the diamond as a rare two-sport college athlete. He appeared in 14 games as a true freshman on the OU baseball team last spring. Thomas has taken all the first-team repetitions at practice throughout the week while Knight sits out, recovering from a scary neck injury suffered in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s home loss to Baylor. Although X-rays and MRIs came back negative, Knight is still dealing with extreme pain. Thomas is a slightly different player than Knight — who is more of a dual-threat quarterback — so the Sooners’ plan of attack could look a little different Saturday in Lubbock. Thomas’ big arm is his most valuable asset; he threw for 3,407 yards, 38 touchdowns and only five interceptions as a senior at Colleyville Heritage. With Knight unavailable, senior Blake Bell — who switched positions to tight end in the offseason — will serve as Thomas’ emergency backup in Lubbock so the Sooners can avoid burning true freshman Justice Hansen’s redshirt season. Bell started eight games at quarterback a year ago, and came off the bench to lead the Sooners to a fourth-quarter rally and upset victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater last December. Asked earlier this week if Thomas is ready for his first major college football action, OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said, “Absolutely. Just who he is as a person, a competitor. He's extremely confident … That's a good step forward.”
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Shane Ray hit it out of the park.With less than a minute remaining in Missouri's 20-10 win against Kentucky on Nov. 1, the defensive end sacked Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles on fourth down. Ray then stood up and produced a celebratory baseball swing for all the world like that of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.Coach Gary Pinkel cheered from the sideline...
DE Ray leads resilient Missouri defense
JAKE KREINBERG, Associated Press | Nov 12, 2014COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Shane Ray hit it out of the park. With less than a minute remaining in Missouri's 20-10 win against Kentucky on Nov. 1, the defensive end sacked Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles on fourth down. Ray then stood up and produced a celebratory baseball swing for all the world like that of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. Coach Gary Pinkel cheered from the sideline as teammates swarmed the junior, a Kansas City native who had recorded his 12th sack of the season - breaking the Tigers record of 11.5 set by both Michael Sam and Aldon Smith. A few minutes later, Ray found and hugged his tearful mother in the stands, the person who persuaded him to take up football in high school because it might help keep him out of trouble. "It was just a crazy moment because of course my mom knows everything that we've been through together," Ray said. "Just to share that and to see her right after the game, it was kind of like a movie. It was nice." With at least four games left in Missouri's season, Ray wants to add to his new record. He hopes to surpass Willie Evans' 15 sacks for Mississippi State in 2005, the most of any Southeastern Conference player in a season since the NCAA began recording the statistic in 2000. The late Derrick Thomas owns the all-time league mark with 27 in 1988 for Alabama. Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who has watched seven of his players earn first-team all-conference honors in the last seven years at Missouri (7-2, 4-1 SEC), says Ray is the fastest defensive end he's had in 14 seasons with the Tigers. "Coming out of high school, would we have said this guy's going to break our sack record? Probably not," Kuligowski said. "But since he's been here, he's been an unbelievable competitor and hard worker, and just a pleasure to have around." Despite being 6-foot-3, 245-pounds - "still a skinny kid," according to Kuligowski - Ray attributes his success to limiting distractions that could detract from his performance, such as NFL draft talk. That approach came from fellow defensive end Markus Golden, a senior with 4.5 sacks who helps keep opposing offenses honest. When Golden didn't play against Indiana because of a hamstring injury, the Hoosiers ran repeatedly to his side of the field, gaining 493 total yards in an upset win. With both Golden and Ray on the field, the Tigers have allowed 299.6 yards per game and an SEC-low 4.0 yards per play against league opponents. The team will be challenged to maintain those averages this week as it travels to Texas A&M (7-3, 3-3). Missouri will be without fifth-year safety Braylon Webb for the first half after his targeting penalty against Kentucky, while cornerback Aarion Penton remained indefinitely suspended after being arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana last week, Pinkel said. The coach didn't provide a direct answer when asked if Penton, who was arrested in March for the same offense, would play Saturday. "These are young guys," cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford said. "They all make mistakes, just like my kids. I try to treat them just like that. We move on and we learn from it." As for Ray, Pinkel called the player one of the "top five" competitors he's coached in his 38-year career. "It's a great visual aid for our team, because he's got a tremendous work ethic," Pinkel said. "'Just watch that guy, do what he does and you've got a chance to be as good as you can be.'"
As an old point guard, Travis Ford might covet quality at the point above all positions.
National Signing Day notebook: OSU signs Jawun Evans, Igor Ibaka
By John Helsley, Ryan Aber, Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Nov 12, 2014As an old point guard, Travis Ford might covet quality at the point above all positions. So Wednesday was a good day for Ford and the Cowboys, who officially scored one of the nation's premier point guard prospects with the signing of Dallas standout Jawun Evans. A five-star rated recruit by Scout.com, Evans had been committed to Oklahoma State since early October. He made it official Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA's early signing period. OSU also announced the signing of power forward Igor Ibaka, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder standout Serge Ibaka, who is sitting out this year at junior college in hopes of having three seasons of eligibility at OSU. In Evans, the Cowboys get a playmaking point man known for his speed on the floor and for getting his teammates involved. As a junior a year ago, Evans led Kimball High School to the Texas Class 4A state title, averaging 22.4 points, 8.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game. “We throw the term pure point guard around a lot,” said ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, “but he's got all the attributes to be a classic college point guard.” Evans chose the Cowboys after whittling a long list of suitors to OSU, Illinois, Southern Cal and Texas. 7-FOOTER HIGHLIGHTS OU’S SIGNING CLASS Akolda Manyang, a 7-foot center from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, was one of three players that signed with Oklahoma’s men’s basketball team Wednesday. Manyang is the cousin of former Sooners center Longar Longar. Oklahoma also signed 6-foot-6 shooting guards Christian James of Houston Bellaire and Rashard Odomes of Copperas Cove, Texas. “Really good bunch of guys,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “A lot of upside, a lot of potential, lot of energy, enthusiasm. Good, long, rangy guys.” Manyang averaged 8.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season. Through two games this season, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. James averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds as a junior. He broke his tibia in August. Kruger said James is expected to return to the court later this season. Odomes averaged 26.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game. The Sooners have two seniors on the roster, D.J. Bennett and TaShawn Thomas. Thomas, though, could be back next year depending on how the NCAA rules on his appeal for immediate eligibility after transferring from Houston. Oklahoma is one under the scholarship limit right now. OSU GETS TWO LOCAL CATCHERS Carl Albert senior Corey Zangari, arguably the state’s top baseball player, signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday with Oklahoma State, becoming the Cowboys’ second catcher of the recruiting class. Joining Zangari is Edmond Memorial senior Colin Simpson, a standout catcher who is a career .404 hitter. Zangari might be the latest pro prospect to come from the Titans, who have won the past three Class 5A state championships. He could follow last year’s Player of the Year Gavin LaValley in the draft next summer, either as a pitcher or catcher. Zangari started on the mound in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field in August, throwing two scoreless innings and also competing in the home run derby. He was the catcher on The Oklahoman’s Big All-City team last season after hitting .505 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs. He has been clocked in the mid-upper 90s while possessing a sharp breaking ball on the mound. OU BASEBALL CLASS FILLED WITH MOORE NATIVES Oklahoma recruited well in its own backyard, signing four players from two Moore schools and one Norman North player. Westmoore standouts Hunter Southerland and Kyle Tyler both signed a National Letter of Intent, giving them an all-Sooners battery next spring. They may not be the only future Sooners on the team with junior DeShawn Lookout being verbally committed to OU as well. Tyler was electric last season, posting a 9-1 record with a 0.96 ERA to lead the Jaguars to the Class 6A semifinals. But OU didn’t stop there in Moore, signing both Dylan Grove and Blake Brewster from Moore High. Grove is a right-handed pitcher and Brewster is an outfielder. The Sooners also locked up Norman North’s Thomas Hughes, a pitcher and infielder. SOONERS ADD CHESTNUT, CLIFTON Both Jayden Chestnut of Mustang and Caleigh Clifton of Wayne have been committed to OU since their sophomore season. Now the softball standouts are officially signed with the Sooners, having signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. Chestnut, who led Mustang to the Class 6A state championship last month, is one of two pitchers signed by OU. She is joined by Brittany Finney of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita, Kan. “I’m very proud of Jayden and her continued growth as a pitcher,” OU coach Patty Gasso said in a release. “I'm especially proud of the way she finished her high school career as a state champion. Jayden will bring an added force to our mound and will turn some heads as a freshman.” Clifton led Wayne to the state championship in 2012 and helped her team to the semifinals this season. A natural shortstop, she is joined by three other infielders in the signing class. “Caleigh is a phenomenal athlete and a very good leader on the field," Gasso said. “She has a great sense for the game and is very instinctive. She has all the tools necessary to make a name for herself while at OU.” DAVIS SIGNS WITH TEXAS A&M Former Midwest City standout Joel Davis’ comeback story continued Wednesday when he signed to play baseball at Texas A&M. Davis was a standout for the Bombers on the football and baseball fields before graduating in 2013, but he missed his senior football season due to tearing his ulnar collateral ligament and undergoing Tommy John surgery two days before practice began. He was back on the baseball field that spring, serving as the designated hitter in the beginning of the season before returning to shortstop. He has since been at Seminole State. As a senior for the Bombers, Davis hit .451 with five home runs and 36 RBIs, earning a spot on The Oklahoman’s Big All-City first team. BRAD DALKE LEADS SOONERS’ STRONG GOLF CLASS OU golf coach Ryan Hybl pulled in three of the state’s top golfers on Wednesday, headed by long-time Sooner commit Brad Dalke. Verbally committed to OU since he was 12, Dalke has been a top junior player on the national scene for the last five years, and was recently named a Rolex Junior All-American for the third straight year. Dalke, the son of Hobart football coach and former OU linebacker Bill Dalke, would be classified as a junior this year, but on pace to graduate early and join the Sooners for the 2015-16 season. In addition, the Sooners signed Weatherford’s Quade Cummins, a former Class 4A state champion, and Norman North’s Thomas Johnson, who has twice finished in the top three at state in Class 6A.