Thomas Terriers football
|10 - 2||5 - 0||5 - 2||.833||377||164|
|2013-09-06||vs||Alva||W||28 - 21|
|2013-09-13||@||Okeene||W||14 - 0|
|2013-09-20||@||Carnegie||W||40 - 13|
|2013-09-27||vs||Burns Flat-Dill City||W||40 - 6|
|2013-10-04||vs||Apache||W||43 - 32|
|2013-10-11||@||Sayre||W||47 - 0|
|2013-10-17||@||Hollis||L||15 - 40|
|2013-10-25||vs||Cordell||W||49 - 13|
|2013-11-01||@||Snyder||W||15 - 0|
|2013-11-08||@||Mangum||W||44 - 18|
|2013-11-15||vs||Texhoma||W||28 - 0|
|2013-11-23||@||Ringling||L||14 - 21|
|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
Jan 18, 2015
New offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley wants to keep quarterbacks healthy.
Oklahoma football: Quarterbacks' job will be to lead and distribute
By Jason Kersey | Jan 18, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made it clear from the beginning that he would allow his new offensive coordinator to run their system. Stoops also said his hiring of Lincoln Riley stemmed from his desire to get back to running the Air Raid offense that made his teams so successful in the past. Where does that leave the quarterback run game that OU tried to hard to implement the past two seasons? “We’ve used it a little bit,” Riley said Saturday at his introductory news conference. The Sooners tried hard to make the zone read option an integral piece of their offensive attack beginning in 2013 — only months after Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel used his mobility to dominate OU in the Cotton Bowl. It’s a big reason why Trevor Knight beat out Blake Bell for the starting quarterback job before that season began. But the quarterback run game never quite took off the way OU coaches imagined it would. Knight sometimes struggled with his reads. OU coaches also were hesitant to run Knight very much early last season for fear of injury. Those fears have been validated, too. Knight has left three games with injuries to his knee, shoulder and neck. “I wanna keep those guys healthy,” Riley said. “Their number one job is gonna be to lead and distribute. I do think there’s a time and place for it. “We’ll look at our personnel and see what we have. If that fits us a little bit, we’ll look to it.” In five seasons as East Carolina’s offensive coordinator, quarterbacks rushed for 41 touchdowns, but never averaged more than one or two yards per carry. All four of the quarterbacks on the Sooners’ roster have the ability to run with the football. Knight is fast and athletic; sophomore Cody Thomas rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown at Texas Tech last season; junior Baker Mayfield showed some mobility during his one season of action at Texas Tech in 2013; and redshirt freshman Justice Hansen made lots of plays with his feet at Edmond Santa Fe High School. Because Mayfield played in a system like Riley’s at Texas Tech, some have said he might have an edge in the upcoming quarterback battle, especially with Knight’s inconsistent play last season. Riley, though, praised all of the quarterbacks he’s inheriting. “I got a chance to watch Baker as a freshman at Texas Tech,” Riley said. “We tried to get him at East Carolina when he left. He’s a very good player. “We’re gonna be very blessed in that quarterback room. … We have what we need in that room to be successful. We have to get it implemented and get those guys coached. I’m excited about Baker and all the guys in that room.”
Jan 17, 2015
The only native Oklahoman to score a Super Bowl touchdown hasn’t forgotten Marlow, the town where he grew up. Hard to forget when you moved back there, and raised your kids there, and live there still, driving two minutes to work even on the days when traffic is heavy. And this week, a street was renamed after him.
Why former Oklahoma State, NFL player Terry Brown still loves and lives in his hometown of Marlow
BY BERRY TRAMEL | Jan 17, 2015Terry Brown’s buddies were giving him the business Wednesday at the Marlow Lions Club meeting. Brown’s hometown had renamed a stretch of South 7th Street. Terry Brown Avenue now runs a couple of blocks alongside Outlaw Stadium. Brown shut them up by telling his pals to be careful, else he’d put up a toll booth. It was an empty threat. This half-a-century relationship between a man and his hometown has been about giving, not taking. A toll booth on Terry Brown Avenue would hand out quarters, not require them for passage. The only native Oklahoman to score a Super Bowl touchdown hasn’t forgotten where he grew up. Hard to forget when you moved back there, and raised your kids there, and live there still, driving two minutes to work even on the days when traffic is heavy. “I loved the community,” said Brown, a 1965 Marlow High School graduate. “When they do things, they do it right.” A Christmas parade. A Fourth of July parade. Fireworks displays that rival far bigger cities than this town of 4,662 in Stephens County, between Duncan and Chickasha on Highway 81. The community loves Brown back. He’s been in business for 35 years, the State Farm Insurance agency on North Broadway. Been a civic leader and a contributor to causes and the radio voice of Outlaw football for three decades. A Minnesota Viking safety from 1972-75, the glory days of Bud Grant. Played in two Super Bowls. Recovered a fumble for a touchdown in Super Bowl IX, the Vikes’ 16-6 lost to the Steelers. Minneapolis is a nice place. Brown was a hero. When he finished his football career with the ’76 Cleveland Browns, Brown could have chosen to live anywhere. He picked Marlow. Here’s why. In 1961, John Junior Brown moved his family from Walters to Marlow, to take a job as head electrician for the city. His wife, Kate, saw after their three children. Karen, Jim and Terry. Karen had just graduated high school and was on her way to Central State College. Jim was a high school sophomore, Terry a freshman. The Brown brothers jumped into athletics, but “I don’t think they expected much out of us,” Terry Brown said. One coach suggested they’d make good managers. Might have been a little motivation. In 1964, tragedy struck. John Junior Brown, 43 years old, underwent open heart surgery to repair a valve. He never got off his back and he never woke up. Brown died of pneumonia three weeks later. Kate Brown took a job in a laundry at Fort Sill, about 25 miles to the west. Terry got a job at the Marlow Review, pouring lead in those prehistoric printing days, and building advertisements, often a letter at a time. Kate wasn’t sure she wanted her boys to play football. Marlow coach Sevil Pickett was Old School. A great coach — Marlow won the 1959 state championship — but Old School. “Coach Pickett had a reputation in southern Oklahoma as a tough, no-nonsense, rough-talking, stern, taskmaster,” said Mickey Hoy, who grew up in Marlow, became a high school football coach himself, coaching Davis to two state championships, and recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with the former Karen Brown. For the Brown brothers, Sevil Pickett stepped into the void created by the loss of their father. “Coach Pickett was a great coach,” Terry Brown said. “Back then, they coached a little different. He was pretty tough. But he had a way of getting the most out of you. He was almost like a dad to us.” Pickett consoled Kate and her grieving sons. He was there when their house burned. There when Terry Brown needed advice for college. There to offer an idea that changed Brown’s life. Before Brown’s senior season, he was called to Pickett’s office. Brown had been an end in Marlow’s single wing. Pickett wanted to move Brown to fullback. “He knew something I didn’t know,” Brown said. The move ignited the Outlaws. They beat Bixby for the 1964 state championship and Brown became a star. He drew a variety of scholarship offers. Even asked Pickett where he should go. Pickett wouldn’t say. Pickett had played at Oklahoma A&M in the 1930s but didn’t want to steer his young charge one way or the other. But Brown indeed chose Stillwater, playing for Phil Cutchin at OSU, then getting chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 1969 NFL Draft. Soon enough, Brown was a Viking. And just as soon as he could, Brown and his wife, Ann, returned to Marlow with children Kristen, Suzzane and Greg. “He could have moved anywhere in the world, but he chose to come back and raise his family there, because he liked what it was all about,” said Greg Brown. “He’s had his business there. Supported things financially as well as supporting everything in the town. Just been a mainstay in the town for a really long time.” And so last Monday, Terry Brown’s hometown gathered to honor him. A couple of former Sooners, Chuck Bowman and Clendon Thomas, made the trip. So did former Cowboy Derrel Gofourth. And OSU associate athletic directors Larry Reece and Kevin Klintworth. The family of Brown’s OSU quarterback, Bob Cutburth, was there. So was the widow of Wally Hilgenberg, the great old Minnesota linebacker who died in 2008 of Lou Gehrig’s disease. “It turned out quite a deal,” Terry Brown said. “Marlow does things right.” Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Jan 13, 2015
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marcus Mariota's season ended without the honor that mattered to him most. Now Oregon waits to see if he will be back for another try.Going into Monday night's game against Ohio State, the standout junior quarterback said he would trade the Heisman Trophy he won this season for a national championship because the team honor was more important to him.Instead, the Buckeyes...
The Ducks fall in what may be Mariota's last game
By ANNE M. PETERSON, Associated Press | Jan 13, 2015ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marcus Mariota's season ended without the honor that mattered to him most. Now Oregon waits to see if he will be back for another try. Going into Monday night's game against Ohio State, the standout junior quarterback said he would trade the Heisman Trophy he won this season for a national championship because the team honor was more important to him. Instead, the Buckeyes bottled up Mariota and overpowered the Ducks for a 42-20 victory in the first College Football Playoff championship. It may have been Mariota's final game at Oregon. He has until Thursday to decide if he will skip his senior season and declare for the NFL draft. Mariota, who has already completed his degree, is expected to be a top pick. Did the devastating loss change his mind about coming back? "I'm sure it will weigh in a little bit, but there's a lot of other things that have to play into that decision," he said. "There's starting grad school, coming back for another year to improve, there's a lot of other things that could bring me back. It's just not specifically this loss." Despite the loss, the soft-spoken, lead-by-example team leader had a stellar season. In addition to the Heisman, Mariota was named AP Player of the Year and the Pac-12's offensive player of the year and a slew of other awards. He set conference records for most touchdowns in a single season with 58. He had 42 via pass, 15 on the run and a touchdown catch. He has also set the conference mark for career touchdowns with 134. He has also thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 41 games he has started in his career, the second-longest streak in NCAA history behind Marshall's Rakeem Cato (46). And he's one of four quarterbacks in FBS history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and run for more than 2,000 in his career. Not that any of that mattered much to Mariota on this night. "My main focus was to be a great teammate. That's all I hoped to accomplish," he said. "I don't care about legacies." All season his bold moves on the field belied his shy demeanor off it. Against Wyoming he flipped into the end zone for a touchdown, and against Arizona he caught a touchdown pass from running back Royce Freeman. "The impact he's had on the field is extremely significant," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "Off the field, probably even bigger." Senior center Hroniss Grasu said he'll miss his good friend. Last season both Grasu and Mariota decided they'd return to the Ducks for another year. "He's just an unbelievable leader. Unbelievable guy. Unbelievable person," Grasu said. "Anyone can learn from that guy because of the way he handles everything that's thrown at him, the way he handles the success, the way he handles the attention. Nothing fazes him." But Mariota faced challenges against Ohio State. Oregon's receiver corps was hit earlier in the week when redshirt freshman Darren Carrington was declared ineligible for the game because of a failed NCAA drug test. Carrington did not travel to Texas for the biggest game of the season. The team had already lost freshman receiver Devon Allen, who also runs on Oregon's track team, on the opening kickoff of the Ducks' 59-20 victory over Florida State in the Rose Bowl. Junior tight end Pharaoh Brown had six touchdown catches for the Ducks this season before he sustained a season-ending knee injury against Utah. And before the season started, junior receiver Bralon Addison tore a ligament in his left knee. That left Oregon, which regularly uses three- and four-receiver formations, with just Dwayne Stanford, Keanon Lowe, Charles Nelson and converted running back Byron Marshall. While Mariota found Lowe on Oregon's opening drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass, both Nelson and Stanford dropped third-down passes in the first half and the Ducks trailed 21-10. He seemed to find more of a groove with his receivers as the game wore on, hitting Marshall with a 70-yard scoring pass to close the gap to 21-17 in the third quarter. Oregon got closer with Aiden Schneider's 23-yard field goal. Ezekiel Elliott answered the threat with a pair of rushing touchdown to put Ohio State up 35-20 and Oregon couldn't catch up. "It's tough. It happens. It's a part of football," Mariota said about the injuries. "But I thought that the guys who played stepped up and made plays." Mariota found ways all season to overcome injuries. Oregon's best offensive lineman, tackle Tyler Johnstone, injured his knee before the season started and was done for the year. Fellow O-linemen Andre Yruretagoyena and Jake Fisher also missed games and running back Thomas Tyner was hampered by shoulder and ankle issues. With the exception of the lone loss this season to Arizona, the Ducks kept winning thanks to the dual-threat quarterback's savvy and elusiveness. But ultimately it wasn't enough against the bigger and stronger Buckeyes. Mariota finished with 333 yards passing and two touchdowns and his final attempt of the game was an interception when the game was out of reach. "This is a family. I'm truly grateful for all of them. And everything that we've accomplished this season, it says a lot about these guys," Mariota said. "I feel truly blessed." Oregon has never won a national championship. The Ducks' last appearance in the title game was following the 2010 season, when Mariota was a senior at St. Louis High School in Honolulu. Oregon fell to Auburn 22-19.
Jan 9, 2015
Baylor, Texas Tech, Tulsa, North Texas and Houston are also pursuing Daniel. With only three weekends remaining before National Signing Day on Feb. 4, Daniel has a limited amount of time to visit the campuses of the schools he’s considering.
High school notebook: Ringling's Riley Daniel receives K-State offer
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Jan 9, 2015Time is winding down on college football recruiting for the 2015 class, and another Big 12 program has entered the competition for Ringling offensive lineman Riley Daniel. Kansas State offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle prospect on Friday. Baylor, Texas Tech, Tulsa, North Texas and Houston are also pursuing Daniel. With only three weekends remaining before National Signing Day on Feb. 4, Daniel has a limited amount of time to visit the campuses of the schools he’s considering. “I’m not sure what he’ll be able to squeeze in,” Daniel’s father, Brent, said Friday. Daniel is a top-15 prospect in The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings and was a first-team All-State selection. He is part of the state’s elite offensive line class, the top three of whom have yet to finalize their college decisions. Along with Daniel, Casady’s Josh Wariboko-Alali and Lawton’s Jalin Barnett are still weighing their options. Barnett is choosing between Oklahoma State and Nebraska, while Wariboko-Alali will announce his decision between Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA on Signing Day. FERGUSON JENKINS, MICHELE SMITH AWARD WINNERS NAMED Warren Spahn Award Gala organizers announced Thursday the winners of the annual Ferguson Jenkins Outstanding Student Athlete Award and the Michele Smith Outstanding Student Athlete Award. The awards are presented to the state’s top high school baseball and softball players and coaches. The baseball winners include Thomas Hughes of Norman North, Keegan Meyn of Yukon, Trevor McCutchin of Owasso, Kyle Tyler of Westmoore and Corey Zangari of Carl Albert. The baseball coach being honored is Carl Albert’s Wayne Dozier. The softball winners include Michelle Brandon of Piedmont, Jayden Chestnut of Mustang, Caleigh Clifton of Wayne,Berkley Faulkner of Duncan and Kristen Prieto of Moore. The softball coach being honored is Newcastle’s Mike Crossley. The Ferguson Jenkins Award is presented in honor of baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins. The Michele Smith Award is named for former Olympic pitcher and Oklahoma State All-American Michele Smith, who is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The awards will be presented as part of the Warren Spahn Award Gala on Jan. 14 at the Jim Thorpe Museum & Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw will also receive the Warren Spahn Award, which is presented to the best left-hander in Major League Baseball in honor of Oklahoman and Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. FORMER BROKEN ARROW STAR TRANSFERRING TO TCU After just one semester, former Broken Arrow standout and The Oklahoman’s Super 5 Player of the Year Toree Thompson is transferring from Ole Miss to TCU. TCU announced Tuesday that Thompson had signed a financial agreement and will enroll for the spring semester, but she won’t be eligible to play until sometime next season. She told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that part of her decision to transfer was based on the chance to play in a Power 5 conference closer to home. “I get to be coached by a great coach and directed by a great staff that has a lot of professional experience, and I’ll be exposed to a family-oriented environment with quality people,” she told the newspaper. The 5-foot-10 Thompson started nine games last semester for Ole Miss, averaging 6.8 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds. She scored a career-high 23 points against Utah. As a senior at Broken Arrow last season, Thompson led the Tigers to the Class 6A championship, averaging 21.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. SAND SPRINGS’ WALDEN WINS GATORADE AWARD Sand Springs runner Cheyenne Walden was named the Gatorade Oklahoma Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, the organization announced this week. The sophomore won the Class 6A individual state title in the fall with a record time of 17:56.3. Norman North’s Ben Barrett was named the boys award winner last month.
Jan 5, 2015
Former Oklahoma A&M star running back and Thomas coach Kenneth Roof died Saturday. He was 90. Roof was a four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in track for Oklahoma A&M — now known as Oklahoma State — before becoming the most successful coach in Thomas’ history. As an assistant and head coach for […]
Former Oklahoma A&M star, Thomas football coach Kenneth Roof dies
Jacob Unruh | Jan 5, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2015/01/Kenneth-Roof.jpg]3535076[/img] Former Oklahoma A&M star running back and Thomas coach Kenneth Roof died Saturday. He was 90. Roof was a four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in track for Oklahoma A&M -- now known as Oklahoma State -- before becoming the most successful coach in Thomas' history. As an assistant and head coach for the Terriers, he led the team to seven state football championships and 35 district titles over 37 years. The Terriers even won three straight titles from 1955-1957. They have also won just three championships -- including this season -- since his tenure. Roof, who was just 5-foot-10 and 168 pounds as a senior, was named to The Oklahoman's All-State team in 1942 after rushing for 1,100 yards. Thomas lost just one football game his entire playing career. Following high school, he became All-American Bob Fenimore's successor in the backfield, where he set the school record for yards per carry (7.56) for a single season in 1947. That record stood at OSU until Barry Sanders topped the mark. Roof was also the first Oklahoma high school athlete to win four individual events at a state track meet. More on Roof: Roof returned home as coach to help start Thomas dynasty
Roof was a four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in track for Oklahoma A&M — now known as Oklahoma State — before becoming the most successful coach in Thomas’ history.
High school notebook: Former Oklahoma A&M player, Thomas coach Kenneth Roof dies
By Jacob Unruh and Scott Wright | Jan 5, 2015Former Oklahoma A&M star running back and Thomas coach Kenneth Roof died Saturday. He was 90. Roof was a four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in track for Oklahoma A&M — now known as Oklahoma State — before becoming the most successful coach in Thomas’ history. As an assistant and head coach for the Terriers, he led the team to seven state football championships and 35 district titles over 37 years. The Terriers even won three straight state titles from 1955-1957. They have won just three championships — including this season — since his tenure. Roof, who was just 5-foot-10 and 168 pounds as a senior, was named to The Oklahoman’s All-State team in 1942 after rushing for 1,100 yards. Thomas lost just one football game his entire playing career. Following high school, he became All-American Bob Fenimore’s successor in the backfield, where he set the school record for yards per carry (7.56) for a single season in 1947. That record stood at OSU until Barry Sanders topped the mark. Roof was also the first Oklahoma high school athlete to win four individual events at a state track meet. STAR SPENCER TO RENAME FIELDHOUSE TO HONOR JOHNSONS Star Spencer will honor a pair of legendary Bobcat basketball coaches when it renames its gym the Johnson and Johnson Fieldhouse. The two coaches who will have their names on the south face of the fieldhouse are former Star Spencer girls coach Janith Johnson, and former boys coach Johnnie Johnson, who combined to coach a total of 57 seasons and nine state titles. Janith Johnson coached the Bobcat girls for 33 years, ending in 2011 with two state titles as head coach and two more before that, while she was still an assistant. Johnnie Johnson led the boys team for 24 seasons, winning seven state titles, including four straight from 1976-79. Star Spencer will hold a ceremony honoring both coaches at halftime of the boys game vs. Centennial, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13. Former players, coaches and the Spencer community are invited to celebrate the historic event. The game also coincides with the teams’ Pink Out night for breast cancer awareness, so anyone attending is encouraged to wear pink.
Jan 4, 2015
Oklahoma’s senior forward is a native Texan, but he describes his feeling about the Longhorns pretty succinctly, using the word “hatred.”
Oklahoma basketball: Sooners newcomer TaShawn Thomas has a dislike for Texas
Ryan Aber | Jan 4, 2015AUSTIN, Texas — When TaShawn Thomas arrived in Norman over the summer after transferring from Houston, he came with a strong feeling about Texas that’s familiar to plenty of Sooners. Oklahoma’s senior forward describes his feeling about the Longhorns pretty succinctly, using the word “hatred.” Monday, Thomas makes his first trip to Austin as a member of the Sooners carrying that feeling with him. The No. 18 Sooners play No. 11 Austin at 8 p.m. at Texas’ Frank Erwin Center. Thomas grew up in Killeen, Texas, about an hour north of Austin. “It’s gonna be crazy,” Thomas said. “When I was in high school, a lot of my games were in Austin. “I’m gonna have a lot of family and friends there. It’s gonna feel kind of like a high school game with way more competition. I’m ready to be out there and close to home — basically home.” Like plenty of other kids in the area, Thomas grew up a Longhorns fan, though that fandom had more to do with Texas football than basketball. Thomas said he was a fan of the Longhorns when Vince Young was Texas’ quarterback. “When I got older and colleges started looking at me, I started shying away from them,” Thomas said. “When I got to college, I started hating Texas — especially after my sophomore year. That’s when the hatred kind of started.” That started at the end of his sophomore year, when Thomas’ Cougars were paired with Texas in the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament. “It was a real physical game with a lot of trash talking,” Thomas said. “A lot of people on their team at the time were from Houston. It was just hectic.” Houston won the game, 73-72, thanks to 15 points and 10 rebounds from Thomas. Still, because of his earlier Texas allegiance, considering a transfer to Oklahoma was a bit strange at first. But assistant Lew Hill soon convinced Thomas that the best fit for him was in Norman. It’s worked out well for both sides. The night before the season opener, Thomas was ruled immediately eligible by the NCAA. There have been some growing pains, especially on offense, as Oklahoma learned to play with the 6-foot-8 forward. But Thomas has proven a strong complement to Ryan Spangler inside and the solid outside play that the Sooners returned from last year’s NCAA Tournament team. In his Big 12 debut Saturday, Thomas scored 24 points in OU’s win over Baylor. Thomas said the win over Texas two years ago — and a game against Texas Tech last season — helped him gauge what it will be like to play in the Big 12. “Both of those games were very physical,” Thomas said. “I’m getting myself prepared that that’s how it’s going to be in the whole conference.”
Oklahoma State football: Who might fill the Cowboys' running back needs in the 2015 recruiting class?Dec 28, 2014
Since Ronald Jones — a four-star rated prospect from McKinney North High School (Texas) who committed to OSU in April — reopened his options earlier this month, the Cowboys are in need of at least one more running back
Oklahoma State football: Who might fill the Cowboys' running back needs in the 2015 recruiting class?
By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | Dec 28, 2014No position on the Oklahoma State depth chart is more wide open entering 2015 than running back. Senior Desmond Roland will play his final game against Washington on Friday in the Cactus Bowl. Two tailback signees from last year’s recruiting class — Tyreek Hill and Devon Thomas — are gone with off-field issues. In April, four-star rated running back Ronald Jones of McKinney North High School (Texas) committed to the Cowboys. But on Dec. 14, Jones announced on Twitter that he was opening up his options. ESPN recruiting analyst Damon Sayles reports Jones will chose between Notre Dame and USC during the Under Armor All-American game the same day OSU takes on Washington. Next season, OSU returns sophomore Rennie Childs, freshman Sione Palelei and walk-on junior Raymond Taylor in the offensive backfield. But with just over a month until National Signing Day, the Cowboys are without a true running back in their 2015 class. Here’s a closer look at a few players who have yet to suit up in Stillwater that might help fill the tailback void moving forward. ATH Todd Mays (East Mississippi CC) Mays is seemingly the only current 2015 commitment who might find himself in the offensive backfield, as he rushed for 400 yards on 69 carries. But his use at OSU is uncertain. Mays completed 15 passes at quarterback last year and also hauled in 200 yards receiving. Quotable: “I was really excited when they offered. It's another offense similar to ours here. They have a lot of offensive play-makers and do a lot of different things. I am excited about going there and seeing where I can fit in.” — Mays (The Dispatch newspaper, Oct. 28) RB Chris Warren (Rockwall HS, Texas) Warren, the son of former NFL all-pro running back Chris Warren, is a four-star rated recruit who ranks No. 102 on the ESPN 300. He holds scholarship offers from more than 20 top programs from across the nation; including Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma. On Dec. 6, Warren tweeted that OSU, Texas, Texas Tech and Washington were in his top four. And Sayles reports Warren has scheduled an official visit to Stillwater on Jan. 16. Quotable: “It was frustrating after the injury last year, but I knew that I could either come back better or come back worse. That was the only decision.” — Warren following a 176-yard rushing, two touchdown performance (The Dallas Morning News, Sept. 12) RB Tyreik Gray (Lamar HS, Texas) When Gray unveiled his top-three schools Dec. 11 on Twitter, OSU was not included. But the three-star rated recruit has medium interest in the Cowboys, according to Scout.com. And if a chance to contribute immediately is important, OSU might have a chance to land Gray late. Quotable: “Tyreik has exceptional speed … because of his athletic ability, we might play two backs or move Tyreik to wide receiver.” — Lamar coach Tom Nolen (The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 19)
Dec 25, 2014
The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season.
Oklahoma football notebook: Steven Parker, Jordan Thomas still adjusting
BY JASON KERSEY AND RYAN ABER | Dec 25, 2014Oklahoma’s defensive backfield has struggled mightily at times this season. The Sooners rank ninth in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense, allowing an average of 272.7 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. A lot of those problems, though, can be attributed to several young, inexperienced guys playing in Oklahoma’s secondary. The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season. “I think it’s been an eye-opening experience,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Parker and Thomas. “I don’t have any question that both those freshmen have the possibilities of being All-Americans when they leave here if they progress and work hard and be competitive. They both have shown they can compete at this level.” Thomas said that the biggest adjustment for him this year has been the fact that everyone on this level — unlike in high school — is a great athlete. “Everyone out there knows the game just as good as you do or better,” Thomas said. “The speed is entirely different. Everyone is just as strong, just as big, just as fast if not bigger, faster and stronger. That was the one thing I had to cope with the most. Just getting adjusted to the bigger and better players.” NORVELL TALKS WR DEPARTURES Oklahoma’s wide receivers have been among the most disappointing position group of the 2014 season, with junior Sterling Shepard being the only wideout to be consistently productive. Adding to that difficultly, though, has been the untimely departure of a couple talented young receivers. Redshirt freshman Dannon Cavil and junior Derrick Woods both left the team this year. Cavil, who never made a game appearance in Norman, announced his departure in the middle of the season, while Woods was dismissed from the team earlier this month. “Every year there are challenges,” said receivers coach Jay Norvell. “You never want to lose anybody. We want to help all of these players improve and reach their goals. It’s a competitive environment. College football is that way, whatever school you’re at. It’s unfortunate if it doesn’t work out, but that’s life. Life is hard. “You have ups and downs and you have to work your way through it. Some guys just choose a different route. That’s their prerogative. You’ve just gotta keep working through it.” QUOTABLE Mike Stoops, on facing Brent Venables: “It’s never about us; it’s about our programs and getting our players to play and do what they have to do to play well. … This game is very difficult. The longer you’re in it the more you respect the people and the way they go about their business and the way they do things. Brent has been first-class ever since I first met him.”
A brutal hit while having a punt blocked sidelined San Diego's Mike Scifres with a broken left collarbone.In came placekicker Nick Novak, charged with one of the most important roles in special teams. He hadn't punted since high school and barely practices it as a pro.Yet he was more than comfortable with the challenge."I can do it," Novak said after punts of 27, 33, 45, 51, 46 and 38 yards in...
Placekickers who punt, punters who place-kick
By BARRY WILNER, Associated Press | Dec 24, 2014A brutal hit while having a punt blocked sidelined San Diego's Mike Scifres with a broken left collarbone. In came placekicker Nick Novak, charged with one of the most important roles in special teams. He hadn't punted since high school and barely practices it as a pro. Yet he was more than comfortable with the challenge. "I can do it," Novak said after punts of 27, 33, 45, 51, 46 and 38 yards in the loss to New England on Dec. 7. "I can't do it on Mike's level, but I feel I can certainly get the job done. The pressure's not there, because I'm sure the expectation is, just catch it and kick it and get it out. ... If you mess up, 'Well, he doesn't punt.' If he does well, it's more of a 'Wow' kind of thing. "There really was no pressure there." Ah, but usually there is tons of pressure on a placekicker replacing a punter in a game, and vice versa. The only similarities between the jobs are that both players make a living with their foot, and their specialties are critical to field position and scoring. Because there are so many differences in the mechanics of each job, rarely do the kickers and punters practice the other's role. "Punting's very linear, and your swing is more straight up and through the ball," explained Minnesota field goal kicker Blair Walsh. "Kicking, you're coming around it a little bit more and you're worried about a plant." Still, as a pro, Walsh has studied what the Vikings' Jeff Locke and other NFL punters do, and believes he could handle the assignment. He even spends some time on Fridays working on punting. "You could use the similarities between the two, whether it's locking your foot out or having an explosive motion through it," he said, adding that "overdoing it" must be avoided. "There's definitely similarities you could carry over to each position to make you successful at both," Walsh said. "I've been around it long enough where I've seen a lot of good punters do the right technique, so you sort of emulate it a little bit in your mind. "But I think the biggest thing would just be getting used to the live rush coming at you." Indeed, the rush to get to the punter is a sprint, entirely different and probably more dangerous than attempts to block field goals. While NFL coaching staffs and personnel people try to account for all situations, an in-game injury or illness to a placekicker or punter often falls outside their preparation. San Diego was extremely fortunate that Novak was so successful; the Chargers have a similar history because Scifres did the placement work in the 2011 opener when Nick Kaeding injured his knee. That's also how Novak wound up in San Diego. Generally, though, it's a desperate spot when one of those guys goes down in a game. "I was 70 percent in college, which is plenty enough to get you cut in the NFL," Saints punter Thomas Morstead said of his placekicking. "But I'd be a very serviceable backup, I would think, if they need me in a pinch. "I can kick it a long ways, but whether it goes between the sticks, you know. ..." There's the rub. "They're so different, but I'm going to say it's probably more difficult filling in as a field goal kicker just because there's not much room for error," Jets punter Ryan Quigley said. "Punting, you've got the whole field to work with. It's like, when you're punting, you can just say, 'OK, we're going to punt it down the middle and hopefully it stays in bounds and you get a good 40 yards out of it.'" Punters and placekickers find good reasons not to practice the other guy's art. San Francisco's Phil Dawson, now in his 16th season making field goals and extra points, works on punting occasionally. He notes "the more I do it, the worse I get." But he points out with a sharp jab that punter Andy Lee trying Dawson's specialty "would be worse." Some teams even had other players as the backup punter or placekicker. On the Saints, it's second-string quarterback Luke McCown behind Morstead. For Philadelphia, wide receiver Riley Cooper backs up placekicker Cody Parkey. Perhaps the patron saint of replacement kickers is Craig Hentrich, who punted for 16 NFL seasons. Hentrich was a standout at both jobs at Notre Dame, won a Super Bowl as a punter with Green Bay and played in another with Tennessee. He went 3 for 3 on field goals of 49, 34 and 33 yards in the 2003 opener after placekicker Joe Nedney suffered a season-ending knee injury. Hentrich hadn't made a field goal since 1995. "I've seen some punters, actually, step in and have good games kicking when the kicker went down. The most noticeable I've ever seen is ... Hentrich," Saints placekicker Shayne Graham said. "But he was also a respected kicker at Notre Dame in college because he did both, so he had the background for it." Nobody does both in the NFL anymore, except in a pinch. So if Quigley gets called on to replace Folk during Sunday's finale, what's his philosophy? "Shoot, I'd tell them to back it up and put me out there from anywhere," he said with a laugh. "Nah, that's the way I think because I'd just crank it and use my leg strength. But who knows where it's going? ___ AP Pro Football Writers Teresa M. Walker, Dave Campbell and Rob Maaddi, and Sports Writers Janie McCauley, Joe Kay, Dennis Waszak Jr., Bernie Wilson and Brett Martel contributed to this story. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Dec 22, 2014
NORMAN — The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don’t feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners — widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff — finished the […]
OU football: Jason Kersey's favorite Sooner stories from 2014
Jason Kersey | Dec 22, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Samaje.jpg]3524433[/img] NORMAN -- The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don't feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners -- widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff -- finished the regular season 8-4 and are preparing for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Clemson next week. But the year had plenty of positives around OU football as well, and this blog post will highlight some of them. I've compiled a list of links to my favorite stories I wrote during the 2014 calendar year. These aren't breaking news stories; they are simply the stories I enjoyed working on the most, and I've tried to keep it positive. Consider it my Christmas gift to our readers who happen to be OU fans. [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Trevor-Knight.jpg]3524431[/img] FRIDAY, JAN. 3: Oklahoma stuns Alabama with 45-31 upset victory in the Sugar Bowl Quotable -- Bob Stoops' mother, Dee, on her initial reaction when she found out the Sooners would face Alabama: "I said, 'Oh no.' But I feel very confident in Bobby’s body of work, so I’m not counting the Sooners out." SUNDAY, JAN. 12: The Collected Wisdom of former OU center Bubba Burcham Quotable -- Burcham, on his decision to quit coaching at Coweta High School and enter the ministry: "God puts a path for a man to do something, and you have to follow that path. I couldn’t deny what God was doing in my heart. So I jumped off the school bus." THURSDAY, FEB. 6: Georgia offensive lineman Orlando Brown the biggest -- literally and figuratively -- surprise for Oklahoma Quotable -- Brown, on his maturation through high school: "Through it all, I feel I kept a level head. I stayed humble. I worked hard. I feel as though this Oklahoma opportunity definitely shows that it paid off." SUNDAY, FEB. 9: A closer look at what went into Blake Bell’s decision to move to tight end Quotable -- Former OU center Gabe Ikard, on why Bell changed positions: "He did this for himself, but he also did this because it is the best thing for the team. He loves being at OU; didn’t want to leave the friendships he has established in Norman; and wanted to have an opportunity to play for a national championship next year." SUNDAY, MARCH 16: Trevor Knight taking his newfound fame in stride. Quotable -- Trevor's mom, Tricia Knight, on her son: "I always tell my friends that he makes me a better person, just by listening to the things he says. He's a very humble kid, and that's the way we raised him. He knows that life is gonna have his ups and downs, and he got to really experience that -- probably for the first time in his life -- last year. It builds character and it made him a better person." SATURDAY, APRIL 12: How Trevor Knight’s positivity and support helped his father through cancer treatments Quotable -- LaDonna Sutherland, the nurse who cared for George Knight throughout his cancer treatments, on the Sugar Bowl: "It was the best ending to the story, to have that finally come to fruition. George is just so proud of the boys. He just beamed when they walked in. I can tell you I've never seen it before as a nurse, the way those boys look at their dad. Trevor was there during his dad's worst times, and I genuinely think it was a big, huge part of pulling George through." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Jaz.jpg]3524435[/img] WEDNESDAY, MAY 7: Jaz Reynolds praises Bob Stoops in extensive interview about his past -- and his future Quotable -- Reynolds, on Bob Stoops giving him several chances: "That's Coach Stoops for you. He's a good coach, but he's a better man. He understands that people make mistakes. I say the same thing to everybody, I'm just happy that Coach Stoops is who he is and gave me a second chance to come back, even though I didn't deserve it. Honestly, that was the second time I'd been suspended. If I was to do that at any other school, I'm pretty sure they would've been done with me." FRIDAY, MAY 9: Aaron Colvin’s family supported him through tough stretch Quotable -- Colvin, on his parents: "I couldn’t ask for better parents, period. Their mentality, their mindset makes me stronger because they're just so strong-willed. They don't let many things affect them or get them down, and if they do, they're not gonna show it." SUNDAY, JUNE 15: Blake Bell’s resilience, flexibility resonate with residents from his hometown of Wichita Quotable -- Johnnie Bell, Blake's 87-year-old grandfather, on Blake: "He's been blessed with a frame of mind that is pretty much on the happy side. He always looked on the better side of things. He was always proper. In fact, I think he handled (last season) better than I did." SUNDAY, JULY 6: Lynn McGruder, another Sooner who received a second chance, rooting for Dorial Green-Beckham Quotable -- McGruder, on what advice he'd give Green-Beckham: "I would tell him to take it one day at a time. Stay positive. Really, really soak in the fact that he has a second chance, and truly, truly don't let anything negative from the outside come into his life." SUNDAY, JULY 20: Midsummer, Knight's dream: How Trevor Knight spent his summer vacation Quotable -- Trevor's pastor, Adam Barnett: "He keeps a level head and shows a lot of discipline in the way he manages his time. I'm proud of him for keeping his priorities straight. He could very easily get those out of order, but he doesn't." SUNDAY, AUG. 3: Strength coach Jerry Schmidt optimistic about Sooners’ leadership and newcomers Quotable -- Schmidt, on receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's first few summer workouts: "He was in the trash can quite a bit. To me going into it, I thought this guy is going to be a pain and throw our whole karma off as far as leadership and all that stuff. He responded to it. ... He said, 'I'm gonna get there coach.' ... Sometimes guys like that have kinda cruised through because they can kinda get by on their talent." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Lacoltan-Bester.jpg]3524432[/img] SUNDAY, AUG. 10: Lacoltan Bester, Justin Gilbert and 'The Play That Changed It All' Quotable -- OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: "I can't remember a more satisfying season, and it just goes to show, one play can make a difference." MONDAY, AUG. 25: Eric Striker’s mother a continuing source of inspiration for the OU linebacker Quotable -- Striker, on his mother, Lia Skelton: "I'm the person I am because of her. I get my kindness from her. My humbleness from her. My relentlessness from her. I always try to project that image of how she raised me." TUESDAY, SEPT. 2: Sterling Shepard’s biggest fan isn’t crazy about his new role in the return game Quotable -- Shepard, on his mom, Cheri: "She remembers seeing my dad get kinda clobbered back there, but I’m not worried about it. That’s the name of the game. You’re gonna get hit." THURSDAY, SEPT. 4: Jordan Thomas’ intelligence, fast learning result in early playing time Quotable -- Thomas, on when he has fun: "I have fun when I sleep. You've got to rest your brain and rest your body from all the work you have to do mentally and physically. That's it." SUNDAY, SEPT. 7: Walk-on Caleb Gastelum rewarded with scholarship after big performance against Tulsa Quotable -- Gastelum, on staying motivated: "I tell myself everyday that hard work pays off. Sometimes you get down because you don't think it'll happen and things aren't going your way. You just remind yourself that if you work hard, good things will happen." TUESDAY, SEPT. 16: Freshman running back Samaje Perine has always looked, played mature beyond his years Quotable -- Samaje's mother, Gloria: "Samaje has worked all his life for this moment. He puts in a ton of work. He goes that extra mile. When everybody else is tired or playing video games, he’s in the gym or watching plays to try to get better. I’m happy that the coaching staff realizes that and trusts him." SATURDAY, OCT. 4: Trevor Knight was almost a TCU Horned Frog Quotable -- Trevor's dad, George Knight: "Trevor really thought he wanted to stay in Texas," George Knight said. "That's until he saw Norman and saw the campus and got to know the coaches there." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Tyrus-Thompson.jpg]3524434[/img] MONDAY, OCT. 27: Tyrus Thompson’s family motivates him to improve, make NFL Quotable -- Tyrus' wife, Olivia, on the challenges of raising two kids, working and having a husband who plays college football: "The road games are the hardest. I can't go because my job doesn't care that he plays football or that I don't have child care. There have been times when I've been on the brink of getting fired because they don't care. I've almost lost my job two or three times." MONDAY, NOV. 3: ‘Sooner Dave’ gets his moment in the sun Quotable -- Smith, on getting his chance against Iowa State: "I've learned that chances don't come often, so when they do come, you have to make the most of them. That's the only thing that was in my head when I was out there." THURSDAY, NOV. 6: Walk-on Oklahoma safety Najee Bissoon working to stand out from the crowd Quotable -- Bissoon, on his red hair: "I know it attracts attention. Not from crowds; I wanted to attract the attention of our coaching staff. I want Coach to always have something to remember me by. As a walk-on, it’s already hard enough to get much attention.” SUNDAY, NOV. 23: Samaje Perine runs for record 427 yards in OU’s 44-7 win over Kansas Quotable -- Legendary former OU running back Joe Washington: "With today's passing offenses, you've got a kid that rushes for 427 yards? It's a thing of beauty." SUNDAY, NOV. 30: Why news of Caleb Gastelum’s scholarship thrilled other walk-ons past and present Quotable -- Former OU tight end Trent Ratterree, on the walk-on brotherhood: "When one of us did well, it was like all of us did well. It is kinda like a sub-group within the team. We were always pulling for each other. Anytime a walk-on got to play, if they messed up. it hurt. If they did well, it felt good." FRIDAY, DEC. 5: Former high school rivals offer advice for stopping Samaje Perine Quotable -- Rouse High (Leander, Texas) linebacker Ryan Heinrich: "Rule No. 1 when you play Samaje is you always have to hit him low. Not just because you have a better chance of making a tackle, but for your own safety." FRIDAY, DEC. 11: Sooners fullback Aaron Ripkowski is as tough as they come Quotable -- Marlo Ripkowski, Aaron's mom, on her son receiving the Don Key Award: "To be able to a receive an award like that shows all his hard work and all those years paid off. He's such a good young man."
Dec 21, 2014
Here’s a look at what our staff considers some of the top games, moments and surprises of the 2014 season.
A look back at the best of the 2014 Oklahoma high school football season
BY SCOTT WRIGHT, JACOB UNRUH AND TRENT SHADID | Dec 21, 2014Another high school football season has come to a close, and The Oklahoman will be announcing its All-State and All-City teams throughout the day Monday on NewsOK.com. To go with that, here’s a look at what our staff considers some of the top games, moments and surprises of the 2014 season: Best moment Scott Wright: Mustang’s playoff win at Broken Arrow. Sure, it wasn’t a championship, and it wasn’t even a win over one of the two teams that every Class 6A team desperately wants to beat — Jenks and Tulsa Union. But it was big. In 6A-I, it was the only win by an OKC-area team over a Tulsa-area team in 29 attempts. And it set the tone for what Mustang is trying to build at the largest high school outside of the four Tulsa-area mammoths. Jacob Unruh: Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert winning one last championship in his final game before retirement. The win capped an impressive and impactful career with the Chargers that included four total gold balls. He also leaves as the school's all-time wins leader. Trent Shadid: Bixby and Lawton MacArthur winning state titles. Bixby (6A-II) and Lawton MacArthur (5A) finally brought home long-awaited championships this season, ending the state’s longest winless streaks in title games. The Spartans’ 35-21 win over Lawton gave them their first crown in eight trips, and the Highlanders’ 39-12 rout of Skiatook was their first championship win in seven tries. Best game Scott Wright: I wish I had been in the stadium for Lawton MacArthur’s 50-49 overtime victory against McAlester in the Class 5A semifinals. Considering the circumstances, I think it’s clearly the game of the year. As for the best one I witnessed, Heritage Hall’s 53-42 win over Locust Grove is the topper. Locust Grove QB Mason Fine and WR Jason Pirtle were setting ridiculous records, but Heritage Hall rallied from 11 down for the win. Jacob Unruh: There were a few games I didn't see in person this season that could top this list, but nothing tops the Class 5A playoff opening weekend for me in which I saw two equally fun games. First, Lawton MacArthur nearly exited in the first round despite a huge lead against Carl Albert. The Titans' rally only fell short thanks to a personal foul late in the game. The next night, fourth-seeded Del City upset Deer Creek on a last-minute drive by junior quarterback Terry Wilson. Doesn't get much better than that in one week. Trent Shadid: Westmoore 48, Norman North 41. In this Week 3 non-district contest, the Jaguars and Timberwolves combined to score 33 points in the final three minutes. OSU signee John Kolar kept Norman North in the game with 355 passing yards, but Westmoore QB Bryson Lee gave the Jaguars a win by scoring his fifth touchdown of the game with 42 seconds remaining. Biggest surprise Scott Wright: Only two repeat performances. The 2013 season was unique in that all eight state champions were undefeated. Seven of them began 2014 as the preseason No. 1 in their respective classes. Yet only two — Jenks and Davis — were still standing atop their respective classes at the end of the year. Only four of the eight reigning champs even reached the finals. Jacob Unruh: There were plenty of surprises this season, but Alex upsetting Laverne in the Class B championship stands out. Kyler Thornburg had an incredible night helping his team end what was the state's longest winning streak. Trent Shadid: Thomas’ 28-0 win over Cashion in the Class A title game. It wasn’t a complete surprise to see Thomas beat Cashion to win the Class A state title. But the way the Terriers’ defense dominated an offense averaging 50 points per game was a shocker. The shutout loss was the Wildcats’ first since Week 1 of 2011.
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.”