– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
Week one is upon us and we have some good match-up’s on Thursday night. It’s time to take a look at each game and some of the storylines that will follow.
Norman (0-0) AT Norman North (0-0)
The Match-Up: The annual rivalry game between Norman and Norman North takes place tonight under the bright lights of Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. Norman North has high expectations as they come in with several key returning pieces. The T’Wolves are looking to make a deep run this fall. They’re only a few years removed from making it to the state title game. Norman hasn’t been competitive in a while but a rivalry win to kick off the season could boost the Tigers into 2016.
The Players: Norman North brings two D1 commits into this match-up with one on offense and one on defense. Iowa State commit Charlie Kolar is the younger brother of former Norman North quarterback John Kolar, who’s now at Oklahoma State. The younger Kolar is 6’6 and is one of the top tight end prospects in the state. Linebacker Cade Mashburn committed to Memphis this summer. Mashburn is one of many great linebackers in Oklahoma this year. He leads a defensive unit that has a lot of names back from last year.
The History: Both teams are 6-6 against each other in the last 12 meetings in the regular season. Norman North is looking for their third straight win over their in-town rival. The average score during their last two match-up’s has been 46.5-13. The Timberwolves dominated last year 56-13.
Duncan (1-0) AT Putnam City West (0-0)
The Match-Up: Putnam City West nearly made the 6A-D2 playoffs a year ago and they come into the 2016 season looking to end a lengthy playoff drought. The road to the playoffs begin Thursday when they open their season up against Duncan. The Demons went on the road last week and knocked off Sapulpa in a weather-delayed game. It was a big win for the 5A team on the road. It’s back on the road and it’s another 6A-D2 opponent. With another win, the Demons will have everyone’s attention.
The Players: A lot of the hype around Putnam City West is in part because of their offense. Quarterback Trey Gooch returns for his senior season and has several weapons around him to distribute the ball to. Let’s start with Memphis commit at receiver, Nick Robinson. The two-sport star is 6’4 and can flat out run. He burst onto the football scene last year after being known primarily for basketball. Another receiver who was also pivotal in PC West winning the basketball state title last spring is Chris Potts. Not as big as Robinson, Potts is the perfect guy to line up opposite of Robinson.
The History: No Recent Meetings
Collinsville (1-0) AT Oologah (0-0)
The Match-Up: This traditional rivalry game gets week one started as Collinsville travels to Oologah, looking to avenge their season opening loss from a year ago. Future D1 talent will be on display as a total of three combined D1 commits will take the field for both teams. It’s also an intriguing match-up between two teams that finished runner-up in their respective classes a year ago. Collinsville had no problem last week as they opened up the season against East Central.
The Players: For Collinsville, it all starts with the All American linebacker who’s committed to Oklahoma in Levi Draper. The future Sooner anchors a stout Cardinal defense. On offense, quarterback Seth Boomer, a Tulsa commit, is in his second year as the starting Cardinal QB. He has several weapons around to go to. On the other side, Oologah will be led by defensive end Brock Martin, an Oklahoma State commit. Martin missed the Collinsville game a year ago due to a torn ACL. He’ll look to make Boomer’s night a long one.
The History: Oologah is 6-4 in the last ten seasons against the rival Cardinals. The Mustangs snapped a three-game losing streak last year in the season opener. Oologah knocked off the Cardinals 30-24 behind a strong performance from wide receiver Breyden DeSpain, who’s now at Central Arkansas.
Holland Hall (1-0) AT Cascia Hall (0-0)
The Match-Up: It’s the annual Hall Brawl between Cascia Hall and Holland Hall. The Dutch are entering their first season participating in the OSSAA. They got their season started last week in a traditional rivalry game between the Dutch and Casady. Holland Hall won a close one last week. The Commandoes enter 2016 with high expectations as they try to take that next step in 4A football. They had a strong showing last week in the Night of Champions scrimmage at Lincoln Christian.
The Players: Holland Hall running back Joseph Smith will be one of the better playmakers in the match-up. Also look out for Cascia Hall’s Jackson McCormick. The Commando senior will be a standout on both sides of the ball.
The History: Cascia Hall has dominated the Hall Brawl over the last decade. The Commandoes are 9-1 in the last ten meetings and they’ve won five straight against the Dutch. However, they haven’t been dominant in some of those wins. The Commandoes won a close one in overtime last year and had a one point win over the Dutch in 2013.
Locust Grove (0-0) AT Salina (0-1) (OKPreps Network Game)
The Match-Up: It’s the Highway 82 battle and it’ll be live on OKPreps.com on Thursday night. While Locust Grove has the clear edge going into the annual rivalry game, it does bring some intrigue. It’s the first game for Locust Grove after the graduations of Mason Fine and Jason Pirtle, arguably the two best players in school history. One is a record breaking quarterback while the other is a record breaking receiver. The Pirates have owned this rivalry but we’re still interested in the first game without Fine and Pirtle.
The Players: This one is obvious right? It’s quarterback Darryle Trammell. That’s who everyone wants to see on Thursday night. Trammell has to replace the quarterback who had the best statistical career in state history. Nobody has ever thrown for more yards or touchdowns than Fine did at Locust Grove. Now that he’s gone, it’s Trammell time. And his debut comes in the big rivalry game.
The History: Locust Grove has won six of the last ten meetings of the Highway 82 battle. The Pirates have also completely turned the tables on the rivalry since Matt Hennesy took over as head coach. The Pirates have won four straight after having lost four straight to their rival. It hasn’t been close the last two years with the Pirates winning by an average score of 58-3.