– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
#1 Bixby (2-2) AT #3 Muskogee (4-0) Preview
The Match-Up: #1 Bixby travels to #3 Muskogee in our OKPreps Network Game Of The Week. You’ll be able to watch the game live on OKPreps.com tonight! The Spartans have bounced back from their 0-2 start by trouncing Putnam City and Westmoore in back to back weeks. The Spartan offense has been on fire and they look to continue that momentum on Friday night. Muskogee is 4-0 to start the season for the first time in a decade. The Roughers got a close win on the road against Midwest City in week zero and have been dominant ever since. In wins over Bentonville West, McAlester and Bartlesville, the Roughers haven’t been tested. If Muskogee is indeed back and are a serious state championship contender, they’ll prove it tonight against the Spartans.
The Players: Muskogee arguably has the best athlete on the field in Texas Tech commit Kamren Curl. The future Red Raider has been dominant so far this season and will look to have an impact in multiple ways tonight. One of the ways he could do that is shutting down Bixby’s passing game. Quarterback Tanner Griffin has been lights out in his third year under center with the Spartans. He’s found a go-to receiver in Nic Swanson. Swanson has accounted for 540 of Griffin’s 943 yards passing. He’s also caught 8 of Griffin’s 12 touchdowns.
The History: Bixby has gone 3-1 over the last four seasons against the Roughers. The most memorable was last year when they beat Muskogee 48-41 in overtime. To do that, they had to block an extra point right before the end of regulation. Had they not blocked that PAT, Muskogee would have more than likely won and been the fourth place finisher in the district, knocking Bixby out of repeating as 6A-D2 state champion.
Players To Watch
Cade Yeager – Quarterback – Broken Arrow
Last year, Broken Arrow stunned Jenks on the road with a 35-34 win. The Trojans got the ultimate revenge in the 6A-D1 title game, winning 35-14 to capture their fourth straight gold ball. Both teams are very young as they look to return to the championship game in December. One of the few players back is Tiger quarterback Cade Yeager. The senior led the Tigers to that huge road win over the Trojans a year ago. If BA were to upset the Trojans again, it will be because Yeager has an outstanding game.
Deontre Thomas – Defensive Tackle – Mustang
Mustang bounced back from an upset loss to Stillwater by running away from Owasso last week in their district opener. The Broncos and their defense get an incredibally tough test Friday when they square off with Norman North. The Timberwolves have been blowing teams out and their offense has looked unstoppable in the process. Nebraska commit Deontre Thomas, a Mustang defensive tackle, will anchor this Mustang defense as they try to pressure Norman North quarterback Brandon Marquardt.
Brandon George – Quarterback – Jones
Jones has jumped out to a 5-0 start and their the unanimous pick for the top team in 3A football. They haven’t been tested yet and quarterback Brandon George is a big reason for that. So far, the dual-threat quarterback is completing over 70% of his passes for nearly 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only 2 interceptions. On the ground, George has added over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a Player Of The Year candidate a year ago, and he’s an early favorite to win the award this year. He should put up fireworks again Friday night when Jones faces Star Spencer.
Ryan Patrick – Linebacker – Bishop Kelley
Bishop Kelley linebacker and Tulsa Commit Ryan Patrick has been outstanding this year and has lived up to all the offseason hype. Patrick is leading the Comets with six sacks and has been a big part of a Bishop Kelley defense that has been dominant from the start of this season. They continue their gauntlet district run as they host a Pryor team that has found a perfect balance of the pass and run over the last two weeks.
Tucker Pawley – Running Back – Bixby
No other way to describe it, Bixby running back Tucker Pawley went OFF last week in the Spartans’ 70-28 rout of Westmoore. The Bixby ball carrier had over 200 yards in the second half alone. He finished with over 260 yards in the win. Pawley and the Spartans open up district play with arguably their toughest district opponent, when they travel to Muskogee to face the Roughers.
Numbers To Know
1,118: Dewey running back Hunter Brewer leads the state in rushing with 1,118 yards in four games. He’s also ran for 12 touchdowns to help the Bulldoggers jump out to a 3-1 start. Dewey will play host to Berryhill on Friday night. The Chiefs are coming off a 69-14 drubbing of Locust Grove. They only gave up 81 rushing yards last week, however, Locust Grove primarily throws the ball. Brewer will need to have a career night if they’re going to pull the upset of the #3 Chiefs.
31: The longest active winning streak belongs to Heritage Hall with 31 consecutive wins, dating back to the 2014 season. The Chargers will travel to Weatherford for another district showdown. They ran away from Clinton in the second half in a 28-13 win last week. If they win, the streak will reach 32 straight and they’ll be ten wins shy of the 11-man record set by Ada. The state’s overall record is 92 straight wins by Shattuck from 2003 to 2009.
17: Coming into the 2016 season, Holdenville had lost 17 consecutive games. The Wolverines quickly erased memories of their winless 2015 sseason when they jumped out to a 4-0 start. On Friday night, they’ll get their toughest test so far. We’re going to find out if Holdenville actually has a playoff run in them or if they were a nice September story. #5 Vian and Terron “Tuk” Moses come to town for a 2A showdown. With a win, the Wolverines will undoubtedly be for real and will vault into the 2A top ten.
7: This week’s OKPreps Player Of The Week, presented by Alpha Awards was Metro Christian quarterback Dylan Bierman. The Patriot signal caller has been unbelievable to start the 2016 season. He’s among the state’s best with over 1,200 yards passing and 15 touchdowns with no interceptions. However, the most impressive number is 7. That’s the number of different Metro receivers that have caught touchdown passes. Bierman threw five touchdowns to five different receivers in their win over Poteau last week.
2: Get ready for a defensive battle. In one of the biggest games of the week, Pryor will travel to Tulsa to square off with Bishop Kelley. Pryor has snuck into the 5A top ten and are still flying under the radar. Bishop Kelley is no longer flying under the radar, if they ever were, after beating Collinsville 28-10 on the road. The number to know is two. Pryor has put together two consecutive shutouts over Miami and Memorial. It’s the first time they’ve done that since the 70’s. If that number goes to three, they won’t be under the radar anymore.