– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
OKPreps.com will be headed east on Friday for the Elite 7 On 7 tournament in northwest Arkansas. The event is hosted by Shiloh Christian and pool play will begin on Friday, at three different schools. Bracket play will start on Saturday morning and will only be played on the Shiloh Christian campus. 27 teams from 6 different states will be competing for a championship. This year, seven schools from Oklahoma will be making the trip over to Arkansas. Bishop Kelley, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Coweta, Owasso, Rejoice Christian and Stillwater will all participate. Bixby returns to the tournament after winning the whole thing a year ago.
OKPreps will have wall to wall coverage of the event with articles and highlight videos. Stay tuned to OKPreps this weekend to find out how some of Oklahoma’s best do against some stout competition.
For years and years Bishop Kelley has been a run-first team. That won’t be changing this season either. However, the Comets won’t be shying away from the competition when they participate in this year’s Elite 7 On 7 tournament. Bishop Kelley continued to improve throughout the day at their Comet Clash last month. If they can continue that improvement this week, they’ll be successful.
The Spartans return to Springdale looking to repeat as tournament champions. If they do, they’d be the first team in tournament history to do so. They would also join Fayetteville, AR. and Olive Branch, MS. as the only two-time winners. Bixby would also be adding to their hardware collection. They won the East/West Showdown last month in Stroud.
After losing to Bixby in pool play by a wide margin, Broken Arrow knocked off the Spartans in the championship of the Comet Clash last month. The Tigers will return to Springdale, looking to find their next starting quarterback. The Tigers are also breaking in new coordinators on offense and defense. They’re in good hands in an event like this with new offensive coordinator Jay Wilkinson, who’s not afraid to sling the ball around.
Coweta is another regular at this tournament and will return there again in 2017. The Tigers were also one of the teams at Bishop Kelley’s Comet Clash last month and faired pretty well. The Tigers have been one of the better passing teams in Class 5A over the last few years and they’ll look to continue that trend this season.
Another 6A power with a quarterback battle is Owasso. The Rams have two players competing for the spot and have yet to name a starter. Owasso participated in the 7 on 7 tourney in Tulsa and Stroud last month and got better throughout the day. This week will provide more opportunities for Jared St. John and Will Kuehne to make a statement that they’re the next starting quarterback.
Without a doubt the smallest school from Oklahoma and will be one of the smallest schools in the tournament. However, head coach Brent Marley is no stranger to this tourney. Marley took Victory Christian over to this tournament several years ago. The Eagles will be breaking in a new starting quarterback after the graduation of Cade Henson. The Eagles will be looking forward to the reps.
Yet another familiar face in this tournament is Stillwater. The Pioneers routinely make the trip over to Shiloh Christian to participate in the Elite 7 On 7 tourney. The Pioneers have made the playoffs three straight seasons but are looking for more in 2017. With fall practice opening up in less than a month, this is a great chance for the Pioneers to take that next step.
Players To Watch
Dylan Chinn – Wide Receiver – Owasso
While Owasso still has a quarterback battle going, one player has emerged as a true deep threat for whoever ends up being the starting quarterback. Wide receiver Dylan Chinn has had an outstanding spring and summer and has provided a consistent deep threat for the Rams on offense. Chinn has good size and very deceptive speed. He proved that last month when he was constantly beating cornerbacks deep.
Garrett Taylor – Tight End – Coweta
Another wide receiver who emerged last month at the Comet Clash was Coweta tight end Garrett Taylor. Standing 6’5, and weighing 250 pounds, Taylor is a match-up nightmare for opposing defensive backs. While Taylor will really exceed when the pads come on and he can be more physical, don’t be surprised to see the Coweta big man make some plays during jump ball situations.
Staton King – Quarterback – Bixby
Bixby quarterback Staton King was wildly efficient as he led the Spartans to the East/West Showdown crown last month. King made very few mistakes and it looks like the Spartans won’t have a drop off at the quarterback position at all. King is replacing three-year starter Tanner Griffin. If King has another great weekend throwing the football, expectations for the Bixby offense will be extremely high.