– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
OKPreps will have wall to wall coverage of the 2018 playoffs. We kick things off with our playoff preview series. Breaking down the bracket, checking out the contenders and giving you some players to watch. You’ll also hear from coaches with our OKPreps Scene Setter Podcasts.
DEFENDING CHAMPION/TEAM TO BEAT
Millwood has captured the last two state championships and they bring a 38-game winning streak into the playoffs as they attempt to go for the three-peat. Millwood has certainly been challenged this season, more so than last year, when they blew out everyone on their schedule. That included shutting out their first four playoff opponents and giving up a single touchdown in a 42-7 championship win over Washington. This season, Millwood has been tested from the start. They won a highly anticipated champ VS champ showdown with Heritage Hall by ten points. They beat Cascia Hall 38-7 but that game was close heading into the fourth quarter. In their title rematch against Washington, they needed a goal line stand as time expired to keep their streak in tact. However, while the Falcons have been tested more this year, they are still without a doubt the team to beat heading into the playoffs.
MARQUEE 1ST ROUND GAME
Victory Christian (8-2) AT Metro Christian (9-1)
Two of the best private schools in Tulsa will square off in what will be a must-watch football game. Metro and Victory Christian have been two of the best Tulsa teams in the last decade. However, they haven’t faced off against one another in over a decade. The two teams bring into the match-up a reputation of explosive offense and there’s no reason to think we won’t see a possible shootout here. Victory Christian is playing a man down after losing quarterback Garrett Williams to a knee injury. However, this isn’t your typical three-seed for Metro Christian to be hosting. Victory was in a stacked district that featured top five teams Beggs and Sperry. Losses to both put Victory as the three-seed, setting up this potential shootout in the first round, as opposed to the quarterfinals, or further into the playoffs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Asher Link – QB – Metro Christian
Metro Christian is one of those programs where you just assume they’re going to have a good quarterback. 2018 is no different as Asher Link has emerged for the Patriots as a player who can sling it all over the field but also pull it down and run. Link isn’t alone in the backfield as running back Ryan Johnson has been another breakout star for Metro this year.
Austin Hines – QB – Adair
Adair quarterback Austin Hines put up massive numbers in 2017, becoming a breakout star at QB for the Warriors. This year, Hines has once again put up spectacular numbers for an Adair team that is eyeing another run at the gold ball. Hines leads an Adair offense that is one of the best in Class 2A football and they don’t look to slow down anytime soon.
Dalton Spring – QB – Beggs
Beggs is certainly playing with heavy hearts as they head into the postseason. The Golden Demons are also starting their redemption run. They made it all the way to the 3A title game but fell to John Marshall. Leading the way this year has been quarterback Dalton Spring. Last season, Spring threw for over 500 yards in a playoff game for Beggs.
Daniel Howard – QB/DB – Millwood
Millwood is a team that has been loaded with future D1 talent the last two years. Perhaps the most consistent player among the Falcons has been senior quarterback and defensive back Daniel Howard. While he hasn’t gotten the recruiting attention some of his teammates have, you can make the argument that Howard is Millwood’s most valuable player.
Laike Wilhelm – RB – Newkirk
Oklahoma is loaded this year with running backs. All over the state, running backs are putting up massive numbers. It’s hard to keep up with all of the playmakers. One that might still be flying under the radar is Newkirk’s Laike Wilhelm. The Newkirk standout has been near the top of the rushing charts ever since September and has been dynamic each week.
Chisholm-Meeker Part III
For the third straight year, Chisholm and Meeker will square off in the first round of the playoffs. Chisholm has dominated the last two meetings and will look to continue that trend on Friday night. In 2016, they won 43-19. Last year, Chisholm advanced with a 37-7 win. However, Meeker has to feel confident heading into this year’s clash. They’re 9-1 on the season while Chisholm is 5-5.
Millwood Chasing History
Millwood has won the last two state championships and the Falcons are carrying a 38-game winning streak into the playoffs this year. With five more wins, Millwood will bring home their third consecutive state championship and will have the second most consecutive wins with 43. Millwood would also become the first team in state history to go undefeated in three consecutive seasons.
Usual Suspect Missing
For the first time in over three decades, the Davis Wolves are checking in their equipment before the playoffs begin. Davis finished 4-6 and on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Davis was tied with Thomas for most consecutive years in the playoffs in state history with 34. Now the active leader in Oklahoma is Cascia Hall with 32. Class 2A was loaded this season with some great teams dropping down from Class 3A and 4A but this still comes as a surprise.