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It’s officially August 1st. Which means it’s officially football season! The 2019 football season is upon us and it’s time to get ready for a great year. We’ll have plenty of preseason content throughout the month, leading you up to the week zero kickoff in a few weeks. From preseason rankings, top players, storylines to follow and dates to remember, we’ll have you ready for the 2019 season. But before we take a look at what to expect in 2019, let’s refresh our memories and take a look back at 2018.
REIGNING STATE CHAMPIONS
6A-D1 Broken Arrow
Finally! The Broken Arrow Tigers are state champions. After chasing the gold ball for years and years. Coming close in some years and having others end in heartbreak, the Tigers are your defending champs. It was immediately apparent that this Broken Arrow team was different. They had the talent, they had the coaching, they had the swagger of a team destined to be a champion. They passed every test put in front of them. With wins over Union, Owasso and Jenks in a span of a month, the Tigers had put themselves squarely on top of the 6A-D1 mountain. The Tigers dominated their opponents and put up big offensive numbers with senior running back Noah Cortes and the absolute best offensive line in the state. Nobody would come close to the Tigers in the month of October and they rolled into the playoffs as the top team. They would survive a semifinal scare against Owasso and knocked off Jenks in the championship game, becoming the first team since the 6A split to finish with a perfect record.
For the first time since Class 6A split into two divisions, Bixby did not come into the season as the defending champions. The Spartans had to settle for a runner up finish in 2017 and had plenty of new faces that would need to step up if the Spartans were going to make it to a fifth straight title game. Because of that, Bixby came into the season flying somewhat under the radar. More attention was put on defending champ Booker T Washington and westside challengers Midwest City and Stillwater. Forgetting about the Spartans would be a mistake and it was evident early on. The emergence of sophomore quarterback Mason Williams helped the Bixby offense remain one of the best in the state. The Spartans fell in the opener to Jenks but never lost again. That included a showdown with Booker T Washington in late September. Bixby prevailed by 14-points. Bixby would blowout Lawton in the first round, outlasted Midwest City in a semifinal rematch and beat Stillwater by 21 to win their fourth title in the last five years.
5A Carl Albert
The Carl Albert Titans came into 2018 as back to back champions and held a 22-game winning streak. The Titans finished off yet another perfect season, despite many hurdles they had to overcome. The Titans welcomed rival Midwest City back to the schedule and had a close game with the Bombers. In the process, they lost star running back Dadrion “Rabbit” Taylor to a knee injury that would keep him sidelined for a month. The following week, the Titans survived an overtime scare from Del City and would roll all the way to the last week in the regular season. Awaiting Carl Albert was Bishop McGuinness in another district championship showdown. The Titans would knock off the Irish 20-14 to wrap up another perfect season. After being tested by El Reno in the first round, the Titans would blow past Claremore and Collinsville and squared off with Ardmore for the state title. With weather impacting title games across Oklahoma, the Titans would edge out the Tigers to capture their third straight title and their 14th state title in school history.
Tuttle is “Title Town” once again as the Tigers were a perfect 14-0 during the 2018 season. Tuttle was tested early on by non-district foes Kingfisher and Plainview. They took care of business in both instances. They found themselves in arguably the most difficult district in 4A with Bethany and Blanchard. In fact, they were flat out dominant during the 2018 season. The Tigers beat 13 of their 14 opponents by double digits. They had one of the stingiest defenses in Oklahoma, giving up more than 20 points on only two occasions. Tuttle ran over the competition in the regular season and would find themselves with another tough run in the playoffs. They took care of Anadarko and Hilldale in the first two rounds and had a showdown with Poteau in the semifinals. Both teams were the top two teams and the way the bracket laid out, they would see each other in the semifinals before the title game. Tuttle would beat a snake-bit Pirate team and then saw Bethany for a second time in the title game. They prevailed to complete the perfect season.
3A Heritage Hall
Heritage Hall dropped down from 4A to 3A and immediately became the top dog in the class. They were coming off a 4A state title in 2017 and went 14-0. The 2017 title was their third in the last four seasons. Needless to say, the Chargers were the heavy favorites to be champions once again. Heritage Hall would open the season on the road against fellow powerhouse Millwood. The Chargers lost to the Falcons 30-20, their first regular season loss in four years. The Chargers would turn around and beat Clinton and Davis to bounce back before a tough district that featured Kingfisher and John Marshall. The Chargers finished off the regular season 9-1 and then completely dismantled everyone in the 3A playoffs. After a few close calls in the regular season, nothing was close in the playoffs. Heritage Hall averaged north of 50 points per game and their closest margin of victory was a 23-point win over Stigler in the quarterfinals. The Chargers won their fourth title in five years and finished off the 5-year run with a 69-3 record.
Class 2A became a powerhouse class in the blink of an eye. With Class 3A dropping down to just 32 teams, some serious heavy hitters dropped down from 3A to 2A. That was the case for Sperry as the Pirates had some success in 3A but in Class 2A, they felt like they could legitimately contend for a state championship. And as we would find out, they were right in that thought process. The Pirates would roll out to a 2-0 start before escaping an upset bid from Kingston in the third week of the season. After winning 16-14, the Pirates went on a roll. They would blow out everyone and their winning streak would end in the regular season finale with the district title on the line against Beggs. In the most emotional game of the year in Oklahoma, Beggs triumphed in comeback fashion, just days after losing a teammate who had been shot and killed. The Pirates bounced back the next week as they began a playoff run where they won every game by 20+ points. That included a rematch with Beggs for the state championship. The Pirates prevailed in part two and lifted the gold ball for the first time in school history.
Class A has had a crazy amount of parity in the last ten seasons. Coming into the playoffs, you could go back ten years and not find a team that had won the title more than once. That was until Tonkawa did it in 2018. They won in 2009 and then again in December. The Bucs lost an early game to Newkirk back in late August and never looked back after that. They had close calls against Morrison and Pawhuska but would still become district champs. After a few more close calls in the playoffs, the Bucs made it all the way to the state title game. Once Tonkawa found themselves in the championship game, they were up against a cinderella story. Christian Heritage had been on the ropes since week eight of the regular season. They had to fight their way just to get into the playoffs as the fourth seed in their district. They beat three district champions on their way to the title game. By the time they got there, they simply ran out of steam. The Tonkawa defense smothered the Crusaders and the Bucs would walk away with their second state championship in the last decade.
Since we hit the new century, a few teams have been dominant year in and year out, regardless of what class they’re in. Shattuck is arguably the most successful 8-man team so far in this century. They’ve captured ten championships in the last 19 seasons and made it to a couple more title games. They’ve had success in Class B as well as Class C. Ten years ago, they were in the middle of a winning streak that would reach 92 consecutive games. Nothing changed in 2018. Shattuck was dominant on their way to a second straight title and their third in the last four years. The one year in that stretch where they didn’t win it, they walked away as the runner-up. Shattuck’s latest title run started with a blowout of the eventual Class C champion in Tipton. Their closest game wouldn’t come until the championship game against Regent Prep. They won by 16 points and held the Rams to a season-low 26 points.
So if Shattuck is one of, if not the best 8-man program in the last two decades, you can make the argument that Tipton is in the conversation and certainly in the conversation for the last ten years. Tipton came into 2018 as back to back champions and had played in six title games so far in this decade. The Tigers didn’t back down when they started off the year 1-2. Their first loss was to eventual Class B champion Shattuck. They would also get tripped up two weeks later against Snyder. After that, cruising to another championship. Tipton was certainly tested along the way and every game on the schedule wasn’t a blowout. But Tipton rolled to another championship and captured the gold ball with a 16-point win over Southwest Covenant. They’ll come into the 2019 season as three-time champs and will be the favorite to win it all again.
2018 OKPreps Player Of The Year
Sevion Morrison – RB – JR – Edison
Edison junior running back Sevion Morrison became a household name across Oklahoma as he flipped a switch halfway thru his junior campaign. Morrison had a decent start to the year but what he did in the final five games of the regular season is stuff you only see in video games. And even then, it’s because all of the difficulties are turned down. Morrison ran for nearly 2,000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns in the final five games alone. That not only grabbed everyone’s attention, but Edison went 5-0 during the stretch and made it back to the playoffs. Morrison made 400 yard performances look normal. He became the first running back to win the OKPreps.com Player Of The Year award, ending the stranglehold from the QB position.
2018 OKPreps Co-Coaches Of The Year
Brad Ballard – Tuttle
Loren Montgomery – Bixby
It’s hard to find any separation between these two when it comes down to picking just one so we’re going with both. For Bixby’s Loren Montgomery, he ended the season with another state championship. However, the fourth title in five years was probably the most surprising. With so many young players and with great teams in 6A-D2, the Spartans had their work cut out for them. Despite all of that, Bixby was once again the kings of 6A-D2 and enter 2019 as favorites once again. For Tuttle and Brad Ballard, it was a perfect season that made Tuttle “Title Town” once again. Tuttle ran the gauntlet and played a brutal schedule on their way to a perfect 14-0 record. Their defense was one of the best in the state, regardless of class. They brought home another state championship and will certainly go down as one of the more talented teams in school history.
2018 OKPreps Offensive Player Of The Year
Andrew Crow – RB – SR – Rejoice Christian
Rejoice Christian standout Andrew Crow witnessed what 2017 OKPreps Player Of The Year Wil Amos did at Afton and wanted to top it. Crow saw Afton win the Class A title and put his team on his back on the way to the gold ball. Crow nearly did it in 2018 as he was a one-man wrecking crew that could not be stopped from getting in the end zone. Crow finished with over 2,600 yards rushing and 44 touchdowns. He also had an impact on defense and special teams. Crow suffered a car wreck during Rejoice’s playoff run. Had he not, he might have been able to replicate Amos’ season with a state championship.
2018 OKPreps Defensive Player Of The Year
Dax Hill – DB – SR – Booker T Washington
Booker T Washington’s Dax Hill was always thought of as the best of the best in Oklahoma’s 2019 class. His reputation only continued to grow and he backed up all of the hype on the field. While his stats won’t blow you away on the defensive side of the ball, all you have to do is watch how he impacted the game defensively and it’s easy to see why he was the defensive player of the year. He had the speed to completely eliminate an area of the field for opponents. He also finished with nearly 100 tackles and caused several turnovers. Hill backed up all of the hype and then some.
2018 OKPreps Ironman Of The Year
Sammy Brandt – QB/DB – JR – Bethany
Not many guys made more of an impact on a game than Bethany junior Sammy Brandt. On the offensive side of the ball, Brandt did it all. He threw, he ran, he lit up opponents and put points on the scoreboard. On the other side, he was the quarterback of the defense and made big plays when he needed to shut an opponent down. On offense, Brandt finished with 27 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns on the year. Defensively, Brandt totaled over 75 tackles and had 7 interceptions. He did just about everything for Bethany except sell programs to the fans in the stands. Brandt’s season was a big reason why they made it all the way to the Class 4A state championship game.
2018 OKPreps Most Improved Player
Noah Cortes – RB – SR – Broken Arrow
Broken Arrow was the absolute best team in Oklahoma during the 2018 season. It was obvious from the first time they stepped on the field. And the guy that was leading the way for them all year was running back Noah Cortes. The senior had a solid junior season. He ran for north of 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, as a senior, he would not be denied. He nearly tripled his touchdown production with 35 TD’s. He ran for nearly 2,000 yards and in every big game, you could expect Cortes to make a big play when the Tigers needed it. The jump Cortes made from junior season to senior season was sensational and that was a big reason why the Tigers captured their first state title in school history.