The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 17, 2013

What to watch for this week

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Face it. We're spoiled. This week, we have a shot at a sixth straight shutout, two top-10 matchups and a chance to prove wrong early-season doubters, all on a short turnaround on the Oklahoma prep football scene.

Cherokee goes for goose egg No. 6

You, yes you, have scored as many points against Class C No. 2 Cherokee as all five of its opponents combined in 2013.

The Chiefs (5-0, obviously, and 3-0 in C-3) have outscored their schedule 248-0, consistently ending games by 45-point mercy rule at half or shortly after, with a chance to record a sixth consecutive shutout to open 2013 Thursday against visiting DCLA (2-3, 2-2 C-3). Sure, the matchup seems one-sided, and DCLA was blanked 36-0 two weeks ago vs. Bluejacket, but consider this: by scoring a touchdown against Pond Creek-Hunter in Week 1, those pesky Eagles preempted what would have been another long, season-opening shutout streak. Yes, PC-Hunter won 56-6, but the Panthers haven't allowed a point since (more on that later), making DCLA the only team to dent their defense.

Woodward's title shot

Already a win ahead of last season's total, the Woodward Boomers have a chance to rack up a second milestone in 2013, but it'll take quite an upset.

No. 8 Woodward (5-1, 3-0 4A-1) faces 4A-1 co-leader and undefeated No. 1 Anadarko Thursday with the inside track to a district title on the line. The Boomers have impressed in five wins, most recently in back-to-back shutouts against Weatherford (34-0) and Elgin (35-0).

But saying Anadarko has done the same would be a massive understatement. Save for a comparably close shave in a 35-7 win against No. 6 Clinton, the Warriors haven't been held to fewer than 53 points, and haven't won by fewer than 46. Senior running back R.J. Sink has converted 77 carries into 1,033 yards (an utterly silly 13.4-yard average) and 19 touchdowns to pace the Warriors. 

Can Merritt score enough vs. PC-Hunter?

Merritt's surprise 6-0 start, including a 5-0 run in district B-1, earned the Oilers a No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press' poll.

Now it gets difficult.

Merritt's next opponent, fellow undefeated and B-1 co-leader Pond Creek-Hunter wrapped up a fifth consecutive shutout win Friday against Garber, riding a defense that has forced nearly three times as many turnovers (17) than it has allowed points (6) in 2013.

Still stinging from a lopsided defeat in last season's Class B state title game to Laverne, the only team to beat PC-Hunter in two seasons, Panther QB Josh Irvin said Friday it doesn't mean his team will look past any other opponent.

"We prepare for every team like they're Laverne," he said.

Yikes.

Offense back to stay in Fairview?

In three straight losses to Chisholm, Tonkawa and Okeene in Weeks 2-4, Fairview scored 20 combined points.

In back-to-back wins after the slide, the Yellowjackets (3-3, 2-1 A-1) topped that by halftime.

A quarterback change and a chance to play against softer competition has made all the difference for a Fairview team that had grown accustomed to high-octane offense after 2012's 10-2 team put up 42.5 points per game under the direction of News & Eagle All-Northwest Player of the Year Grant Nightengale. After taking over for junior Jaden Dillard against Okeene, senior QB Brett Fast has completed 39 of 64 passes for 492 yards, 4 touchdowns and three interceptions, leading the Yellowjackets to a 47-0 win against Turpin and a 38-21 win over Hooker.

Fast and Fairview face an uptick in competition Thursday against a Mooreland team that has allowed more than 22 points only once this season, and at 4-2 and 1-2 in district A-1, is desperately in need of a win to stay in the playoff picture.