The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 20, 2013

Prep season followed polls

ENID, Okla. — Fact and opinion while waiting for Santa Claus:

Sports writers sometimes get things right in football polls.

Take the Associated Press high school polls.

The 1-2 teams in the first poll met for the Class 5A (McAlester and Guthrie), 3A (Blanchard and Kingfisher), 2A (Davis and Millwood), B (Laverne and Pond Creek-Hunter) and C (Tipton and Cherokee) championships.

The poll was just off in 6A where No. 1 Jenks eventually met No. 3 Union instead of No. 2 Broken Arrow and in A where No. 2 Ringling met No. 6 Hollis instead of No. 1 Thomas.

Of course, it was off a little in Class 4A. The poll correctly projected Anadarko as the state champion, but the runner-up was No. 13-ranked Poteau.

• Meanwhile, northwest Oklahoma can take some pride in the Guthrie championship as former Enid lineman Scott Mick has been on the Bluejays’ staff for 13 seasons as the offensive coordinator. Guthrie has missed the playoffs in only one of those years.

This year’s title was Mick’s fourth state championship. He will have players on both sides of the Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri.

Head coach Rafe Watkins held similiar positions at Chisholm and Alva before going to Guthrie. Defensive coordinator Kelly Beeby is another former Longhorns coach.

• No surprise OSU coach Mike Gundy took the gag order off starting quarterback Clint Chelf of Enid.

Gundy had been saying all along Chelf would be made available after the bowl game.

But it’s doubtful Cotton Bowl officials would have allowed that. OSU and the Big 12 are getting a big pay day from the game, and it’s not smart to try to mess with the powerful Dallas media.

• Pond Creek-Hunter may have lost to Laverne in the Class B state finals, but no one can doubt their athleticism.

Just over 48 hours after finishing the football season, the Panthers beat Deer Creek-Lamont 55-30 in the opening basketball game of the season.

• The search for Mack Brown’s replacement at Texas is one example of the historic difference between the Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners.

UT’s last five hires — Darrell Royal (Washington), Fred Akers (Wyoming), David McWilliams (Texas Tech), John Mackovic (Illinois) and Brown (North Carolina) were all current head coaches at other schools. Akers and McWilliams were one-time UT assistants.

Of OU’s last nine hires — eight were assistants with no head coaching experience — Bud Wilkinson, Gomer Jones, Jim MacKenzie, Chuck Fairbanks, Barry Switzer, Gary Gibbs, John Blake and Bob Stoops.

The only one that was a head coach was Howard Schnellenberger, which makes for the argument it’s not always bad to promote an assistant on your staff or go after a hot assistant (MacKenzie and Stoops).

Wilkinson (145), Switzer (157) and Stoops (159) turned out to be pretty good. Fairbanks no doubt would have been up there if he hadn’t bolted OU for the New England Patriots in 1973, and MacKenzie set the foundation for OU’s second dynasty by bringing in assistants like Switzer and Fairbanks before his untimely death during the 1967 spring practice of a heart attack.

It will be interesting to see if UT will find the right fit.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.G

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