Barry Lewis: Football playoff sites, dates are set
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Sunday, November 20, 2011
11/20/11 at 4:50 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: Dominoes finish falling as playoff sites, dates set
IT SURPRISED many area football fans on Saturday when the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced that the Class 6A semifinals involving four Tulsa metro teams would be played outside the metro area on Friday.
So why did the OSSAA schedule Jenks vs. Union at Stillwater's Pioneer Stadium and Broken Arrow vs. Owasso at Muskogee's Indian Bowl?
A number of factors were involved. The domino effect began back in the spring when the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game at the OSSAA's championship site, Boone Pickens Stadium, was moved to Dec. 3. That resulted in the 6A through 4A title games there being moved up a day. The 6A games are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1, while the 5A and 4A games are set for Friday, Dec. 2.
"With the 6A title game on a Thursday and a short turnaround time, we wanted to play the semifinals this Friday," OSSAA associate executive secretary David Jackson said on Saturday.
That knocked out the University of Tulsa's Chapman Stadium as a venue for the semifinals. Jackson said TU was contacted about hosting the semifinals, but the stadium was only available on Saturday. TU hosts Houston at 11 a.m. Friday and TU could not make the stadium available that night.
"We were looking for the combination of facilities that were big enough and nice enough to host these games," Jackson said. "We are really at the mercy of schools allowing us to use their facilities."
Broken Arrow has often hosted playoff games, but that stadium was unavailable for Union-Jenks because Broken Arrow officials and stadium workers would be following the Tigers in the semifinals at Muskogee. For a similar reason, Union-Tuttle Stadium would not be available for Broken Arrow-Owasso.
That left Pioneer Stadium and the Indian Bowl as the best options remaining.
"They were the largest facilities that could handle the potential crowds within driving range," Jackson said. "We are happy that they made their stadiums available to use."
Sites predetermined in 3A, 2A and A: A misconception that popped up among fans over the weekend is that the OSSAA is punishing private schools. The top three teams in 3A - Oklahoma City Heritage Hall, Cascia Hall and Metro Christian - along with 2A's Lincoln Christian, all are on the road for the quarterfinals despite those four teams having a combined 45-1 record.
The great thing about the OSSAA football playoffs is that all the sites through the quarterfinals and pairings through the postseason are determined on the field. Everything is determined on the field. Cascia Hall and Lincoln Christian are going on the road because OSSAA rules dictate that district champs do so if their quarterfinal foe has played fewer home playoff games. In matchups of district champions, such as those involving Heritage Hall and Metro, they are traveling because they are on the even-numbered line of the bracket and the hosts are the teams on the odd-numbered line in an odd-numbered year. In 2010, Metro hosted Anadarko in the same situation because it was an even-numbered year.