BIGGEST SURPRISES OF 2011
The Tigers, after finishing 4-6 in 2010 and being picked by opposing coaches in the preseason to finish tied for sixth, captured 5A-4 for their first district title since 1982. Pryor, led by a defense that allowed only 53 points in seven district games, went 9-3 overall and reached the quarterfinals in J.R. Winton's final season as head coach.
First-year coach Tucker Barnard (right) turned around a team that went 1-9 in 2010. After losing its season opener, Stillwater reeled off eight consecutive wins, including a victory over 6A semifinalist Owasso, before losing its final two games to powerhouses Union and Jenks. Jerame Littell passed for 3,285 yards and 40 touchdowns.
3. Devon Thomas
The Broken Arrow sophomore tailback rushed for 1,840 yards and had 22 TDs to help the Tigers reach the 6A state title game for the first time since 2002. Had five 200-yard rushing games, including 248 yards against Owasso in the semifinals.
Those who had standout performances on the biggest stage:
1. RB-CB Kevin Peterson, Wagoner
In the 5A title game, a 23-0 victory against Clinton, the senior had 22 carries for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Also contributed on defense as the Bulldogs recorded their sixth shutout of the season.
2. LB Coleby Evans, Union
In the fourth quarter of the 6A championship win against Broken Arrow, the sophomore delivered the plays of the game - an 84-yard interception return and a 30-yard fumble return for a TD. Also had 13 tackles.
3. FB-DL Hunter Hart, Cascia Hall
A first-quarter knee injury couldn't sideline the senior in his final game, the 3A championship. He came back to tally 14 tackles, including five for loss, in the Commandos' 35-18 loss to Anadarko.
CHAMPIONS AT A GLANCE
6A: Union (13-1)
Won its eighth overall state championship and 14th straight district title. Quarterback Hunter Atyia, receiver Chris Hall, offensive lineman Blake Mejia and most of the defense returns next season.
5A: Guthrie (14-0)
The Bluejays won their second state title in five years. Head coach Rafe Watkins won't be on the sidelines for the first four games next season, but quarterback Bryan Dutton plus playmakers Donavan Jordan and Kai Callins return.
4A: Wagoner (13-1)
The Bulldogs won their first state title in their third title game appearance in seven years. Many top players graduate, but promising tailbacks Lawrence Evitt and Devin Hawkins will return, along with halfback-cornerback Kerwin Thomas and hard-hitting linebacker T.J. Ponds.
3A: Anadarko (15-0)
The Warriors outscored opponents 738-104 with their closest margin of victory coming in the state title game over Cascia Hall, 35-18. They did not allow double-digit points in 10 straight games. However, they will be hard hit by graduation losses in 2012, including state rushing leader Sheldon Wilson.
2A: Hennessey (12-2)
The Eagles rebounded from a 1-2 start to capture their second straight state title, avenging a Week 2 loss to Jones in the title game. Hennessey graduates many key players, but hard-hitting linebacker Dylan Hatchell returns.
A: Wayne (14-1)
The Bulldogs won their first state title and had Class A's top rusher, senior Josh Way (2,989 yards). Wayne's future is bright as it only had six seniors. Returnees include starting quarterback Sam Martin and leading tackler Louden Johnson.
B: Caddo (14-0)
Ty Miller's last-minute kickoff return for a TD to win the opener against Kiefer set the tone for the season. The Bruins lose several key players but return second-leading rusher Tanner Grace.
C: Shattuck (12-1)
The Indians scored 32 points in the fourth quarter to erase an 18-point deficit in the semifinals. Shattuck returns several key players such as Kadyn Schick, Chase Holley and Korey Floyd next year.
THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME
Union won its fourth straight 6A state title and seventh in 10 years. Coach Kirk Fridrich's team, however, had to overcome several key injuries, the suspension of top rusher Kendall Holmes, who missed the final five games, and its final three wins came by one point each as the Redskins' defense came up with last-minute stops in all those games.2. Shattuck
Shattuck won its seventh Class C state title in nine years, but this also was a bit different than the others for the Indians, who were only No. 5 in the preseason rankings and at the end of the regular season. Shattuck, which had a 93-game winning streak in its run of six state titles from 2003-08, won a final gold ball for retiring coach Troy Bullard.
Players who made an impact this year, but could be stars next year:
1. QB Austin Grauer, Lincoln Christian
In his first season as starter, threw for 2,865 yards and 31 touchdowns with only nine interceptions while leading the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record.
2. RB Terrell Buchanan, Union
Went from not being on the roster to earning a starting role because of Kendall Holmes' suspension and Javon Bowler's injury. The freshman scored five touchdowns over a three-game span late in the season.
3. WR-DB Jasson Blair, Bixby
Caught 60 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 TDs, averaging 20 yards per catch. Also had five picks on defense during his junior season and is the team's best punt returner.
Standout players who are seniors:
1. LB Justin Tomlinson, Berryhill
Recorded 514 tackles over the past three years despite battling injuries. Helped the Chiefs surpass expectations and reach the 3A semifinals. Also scored seven touchdowns at running back.
2. QB Ramsey Hamilton, Beggs
Rushed for 16 touchdowns while also passing for 16. Led the Golden Demons to a district championship in 3A-7 and used his athleticism to contribute on defense, recording three interceptions.
3. CB Levi Copelin, Broken Arrow
Was opposing quarterbacks' worst nightmare, collecting nine interceptions and returning one for a TD. Also caught seven touchdown passes at wideout. Has verbally committed to Houston.