Barry Lewis: Semifinals often provide playoff magic
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2012
11/22/12 at 6:21 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: Semifinals often provide playoff magic
CLASS 6A's state championship game has provided a spectacular finish to the past two high school football seasons.
However, during the past decade, the most exciting games in the playoffs have usually occurred in the semifinals.
More thrills could be ahead on Friday night with two outstanding matchups - No. 1 Jenks vs. No. 3 Union at Broken Arrow's Memorial Stadium and No. 2 Owasso vs. No. 6 Norman North at Union-Tuttle Stadium.
Below are the top five semifinals from the previous 10 years:
1. Union 48, Lawton 41, 2 OT (2010 at Putnam City): A Jalen Hearron touchdown run in each overtime helped the Redskins outlast the Wolverines. Hearron's 2-yard run in the second OT came on third down. Union, trailing 41-34, overcame a second-and-25 in the first OT. Lawton's Cody Inger kicked a tying 28-yard field goal with 1:01 left in regulation, but missed a 54-yarder as time expired.
2. Mustang 48, Muskogee 44 (2005 at Putnam City): Josh Cooper caught a 51-yard TD pass from Matt Edmonds with 37 seconds left after a controversial ruling kept Muskogee from sealing the victory with a fumble recovery two plays earlier. Muskogee took a 44-41 lead on Rell Lewis' 1-yard TD run with 1:50 remaining to cap a 91-yard drive. The teams combined for 37 points in the final period.
3. Union 30, Jenks 29 (2011 at Stillwater High School): Hunter Atyia's 6-yard TD run and Austin Butler's extra-point kick with 7:32 left lifted the Redskins over the Trojans. Union came up with a goal-line stand that ended with a botched 18-yard field goal with five minutes left. A penalty derailed another serious Jenks scoring threat in the final minute. Jordan Smallwood's TD catch gave Jenks a 29-23 lead early in the fourth quarter. Jenks' Trey'Vonne Barr'e had an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD.
4. Jenks 29, Putnam North 23 (2004 at Broken Arrow): Freddie Carolina's 6-yard TD run with 47.5 seconds left lifted the Trojans past the Panthers, who had taken a 23-21 lead two minutes earlier on Stephen Hoge's 44-yard field goal. Jenks rallied twice in the fourth quarter, first overcoming a 20-7 deficit. Jenks quarterback Andrew Brewer had 271 total yards, accounted for three TDs and intercepted Sam Bradford's pass on the final play. The Trojans held Bradford to 178 passing yards and two TDs.
5. Jenks 14, Union 12 (2003 at Tulsa's Skelly Stadium): Carolina rushed for 177 yards and two TDs to lead the Trojans before 19,000 fans. Union, which was down 14-0, scored two TDs in the fourth quarter, but missed both two-point conversions, including the second with 4:34 left, after having its kicker injured during pregame warmups.
Also considered: Union's 24-13 win over Broken Arrow in 2009 as quarterback Chase Boyce had two TD runs in the last 4:29 to overcome a 13-10 deficit; Jenks' 52-35 win in 2006 as the Trojans scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to snap a 28-28 tie against Muskogee's "Legion of Doom" defense; and Union's 13-6 win over Muskogee in 2007 as Tress Way's kicking and Dylan Troutman's key defensive plays proved to be the difference.
Offensive fireworks possible: Recent history indicates that Friday's Jenks-Union game will have a lot of points. In the previous five years when the teams have met in the playoffs, they have averaged to combine for 69.6 points. Union's 30-29 win in the semifinals last year was the lowest scoring among the five games, but that could have been due to the weather conditions. In the previous four years, the playoff rematch was higher scoring than the regular-season meeting.
Union defeated Jenks 14-7 in this year's season opener. Don't expect another low-scoring game Friday.
Owasso has momentum: Owasso coach Bill Patterson said the Rams' 35-15 win over Norman last week was his team's "best game all year long."
A strong defensive effort was led by Ty McKenzie, who had 16 tackles.
"That's as good a game as any of our linebackers have played since I've been here," Patterson said.
Wagoner peaking: Wagoner coach Dale Condict likes the way his defending state championship team is performing going into its 4A semifinal against undefeated Anadarko on Friday at Langston. Wagoner defeated Weatherford 33-10 last week.
"We played really well defensively and we're winning the turnover margin," Condict said. "Weatherford was the best defensive team we've played this year."
T.J. Ponds and Denton Bosco were defensive standouts for Wagoner. Bosco had 18 tackles and came up with two takeaways.
The Bulldogs will need another big defensive effort against Anadarko, which has a 27-game winning streak.
"They are as athletic as we are physical," Condict said. "They have a big-play running back, R.J. Sink. They have good size and are aggressive. They have a lot of momentum."
Thanksgiving tradition: So how are some of this year's playoff teams spending Thanksgiving?
Condict: "This is the sixth time in the past eight years that we've been playing on Thanksgiving week and we'll keep the same ritual. We'll practice at 6:30 p.m. and play Nat King Cole music over the loud speakers."
Patterson: "We'll practice from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. It's Dad's Day. We invite them to come out to practice, and it's fun hearing them tell stories and swap memories."
Metro Christian coach Jared McCoy: "It will be our regular Thursday walk-through practice. It will be from 9 (a.m.) to 10:15 a.m., and it will be laid-back. We invite the families, the booster club will provide hot chocolate and we'll have music going. All coaches want to practice on Thanksgiving."
Jenks' Ben Cutten is mobbed by his teammates after he intercepted a pass from Union quarterback Jake Spavital late in the fourth quarter in the Class 6A semifinals on Nov. 29, 2003, at Skelly Stadium. The interception sealed Jenks' 14-12 victory in the game. Tulsa World file