Class 5A state final storylines and key matchup
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 3:08 AM
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Who will finish?
Each team is on a collision course with destiny. East Central is technically 9-4 because of four forfeits, but 13-0 on the field. The Cards are trying to become the first unbeaten, untied Tulsa Public Schools team since Booker T. Washington's 11-0 state championship squad in 1973. Carl Albert has won seven straight after 1-5 start. Another win would cap the greatest comeback in the classification since McLain won its final nine games in 1986 to capture what was then the 4A state title after losing its first five.
Thin in the trenches
The Cards rely on five offensive line starters who also pull full-time defensive duty. Will this lack of depth be a factor against an opponent that has five one-way starters among its defensive front seven? It hasn't been for most of the season. The Cards have blocked tailback William Goree to 1,290 rushing yards and 18 TDs. Depth became more of an issue when 6-foot-4, 350-pound starter Alejandro Garcia broke his leg in a 50-20 win at Grove on Oct. 12.
A run-first team
Teams normally prefer a balance between the run and pass, but not this year's Titans. They have run three-fourths of the time, accounting for more than two-thirds of their 4,615 yards. Quarterback Steven Thompson has 33 rushing TDs. The Cards have been strong against the run most of the season but allowed McAlester to accumulate 240 rushing yards in the semifinals. "They did a good job of spreading the field, but defending the run has been one of the strengths of our team," linebacker Kimmie Carson said.
Original Print Headline: 5A Title Game: Three Storylines
Key matchup: Carl Albert secondary vs. East Central's receivers
The Titans probably must slow down the Cards' talented trio to have any chance. Stanvon Taylor has 15 TD receptions, Deontre Youngblood has eight TD receptions and Demontre Burkhalter had a key 30-yard catch in the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter of the semifinal win over McAlester. "They have more weapons than any team we've faced," Carl Albert coach Gary Rose said. The Titans' pass defense has been markedly better since the fourth game when sophomore Dillon Lohr was moved into the lineup at cornerback and starting quarterback Steven Thompson took on double duty at the other corner spot.
East Central's William Goree has 1,290 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns this season. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World
East Central's Stanvon Taylor has 15 touchdown catches on the season. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World
East Central's Deontre Youngblood has eight touchdown catches this season. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World