Collinsville began the 2018 campaign with an emphatic win over Oologah. That victory proved to be the jumping off point for an historic season for the Cardinals.
CHS racked up more than 300 rushing yards and scored four times on the ground in a 49-0 thumping of the Mustangs. Kevin Jones’ squad went on to its first unbeaten regular season in nearly 40 years and advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals.
“We were really pleased with our play in week 1 and got off to a great start,” Jones recalled.
Collinsville and Oologah meet again Friday night in the season opener for both squads, this time on the Mustangs’ home field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Last year’s lopsided outcome was a bit of an anomaly for Collinsville in the series between the two schools. Oologah had won the previous three matchups and five of eight overall since 2010.
The Cardinals came into the 2018 matchup with a senior-laden squad while Oologah was in the midst of turmoil. Following the season opening loss to Collinsville, Chad Weeks was named as interim head coach after Chase Kime was abruptly terminated just one game into his first year. The Mustangs eventually regrouped, knocked off Class 4A power Wagoner in district play and the interim tag was lifted from Weeks in the off-season.
Under Weeks, Oologah won four of its last five regular season games and finished the year with a 5-6 record. The Mustangs enter Friday ranked No. 9 in Class 4A.
“They had a lot of injuries last year before going to game one,” Jones said of Oologah. “We expect them to be a good, quality football team, which is what they are. They’re a great program. I think coach Weeks has done an outstanding job taking over up there.
“We try to instill in our kids that every season is different. Every team is different. I don’t care how many starters you have coming back. You can’t take anything for granted when reflecting back on last year.”
Following a 12-1 record a year ago, Collinsville has several question marks to begin this fall.
The Cardinals still have battles for playing time going on at positions like quarterback. Baylor Weathers figures to be the first signal caller to take the field against Oologah, but guys like Caden Buoy and Kolten Allphin, who is still not cleared after off-season shoulder surgery, could see time under center.
Defensively, Zac Robbins is the top candidate at nose guard but Kaden Jones is pushing to get on the field. Zach Kitch, Nate Wilkins and Jace Ellis are each looking for time at the other end spot, opposite established senior Gage Tacker. At safety, Allphin, Jake Bays, Andrew Wilson and Andrew Carney are each jockeying for playing time.
Following Friday’s opener, the remaining non-district schedule for the Cardinals include Bartlesville and Ponca City. Jones said he and his Collinsville coaches hope to have those starting roles more defined by the time district play starts Sept. 27 against Claremore.
“Right now, our focus is on us and making sure we get better,” Jones said. “We’re not really concerned about opponents, as much as we are ourselves. That time will come when we focus more on game plans and other teams.”