Owasso and Broken Arrow should be plenty familiar with each other when they line up Saturday night.
The top-ranked Rams (11-0) and No. 2 Tigers (9-2) square off for the fourth time in two seasons, with the winner claiming a spot in the Class 6AI state championship game two weeks from now. Owasso won the earlier meeting this season, 42-19, on the road while BA swept the Rams last year, the latter a 10-7 verdict in the state semifinal round.
This time the scene shifts to Allan Trimble Stadium on the campus of Jenks High School with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
In preparing for the rematch, senior quarterback Cole Dugger said the Rams had to wipe the slate clean this week.
“We’re going to prepare like we haven’t seen them before,” said Dugger, who threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 completions in the Sept. 13 meeting. “Obviously, they’ve matured through the season and have gotten better and we’ve gotten better. But we’re just going to try to focus on our game plan.”
In the regular season matchup, BA jumped out to an early lead before the Ram defense came up with two critical turnovers that swung the momentum their way. A couple of special teams snafus gave the Tigers a 17-14 advantage early in the third quarter but that deficit last just a few moments before Mario Kirby answered with a 49-yard scoring catch and run. Payton Lusk followed with a 15-yard leaping grab as Owasso never looked back with a 28-point second half.
Owasso limited BA to 10 passing yards and came up with three turnovers as the Rams won going away.
So just how much bearing will the regular season contest have on Saturday night?
Not much, according to Owasso coach Bill Blankenship.
“The only safe way to approach it is that you see them as a completely different team,” Blankenship said. “If you try to play the team we saw back in September, I think that’s a real dangerous thing. I think you’ve got to approach it as this is a playoff game. This is a playoff team. You try to take the information you learned, file that away. But don’t assume that’s the same group.”
One difference for the Ram defense is the emergence of Sanchez Banks for BA. The junior running back has rushed for 876 yards and 14 TDs over the past six games. Banks tallied 155 yards and two touchdowns, a 2-yard rushing TD with 39 seconds left in last week’s 35-31 comeback win over Union.
Sanchez ran for 67 yards on six carries against Owasso in the first meeting.
The Ram receivers will have to contend with senior defensive back Myles Slusher. The Oregon commit went down with an injury in the regular season contest and did not return until late in the regular season.
“They’re just a lot more explosive than they were earlier in the year,” Blankenship said.