The favorite: Carl Albert
The Titans are 28-0 with back-to-back state titles since Mike Corley followed legendary former coach Gary Rose to the helm in 2017. Overall, they seek a fourth straight gold ball and have won 36 games in a row, needing 13 more to break Wagoner’s state-record, 48-game streak set two years ago. QB Ben Harris has 55 TD passes over his first two seasons and Javion Hunt, Alphonse Joseph and Reise Collier head a defense that might be as good as any the Titans have put on the field.
2. Bishop Kelley
Hopes are high for the Comets after they reached the playoff semifinals for the first time in 19 years. DT Montrell Cozart is one of 10 returning starters from a defense that limited opponents to 13.5 points per game. WR Cori Lewis caught 13 TD passes and RB Zach Middleton averaged more than 8 yards per carry.
3. OKC Bishop McGuinness
The Irish played in two consecutive 5A championship games before falling to Bishop Kelley in last year’s second round. TCU commit Dominic Richardson has 54 rushing TDs over his first three seasons. OU commit Brynden Walker had 10 sacks last year.
J.T. Cobble guided the Demons to their first winning season (9-2) in six years. QB Jaxon Gregston returns with speedsters as receiving targets. WRs Jai’Vion Dangerfield and Roderick Standokes run the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds.
Many are gone from the first Collinsville team to start 12-0 in 40 years, but RB Brayden Burd rushed for 1,047 yards and 15 TDs last season.
Powerful offensive linemen and hard-nosed QB Tero Roberts are gone from last year’s state runner-up team, but the Tigers are almost always in contention. SS Jaamarre Williams had five interceptions last season.
RB Jace Hightower rushed for 1,138 yards last season, Dylan Kedzior and Quentin Skinner caught five TD passes each, and LB Mason Hayes is the top returnee from the only defense that held Edison’s explosive Sevion Morrison under 100 yards in a game.
Any 5A discussion has to include the Eagles after Morrison rushed for 2,720 yards and 35 TDs last year. He had eight games with more than 200 yards and averaged 349 in one five-game stretch. He needs less than 300 yards to break Spencer Tillman’s career school record.
Dae Dae Leathers rushed for 1,586 yards and 19 TDs last season, Tate Christian threw 15 TD passes and DT Blake Corn had 11 tackles for loss and six sacks, helping lead the Tigers to nine wins, a 27-year program high.
10. Lawton MacArthur
Dual-threat QB Racer Felter returns as the Highlanders try to rebound from missing the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Players in the state’s top 25
Other players to watch
Glenpool, WR, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Moves to receiver after rushing for 801 yards and seven TDs on a bad ankle last year. Credited with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. Was 5A state 100-meter champ and second in the 200.
East Central, OT/DT, 6-5, 312, Sr.
A Goliath in size-16 shoes, protects the blind side and spurs the Cards’ running game. Had 50 pancake blocks last season and made 15 solo tackles in limited defensive action.
Skiatook, WR/CB, 6-1, 175, Sr.
Versatile contributor totals 1,088 rushing yards, 886 receiving yards, five interceptions and 28 TDs in his first two seasons. Anchored sixth-place finish in the 400-meter relay.
Games to watch
Sept. 13: No. 2 Bishop Kelley at No. 3 Bishop McGuinness
Old Catholic Conference rivals meet for the 42nd time in a rematch of Kelley’s 34-33 upset in last year’s quarterfinals.
Sept. 20: No. 8 Edison at No. 7 Claremore
Zebras put the clamps on Edison’s Sevion Morrison last November and won 34-7 in the first round of the playoffs.
Nov. 1: No. 5 Collinsville at Skiatook
Defense ruled Collinsville’s 17-3 in win the 95th Highway 20 War last season. It almost always does.