How was the World’s All-State team chosen?

Attempts were made for Tulsa World All World/All-State forms to be emailed to all schools, and their head coaches were invited to nominate their players. In addition, there were invitations in print and online for coaches to nominate players in case they had not received a form. Players from all grades were eligible, a significant difference between the World’s All-State team and the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s selections that include only seniors.

Three of the 26 players on the World’s All-State first team are juniors — Stillwater running back Qwontrel Walker (a second-team selection last year), Owasso linebacker Emaud Triplett and Vian defensive lineman Solomon Wright. The second team has five juniors and a sophomore — Edmond Santa Fe receiver Talyn Shettron. Broken Arrow offensive lineman Andrew Raym is a three-time selection to the first team — a rarity.

A player did not have to be nominated by his coach to be honored, but a coach’s nomination can be a big factor as to whether a player was selected. It’s difficult for a player to be recognized if he is not nominated or if a team does not participate in the Tulsa World’s Preps by the Numbers. I made the final decisions on All-State and the All-World honors that were published Saturday.

The selections came after reviewing the nominations and consulting other World writers and some coaches. Decisions were based primarily on 2019 performances, although career achievements could be used as a tiebreaker.

When will the player of the year be announced?

Starting with the 2016 season, the selections of the metro’s top offensive and defensive players are announced during the All World Awards banquet — the event for this school year will be held June 25. The five offensive and five defensive finalists were published in Saturday’s paper. All 10 of those finalists were automatically named to the World’s All-State first team. Naming an All-State player of the year now could give away the All World winners. This year’s All-State winner will be selected next summer.

Why was Bixby’s Loren Montgomery selected coach of the year?

All nine coaches who won state titles would have been deserving of that award, including All World winner Jared McCoy, who guided Class 2A Metro Christian to a 15-0 record and its first gold ball. There were six schools that had undefeated seasons. But Montgomery, the 2016 All World winner, receives the World’s state honor for the first time, an award that he’s deserved for quite a while. He has led the Spartans to five 6AII state titles and six state finals in six years. But this was Bixby’s best team, routing all of its opponents until the title game, with the state’s most explosive offense. A 57-7 win over 6AI runner-up Jenks made a major statement. Bixby enters 2020 with the state’s longest winning streak in 11-man football — 25 games.

What were the toughest decisions in selecting the first team?

The hardest choices came on defense where it was tough to leave off players such as Beggs’ Kendal Daniels, Owasso’s Duece Mayberry, Weatherford’s Ethan Downs and Oklahoma City McGuinness’ Brynden Walker. On offense, it was difficult not having quarterbacks Mason Williams of Bixby and Gunnar Gundy of Stillwater on the first team. It was a stellar year for QBs in the Tulsa metro — Owasso’s Cole Dugger, Lincoln Christian’s Chase Ricke and Metro Christian’s Asher Link all are All World player-of-the-year finalists. Dugger is listed as the quarterback — his only position — while Ricke is listed at punter, where he also excelled in his career, and Link is the all-purpose selection because he also was used in the secondary and as a punter. Excelling at more than one position was a key factor in some decisions.

How many teams and classifications are represented on the World’s first team?

The first team includes players from 20 schools, with Owasso, Bixby, Stillwater, Lincoln Christian, Metro Christian and Plainview having two each. Six players came from each 6AI and 6AII, five from 3A, three each from 5A and 2A, two from 4A and one from Class B. The second team included players from 16 other schools as well as from Classes A and C.

Barry Lewis