PRYOR, OK —
Now it's personal.
The 2013 high school football season is barely halfway in the books, but the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association has already released district football assignments for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and it's going to be a Mayes County free-for-all in District 2A-7.
Adair and Chouteau, current 2A-7 residents, will be joined by Salina in the next two seasons in what could be one of the most competitive districts in the state.
"Our district will be very solid," Adair head football coach Mark Lippe said. "There are numerous quality teams with outstanding coaching staffs. Anytime you play someone local there is additional excitement and it creates a great atmosphere for Oklahoma high school football."
Colcord, Hulbert, Haskell and Kansas will fill out the district, which will be the first to feature three Mayes County teams in at least a decade.
"[The new district alignment] is good for traveling, but it will be a very tough district," Chouteau head coach Mark Jones said. Salina's Kyle Fowler said the alignment is "pretty much as expected" after school leaders met to divvy up districts earlier this year.
Salina leaves behind District 2A-8, which will be headlined in the next two years by Nowata (joining from 2A-7) and Commerce.
Pryor knew in August it would be losing district rival Claremore to Class 6A Division II, and now it knows who will be filling the void left by the Zebras and Tulsa Central, which will move to Class 4A.
Tulsa Edison, a Class 6A import, will fill out the Pryor district slate in 2014 and 2015. The eighth team assigned to 5A-4, Capitol Hill, "will not participate in [its] assigned district for 2014/2015-2015/2016 school years," according to the OSSAA release. Capitol Hill's roster numbers have dwindled, so it has petitioned the OSSAA for a four-year leave of absence from sanctioned competition.
"Every team in our district will have to find an opponent to fill an off week or just have an open week," Pryor Athletic Director Steve Jarboe said. "We will have Week 10 open. That means we have to go out and find a team to play in Week 10 or have an open week that week. As of right now, we have a couple of options we are looking at to fill the open week."
Filling out the district will be 2012-2013 staples Coweta, Collinsville, East Central, Grove and Tahlequah. Claremore and Pryor will continue to play a non-district home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015.
Another beneficiary of the district shakeups is Locust Grove, which will see current District 3A-7 bullies Hilldale and Lincoln Christian shipped out and replaced with Claremore Sequoyah and Inola.
Jay, Keys, Tahlequah Sequoyah and Westville will remain in 3A-7 with Locust Grove. The LG athletic director, currently Justin Brown, will serve as the district chair.
In Class 6A, the two new divisions were announced as well. The heavyweights will be divided into divisions of 16 schools apiece. Division I inlcudes Broken Arrow, Edmond Memorial, Edmond North, Edmond Santa Fe, Jenks, Moore, Mustang, Norman, Norman North, Owasso, Putnam City, Putnam City North, Southmoore, Union, Westmoore and Yukon.
Division II includes Bartlesville, Bixby, Booker T. Washington, Choctaw, Claremore, Eisenhower, Enid, Lawton, Midwest City, Muskogee, Ponca City, Putnam City West, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Stillwater and U.S. Grant.