PRYOR, OK —
Game of the Week: Pryor (6-3, 5-1 District 5A-4) vs. East Central (4-5, 4-2 5A-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Collinsville all but popped Pryor's district championship bubble last week with a 20-19 win, but the Tigers can bounce back and claim a home district game this week against defending district champion East Central. Led last season by junior quarterback Trevon Cherry, senior running back William Goree and senior wide receiver Stanvon Taylor, the Cardinals reached the 5A state title game last season and pounded Pryor 42-7 in the Tigers' regular season finale.
EC lost its first three games in 2013 before bouncing back in district, winning four of its last six. Gone are Goree and Taylor, but Cherry returns to wreak havoc in the Pryor secondary. Cherry has passed for 2,078 yards and 20 TDs, but he has been careless at times (12 interceptions).
One thing the Tigers should be able to do with ease is score points behind its potent rushing attack. The Cardinals give up an average of 37.7 points per game, the worst in the district. No playoff team in Class 5A gives up more points than East Central.
A Cardinal win coupled with Claremore and Collinsville wins (vs. Grove and Tahlequah, respectively) would create a three-way tie for second place, and with each team holding a 1-1 record against the others the second-place spot would come down to district points, and Pryor has a sizable lead over Claremore and East Central (see standings in the ScoreCard on page 2B). Pryor can still win the district with a win and a Collinsville loss. In any case, the Tigers will likely host Bishop Kelley (6-3), Memorial (6-3) or Skiatook (3-6) in Round 1.
Bold Prediction: Pryor 35, East Central 24
Locust Grove (9-0, 5-0 District 3A-7) at Keys (1-8, 1-4 3A-7), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
LG has already clinched its division, but it can lock up the first unbeaten regular season in school history with a win at Keys. Senior running back Cory Rohde, coming off of a career night against Lincoln Christian, will likely miss the game with a knee injury, so look for sophomore quarterback Mason Fine to key the offense in preparation for the Pirates' first playoff game since 2006.
Bold Prediction: Locust Grove 52, Keys 18
Salina (7-2, 5-1 District 2A-8) at Kansas (6-3, 4-2 2A-8), Friday, 7 p.m.
Salina head coach Kyle Fowler tabbed Kansas as the preseason favorite to win the district in the preseason, but the Comets lost a pair of games and sit in fourth place heading into the season finale. A win for either team would boost its playoff standing, and a win for Salina would guarantee a home playoff game. A loss, however, would mean a road playoff date, likely at Adair or Nowata. The good news? Senior quarterback Cale Backward (concussion) will return from a one-game absence.
Bold Prediction: Salina 28, Kansas 22
Adair (8-1, 5-0 District 2A-7) at Pawhuska (4-5, 4-1 2A-7), Friday, 7 p.m.
Perhaps no team has had a better second half of the season than Pawhuska. After a 1-5 start, the Huskies have reeled off three straight wins and can even claim the District 2A-7 title with a 10-point win over Adair, or a win and a Nowata loss to Chelsea. Adair, however, can punch all those "what-ifs" in the face with a simple scoreboard win in its furthest road trip of the regular season. Pawhuska is a dangerous team — but so is Adair. Warriors win.
Bold Prediction: Adair 37, Pawhuska 22
Chouteau (3-6) at Canadian (1-7), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
It's hard to call this season a true disappointment for Chouteau, but its last five games — all losses — have been a return to the status quo for the school. Still, a win over Canadian, 54-0 losers at Chouteau last year, would be a nice cherry on top of the Wildcats' best season in eight years, one that has seen the Wildcats win its first district game since 2006 and come within 16 points of two more.
Bold Prediction: Chouteau 18, Canadian 8
Chuck's Week 9 Picks: 4-1