PRYOR, OK —
Game of the Week: No. 7 Adair (3-1, 1-0) at No. 9 Nowata (4-0, 1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The winner of this game should, by any standards, be the last man standing at the end of the District 2A-7 schedule with the top seed and a pair of home playoff games.
The 2012 game between these two schools went down as an instant classic. Adair was down 21-14 in the final minutes of regulation before Brady Bradbury scored on a four-yard run to tie the game. Bradbury then connected with Hunter Rosebrough to give Adair a 28-21 lead in overtime before Nowata fumbled the ball away to end the game.
Don't think either side has forgotten how that one ended.
The matchup this year is a mirror image of last season's: A 3-1 team hits the road for a huge early-district contest against the 4-0 league favorite to jockey for playoff position. Adair head coach Mark Lippe pegged Nowata as the favorite to win the district before the season started, and the Ironmen have not disappointed.
These ain't the Nowata Possums.
Adair's potent air attack has hiccuped a bit in the last couple weeks, with an anomalous output against Millwood and a less-than-stellar second quarter for BJ Bradbury and his receivers against Caney Valley last week. If the Warriors can put the kibosh on bad throws and dropped passes and neutralize the pressure from Nowata's 6-foot-2, 260-pound nose guard and Player of the Year candidate Skyler Wood, they will have a chance to upset the Ironmen.
Bold Prediction: Nowata 23, Adair 17
Pryor (2-2, 1-0) vs. Tulsa Central (1-3, 0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
District 5A-4 will be a tough button to button this year. All eight schools have gone through the meat grinder in their first four games, and only Claremore (3-1) has come through with a record above .500. The Tigers will be fighting for the right to be 2-0 in district play — and two wins from a playoff spot. The Braves are one loss from falling into an 0-2 district hole. Give the edge to Pryor, which will be defending its turf on homecoming night. The Tigers play four of their last six at Tiger Stadium.
Bold Prediction: Pryor 27, Central 16
No. 11 Locust Grove (4-0, 1-0) vs. Westville (0-4, 0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Pirates haven't been this good in a long time. Perhaps all the pieces are falling into place a little earlier than expected for Matt Hennesy and his crew, but Locust is solving the puzzle with a solid defense. The high-flying Pirate offense usually gets the pub, but the Legion of Doom — led by captains and linebackers Traden Sokoloski, Trevor Taylor and Cory Rohde — is the reason Locust Grove has 5-0 and 2-0 in District 3A-7 in its crosshairs.
Bold Prediction: Locust Grove 58, Westville 7
Salina (3-1, 1-0) vs. Colcord (3-1, 1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Battle of 82 has its own special significance, but the Wildcats' battle with Colcord Friday has far more bearing on whether or not Salina will be playing late in the season. Salina had a problem taking care of business at home last year, but has a 2-0 record so far in 2013. The Wildcat rushing attack has been firing on all cylinders, and if Bret Fite, Jon Parsons and the rest of the backfield can find room, Salina could escape with a win and a decent shot at a second-place finish in 2A-8.
Bold Prediction: Salina 21, Colcord 15
Chouteau (3-1, 1-0) vs. Oklahoma Union (1-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
These Chouteau Wildcats aren't the same Chouteau Wildcats we've known in the past. Something has clicked for this lovable squad from southern Mayes County, and they've gone from looking for their first district win in six seasons to being favored to win their second in a row. Health and depth have been big concerns for Mark Jones and his team, and through four games, luck and determination have been on the Wildcats' side. Steel yourselves for the first four-win Chouteau team since 2005 — just five games into the season.
Bold Prediction: Chouteau 32, Oklahoma Union 14
Chuck's Week 4 Picks: 4-1