PRYOR, OK —
For the first time in a long time, four Mayes County teams will be hosting first-round playoff games. Here’s a peek at what will be on the docket for Pryor, Locust Grove, Salina and Adair on Friday:
Pryor (7-3) vs. Skiatook (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m.
Everybody in their right mind is picking Guthrie to win it all in Class 5A, but the chase to Stillwater will be fun to watch no matter who's in it at the end. It all starts at home for the ninth-ranked Tigers Friday, who may have lucked out by claiming the second seed instead of the top seed in District 5A-4.
Skiatook stumbled into the playoffs, winning a three-way tie for third place in 5A-3 over 6-4 Bishop Kelley and 6-4 Memorial. The Bulldogs have lost three of their last five games, and their only wins have come vs. Noble (4-6), Durant (2-8), Hale (0-10) and Memorial in Week 10.
The Pryor defense, led by ball-hawking linebackers Ryan Northcutt, Matt McGouldrick and Tim Stimson, will take aim at Skiatook running back Kyle McLaughlin (1,730 rush yards, 18 TDs).
The Skiatook offense won't be an issue if the Pryor offense plays like is has in the last half of the season. Led by linemen Kyle Goforth, Will Stover, Brandon Pope, Nick Giltner and Josiah Gauger, the Tigers racked up a season-high 515 rushing yards against East Central last week.
Per Pryor statistician Brian Smith's research, Pryor plays its best football in the first half, especially the second quarter. The Tigers average 7.48 yards per carry and have scored 16 touchdowns in the second quarter, 247 yards and six scores more than its next best quarter (first).
It won't be a cakewalk, but Pryor should be moving on to Round 2, likely at Lawton MacArthur.
Locust Grove (10-0) vs. Roland (6-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
LG already has its best season ever under its belt, but the Pirates are eyeing a little more than a good start. Senior running back Cory Rohde will sit this one out, but LG head coach Matt Hennesy said sophomore receiver and safety Jason Pirtle will be back in action after missing the regular season finale at Keys.
Salina (8-2) vs. Pawhuska (4-6), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Salina and Adair will trade Week 10 opponents for their first-round games. The Wildcats draw the Huskies to start, and the matchup for Salina looks favorable across the board. Expect the 'Cats senior backfield (Cale Backward, Jon Parsons, Bret Fite) to take control of the game early and put Salina in the second round.
Adair (9-1) vs. Kansas (6-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors need to shrug off two sub-par outings in the last two weeks (Westville, at Pawhuska) to win their eighth-straight game. Kansas will be the opponent looking to upset Adair in the first round. Warrior coach Mark Lippe's teams are 29-1 in the regular season since 2011, but just 2-2 in the postseason.