Southwest Oklahoma has a long history of success in 8-man football, and while this may come as a surprise to some, we’ll have another gold ball this season and we’re even predicting a Class C All-Area Final.
First, a quick recap of last week’s games where four teams represented the area: Frederick, Walters, Tipton and Mt View-Gotebo.
Frederick faced a talented Chandler crew who struck early and often to end the season for the Bombers. Chandler has the kind of club that can clearly claim the title in Class 2A with a great running quarterback and a variety of talented teammates.
The Bombers deserve a lot of credit for picking up a couple of impressive wins late in the season to advance to the playoffs. The 21-20 win over Lindsay was huge, and then taking to the streets and upsetting District Champion Davis in the first round was another big surprise. The Bombers will lose a good group of seniors but there are some youngsters to be reckoned with in the future.
We have to give Walters a lot of credit for taking to the road last Friday and pushing leaders Ringling to the final whistle. The Walters crew took the lead early with a nice drive to show Ringling that the Cotton County crew shouldn’t be overlooked. While Ringling came back and established a 28-8 lead, Walters immediately came back and scored twice in the second half to cut the lead to 28-22.
Walters then developed a great defense and eventually took over his own 41 for one last drive. While a move spoiled every comeback, Walters’ players and coaches deserve credit for a strong season. After four years losing running back/linebacker Clay Graham to a knee injury during a scrimmage, the Blue Devils had to adapt and use available talent, and they finished a solid 9-1 regular season and just one 0-16- Losing to Apache to spoil a perfect regular season.
Then the Blue Devils received Burns Flat and gave the West Oklahoma team a 33-0 win to earn the right to face Ringling. While the season ended with that tough loss, Walters made things interesting despite the early adversities.
OK, so let’s talk about the two eight-clubs left to carry the territory banner.
This author was able to watch both quarter-finals last week and both were impressive, but Tipton clearly have an amazingly talented group of players who will pose a challenge to any eight-man opponent.
When we first accessed the streaming video, the computer scoreboard said it was 0-0, but when I pushed the audio to the limit I could hear the announcer at Don Royal Stadium saying it was 50-0. It ended 66-8 and the food stand once again had to struggle to get rid of the extra supplies of hot dogs, popcorn and the like as the game ended early due to the 45 point grace rule. This season, while going 12-0, the Tigers have only had three games over the distance, which is pretty amazing.
This week’s semi-final opponent will be Timberlake and the game takes place on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Alex High School, which has artificial turf so the chance of rain shouldn’t affect the ground much.
While we didn’t watch the entire game, from what I’ve seen this will be another win for the Tipton Tigers, not the Timberlake Tigers.
Regarding Timberlake’s scouting, Tipton head coach Travis White said there are several similarities between the two clubs.
“We’re both Tigers and we both have the double T logos on our helmets,” he said. “They’re a faster, more aggressive team than Maysville, but I think we’re going to have a pretty good size advantage in most positions. They have some smart kids who are good playmakers so we have to be ready.
Tipton is led by a core group of seniors including quarterback Dallas Chandler, running backs Prince Dweh and Dakota Sheffield, and all three are very capable threats and can explode at any game. The Tigers won’t throw the ball much, but Chandler has that ability too.
There’s another reason why Tipton is so good; a great team of coaches. Alongside Coach White, he will be joined by former head coaches Robert Babcock and Jim Kerbo, both good friends who know the game as well as anyone. Add in Joe Harbert and Lane Chandler and that’s a great coaching team for any program, no matter the class.
Throw all these factors on the table and we see that the game plays out like this: Tipton 54, Timberlake 12.
So let’s look at the other tigers in the mix, that of Mt View-Gotebo.
This group of Tigers has been in the state semifinals for three straight seasons and after suffering a narrow loss in the title game last year, they are excited to reach the Finals and fight for the gold ball again after a 48-36 loss at Timberlake in Title game 2021.
This time, Mt. View-Gotebo once again takes on Waynoka, whom the Tigers defeated 48-2 in the semifinals last season. This semi-final will also take place in Watonga on Friday at 7 p.m.
We’ve tried to contact Mt View-Gotebo head coach Jeff Coakley but his inbox is full and he and his staff are working hard to prepare for another tough challenge.
But we also saw the Tigers play last week and while Wesleyan Christian’s video wasn’t nearly as good as Tipton’s students, I was able to get a good idea of what Mt View-Gotebo will be doing on Friday.
It all starts with lean quarterback Aiden Kimberlin, a junior who appears to be 6-1 or 6-2 and has good pace. Its size gives it a good advantage to overlook defenders.
Jarrett Butler is a good senior running back/linebacker and Paden Jackson is a threat for the receiver, who also ran the ball in last week’s 34-20 away win. Jahlil Love and Maleki Jones are also offensive weapons of the Tigers.
One of the great men at the top is Tristan Haag, son of Lawton native Richard Haag, who still has many friends in town. Tristan is another senior with playoff experience.
Mt View-Gotebo doesn’t have the depth of last season but this group knows how to win and we see them doing the same again this year but this time it will be much closer: Mt. View 28, Waynoka 20.
Last week: 3-1, 75 percent. Season: 129-38, 77.2 percent.
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