Al Davis, the original owner of the Oakland Raiders and a pioneer in the American Football League, would be right at home in District 6A-I 1
His signature catch phrase of “Just win, Baby,” is all that matters now that the OSSAA has extended playoffs to include all teams and allow districts to decide how teams will be seeded. District 1 is based on wins alone. District 6A 1-2 will use a ranking system to determine playoff seeding.
Broken Arrow’s game with Edmond Santa Fe was always a highlighted date on the calendar. As was the case a season ago, a game went a long way in deciding the district championship. This year’s contest at Santa Fe may not carry the significance it once did. Or does it?
“The answer is yes. Maybe,” Tiger head coach David Alexander said. “Even the team that wins, if they lose one or two games to cancellations in the last weeks and the other team wins, you’ll fall out of first place. District standings can change radically in the final three games if anybody has to cancel a game.”
A Tiger win, and Broken Arrow matches Santa Fe with three district wins. The two teams have Norman (1-3 in district) and Enid (1-2) left on their schedule. Jenks, who is scheduled to play Yukon Friday, has had games with Enid and Santa Fe postponed. With more COVID postponements possible, the playoff scenarios are endless and trying to decipher the what-ifs is mind numbing.
District 6A I-1 standings
Edmond Santa Fe
With all that, the Tigers have a game to play against a talented team. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Limited tickets are available at Gof.co. Arrowvision and audio-only streams will not be available. Or, follow live stats at statbroadcast.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Alexander said. “They have a couple of really special players over there.”
The Wolves receiving and running combo of Tayln Shettron and Ethan Hyche will be the focus of the Tiger defense. Shettron was a difference maker with eight catches for 159 yards while Hyche ran for 66 yards and a touchdown in Santa Fe’s 23-21 win a season ago.
Alexander is confident his secondary can slow down Shettron on Friday.
“I’ve bragged on our secondary all year,” the coach said. “This will be a big challenge for them, so we’ll see. Corey Williams has had a magnificent season. We moved Javion Franklin over to corner. He is going to have a big challenge this week, but he brings brains and savvy to the secondary. Jadahian Wright has had a breakout season. He’s been fantastic.
“But, even talking about the receivers and all this stuff they do, they are still a 70-30 percent run over pass. And, looking at the weather for Friday, I don’t know if anyone is going to be able to throw.”
The temperature is predicted to be 46-degrees and falling at kickoff. Winds are expected to be around 10 miles per hour.
To get a notch up in the district standings, the Tigers need to blow in like a raiding autumn wind and just win.
Both boys and girls Class 6A Cross Country East Regional is stacked with some of the best teams in the state. That includes the Broken Arrow Tigers.
Broken Arrow’s girls have won two meets this season, including the Pre-State event at Edmond Santa Fe, in September. The BA boys are coming off a victory at last week’s Frontier Valley Conference Championships.
On the girls side, four of the top five ranked teams – Jenks (1), Owasso (2), BA (3) and Yukon (5) – will be in the field. Broken Arrow’s boys, ranked sixth, will be in a field that features six of Class 6A’s nine best squads. Mustang and Edmond Memorial – Numbers 1 and 2 – head the group that also includes conference foes Union, Owasso, and Bartlesville, who are ranked seventh through ninth.
“It’ll be tough,” BA cross country coach Shane Messinger said before shifting the focus to his team. “They’ve shown themselves this year that they can do well. They have definitely decided that they want to have pinnacle success and that is what they are going for.
“At state, our goal is to always be on that podium. To me, one of the best payoff for the kids’ investment is the recognition of being one of the best in the state.”
To reach that goal, both teams will need to continue their gap – the time between qualifying runners one and five – improvement. The boys spread from first to fifth was a season best 47 seconds at the FVC meet.
Last year, Broken Arrow boys finished fourth at regionals. The girls placed eighth to just miss qualifying for the state meet.
This year’s East Regional will be held at the Case Community Center in Sand Springs. The Class 6A girls run at 10 a.m. The boys race is at 10:45 a.m.
Though the City of Sand Springs does not have a mask-requirement ordinance, Sand Springs Public Schools' COVID-19 guidelines will be enforced during the meet.
Corey Williams zeroed in on the Bulldog ball carrier, lowered his shoulder and completed the tackle. The Broken Arrow Tiger cornerback felt a twinge in his shoulder.
“I gotta get up. I gotta push through this.”
Those thoughts raced around is head as much as the pain pulsated through his shoulder. He slowly stood. Raised his arm. His elbow bent at a 45-degree angle, he rotated the arm in a backwards direction. Hearing a slight pop in the joint, he adjusted his shoulder pad. There was no grimace. It was time for the next play.
Like other instances the BAHS senior has endured as a teenager, this discomfort he kept to himself.
“I don’t want anybody showing any sympathy,” Williams said. “If I tell them stuff like that, they would treat me totally different. I don’t want that. I want them to look at me like a kid who just wants to play football and have fun. That’s it.”
The “stuff,” that is far from fun, has shaped Williams into the person and player he is.
“He may be as tough a kid as we have on the team,” Tiger head coach David Alexander said.
The summer before his sophomore year, Williams lost his father.
“My pops, when he passed, it was like ‘bro, you gotta tighten up,’” Williams said. “Actually, I knew I had to focus up and do my thing. It was a reality check to me.”
His “focus” didn’t become clear in an instant. Williams admits to dealing with anger issues. He had a falling out with the coaching staff at Choctaw.
“I didn’t want to listen to anybody,” he said. “I wasn’t a coachable player. I didn’t want to listen to the coaches. I was talking back.”
Williams, who lived in Broken Arrow through middle school, and his mother moved back to BA. Williams, who was a “cruise through life kid,” worked through his anger issues and did “focus up.” He credits his mother’s for being a “good source of positivity,” that him manage his anger and his grief.
“In the process of me moving down here I was thinking about what happened at Choctaw,” he said. “It was ignorant of me to do that. I tightened up. Listened to my coaches. Started doing what I had to do in class.”
Now, the only demon from the William’s football past that is a constant apparition is one from a season ago. In the state semifinals, Broken Arrow had closed to within eight, 35-27, of Owasso. A defensive stop and the Tigers would have a chance to tie the game. Williams shared his memory.
“I moved over. Nobody was on my side, so I shifted over toward the safety position. The tight end ran right at me and ran a little nine-yard out. They threw it to him for a touchdown. That play still haunts me till this day. If I would have just adjusted my feet a little bit more it would have been a pick. He caught it for a touchdown and it changed the momentum of the game. I can still picture it in my head.”
The 71-yard catch and run resulted in the 42-27 final and ended Broken Arrow’s hope of a second consecutive Class 6A state championship.
Asked if it’s still motivation, the answer was obvious. “Definitely.”
Alexander sees the drive in his cornerback who has 31 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick.
“Corey has played such great football every game,” Alexander said. “Corey didn’t practice at all last week because of a sore knee, and he’s playing with a shoulder harness. If he would have been 100 percent healthy this would have been a great game for him to play safety, because the corners were hardly involved in the run game. He’s just so beat up. We knew that at corner he would be where he was supposed to be and do his job.”
Williams won’t openly discuss his hurts – those on the inside and out. Those, he keeps locked away. He will talk about, and display, what he loves about football, though.
“I come down hill,” he said. “I like to hit. That’s where my mentality is.”
Sounds like a kid that has gotten up and is pushing through…on and off the field.
For a game that almost wasn’t, Broken Arrow and Yukon staged a sequel that matched the October thriller of a season ago.
“It was about 3:30 and I get a call while we’re on the bus from their coach that they have a kid getting tested,” Tiger head coach David Alexander said. “He’s doing a quick test and I was told that if he tested positive then we’re not playing. At that point, I didn’t think they’re was anyway we were going to play that game.”
The Yukon player’s parents had tested positive. The player did not. So, for the second year in a row, the Tigers and Millers put on quite a show. Broken Arrow again scored on its final possession to rally to victory. This time it was on the road. Last year, it was in front of a BA Homecoming crowd.
In 2019, Isaiah Keller’s 10-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left, was his fourth score of the game and second lining up as quarterback in the wildcat formation, and his subsequent two-point conversion run accounted for the 43-42 final
Thursday’s nerve-wrecking, fingernail-biting, 27-22, Tiger win came via an 11-yard, across-the-middle Jake Raines’ dart to Keyon Barnett with :07 on the Miller Stadium clock.
While Keller’s heroics and accounted for 26 points and 171 yards of total offense in Broken Arrow’s 2019 Homecoming game, it was a breakout night for Sanchez Banks, who rushed for 190 yards on 18 carries and scored on a 79-yard run. It was a 39-yard Banks run that pushed the ball to the Miller 10-yard line that set up the final score in last year.
This time, Banks again had 18 carries, as did running mate Maurion Horn. The duo combined for 288 yards, with Horn rushing for a team-leading 180 and two touchdowns.
For the second straight oddity, Raines completed seven of eight passes. With TD passes of 52 and 30 yards to Keller, Raines threw for 134 yards and three TDs at BA Memorial Stadium. On Thursday, he passed for 93 yards and one TD – the game winner – on the road.
Along with the running of Banks and Horn, and the night’s final throw of Raines, there were a couple of key moments that led to the second suspenseful Tiger-Miller matchup in as many years:
First – Open field tackle by Back Judge: Maurion Horn broke loose in the middle of the field. He not only twisted the Yukon safety around with a couple of quick steps in opposite directions, but he also sent the back judge retreating down field in harried fashion. Horn cut to his right as the back judge spun in same direction and angled toward the Tiger the sideline. Horn attempted to get around the official, who was between the BA runner and Yukon defender. The back judge lost sight of Horn and pushed more to his right. Horn tripped on the official’s feet and stumbled to the turf. In what would have been a certain touchdown and a tied game at seven, resulted in a 41-yard run to Yukon’s 37. The Tigers forced their way down the field to the five, but couldn’t push the ball into the end zone. A field goal attempt hooked wide left. Instead of a game tied at 14, or at least a four-point Tiger deficit, BA remained down by seven. Horn did score four minutes later, tying the game. He Horn not got tangled with the official then the complexion of the game would have changed.
“They’re part of the field of play, but you want him to stop moving,” Tiger head coach David Alexander said. “It wasn’t on purpose, obviously, but he didn’t do a good job right there. And, I think he would say he didn’t do a good job. It would have been a touchdown.”
Second – 3rd and 15 Raines completion to RJ Spears-Jennings: “They dropped nine into coverage,” Alexander explained. “RJ did a great job stemming inside and getting the safety to turn his hips. They have double coverage on everybody, but he got the safety to look the wrong way and it’s one-on-one, When RJ is one-on-one, he’s going to win that every time.”
Broken Arrow’s first drive of the fourth quarter started from its own 20 after Yukon missed a 27-yard field goal attempt. An illegal block nullified a Horn run that would have been a first down. The next play, the 17-yard completion to Spears-Jennings moved the Tigers from their own 15 to the 32-yard line. Two false starts resulted in a first and 20. The Tiger ground game took over. Horn ran for eight. Sanchez broke free for 14 and followed that up with a powerful, bullying five-yard gain. Then, Horn gashed the Miller defense for a 51-yard score. After Mason Garrett’s extra point, the Tigers were up 21-14 with 6:09 left on the game clock.
Then came the Millers five minute, one second touchdown and two-point conversion drive that covered 80 yards. That was followed by a Yukon kickoff that went out of bounds. Instead of electing to take the ball at the 35, Alexander asked for a five-yard penalty, forcing the Millers to kick again.
“We had a decided advantage in special teams,” the Tiger coach said.
It showed. A line drive kick was caught at the 30 and returned to the midfield strip. With 1:08 to play, the stage was set for a second straight remarkable and memorable BA win over Yukon.
A year ago, Seth Dodd was focusing on his offensive responsibilities as backup quarterback. Knowing, at any time, he could be called upon had starter Jake Raines been injured.
Now comes 2020 with its myriad of tales from the unexpected. Dodd traded in the backup QB role for more playing time as Broken Arrow’s hybrid tight end/fullback. The roulette wheel that carries the fortunes of this season kept spinning. Like the ball tumbling from a red to black slotted numbers and back again, Dodd found himself bouncing from offense to defense.
“It was definitely a surprise to me,” said Dodd, who, in the space of two games over three weeks since the change was announced, has planted himself solidly into the middle linebacker spot.
“Honestly, surprisingly, I’ve done pretty well,” Dodd continued as he discussed watching himself on film. “There’s some stuff I need to work on, because I’ve only played two games. Getting the calls is probably the most import thing of my job and it’s been pretty good so far.”
According to his coaches, it’s been more than “pretty good.” Tiger defensive coordinator Clarence Holley said that Dodd did not miss a call in Friday’s, 46-3, win over Edmond Memorial.
“No one could have expected that,” head coach David Alexander said of Dodd’s perfect report card. “What impressed me the most, is that Coach Holley just put so much on his plate. There was no surprise that he’d be able to learn and line up and get the defense lined up. We were hopeful that he would go over there and play well, but he’s played fantastic.”
Perhaps it’s that Dodd has been a play caller on the other side of the ball that has led to his success when moved to the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.
“As a quarterback you’re the leader of the offense,” he said. “It’s kind of the same thing as the middle linebacker. You’re getting the calls and communicating with your teammates.
“Having that quarterback mind, if it’s third and long, I can kind of know what they’re going to do. It makes it easier to read some of the keys and stuff.”
Dodd’s first experience at middle linebacker was against the Jenks Trojans. Since the preceding game with Westmoore was cancelled, Dodd gained an extra week of preparation. He explained that focusing solely on one team’s scheme helped ease the learning process. Since that time, his knowledge of the position has grown, but he loved the switch since day one.
Some of that comes with the read and react aggression of defense as opposed to the assignment-based structure of an offense.
“Whenever you’re a tight end, you pretty much have an assignment that you have to get to,” Dodd said. “That assignment will move. On defense, it’s like they’re trying to hit you and you just get to move and get them off of you. It’s way easier seeing everything, running downhill and hitting stuff.
“I have a blast every game going out there and competing. It’s so fun. I love it. The first couple of weeks of practice at linebacker, I was like ‘wow, this stuff is fun.’ I should have come over here on this side of the ball a while ago.”
For Dodd, who also is the team’s punter and holder for field goal and extra point attempts, nothing is more fun then lining up in the free-lance “Prowler” formation with his fellow linebackers and the defensive linemen. A look, with the front seven players all standing, that was unveiled publicly against Owasso, when Dodd was still a member of the offensive unit. The defense installed it during spring practice, when Dodd was working out with the quarterbacks.
“I love that stuff,” he said. “To me, I know as a quarterback, whenever you’re up there trying to check plays, that would have confused me terribly seeing a bunch of big d-linemen running around like linebackers. Basically, it’s like facing seven linebackers. That’s confusing. Our d-linemen, they are pretty fast, so whenever they get that running start off the ball it makes a big difference.”
In a year of sudden change, Dodd has made a big difference for Tiger football in a way he never saw coming. He and his coach are pleased with this unforeseen adjustment.
“I’m so proud of Seth Dodd, I can’t even put into words,” Alexander said.
Frontier Valley Conference volleyball awards have been issued and five Broken Arrow Tigers were named All-Conference.
Senior Olivia Boss and junior McKenzie McGuire earned First Team All-Conference, while seniors Halle Bullen and Callie Mullins and sophomore Hailee Alexander garnered Second Team All-Conference. Freshman Avery Jones, junior KeAnna Murray and sophomore Giselle Hua received Honorable Mention recognition.
Broken Arrow finished second in the conference with an 8-1 record. The Tigers only loss was to conference champion and Class 6A No. 4-ranked Jenks. The Tigers are in regional action today at 4:30 p.m. against Putnam City North at Edmond Santa Fe High School. The winner of that match will play the Santa Fe-Northwest Classen winner at 6 p.m. for the right to advance to next week’s OSSAA Class 6A State Volleyball Tournament.
Broken Arrow’s freshmen team were the Frontier Valley ninth grade champions, finishing the conference season with a 9-0 record. The Tigers eighth grade teams were co-champions of the American and National divisions along with Jenks. Both Broken Arrow eighth grade teams ended the conference season with 10-1 records.