• Darkhorses: Tahlequah, Pryor, Skiatook.
Lain Wright makes Tahlequah viable, and A.J. Surritte is the face of the franchise in Skiatook. But both teams are questionable beyond them.
For Tahlequah, Jake Vader has been a pleasant surprise, but the key to success will be David Dick, Will Carlile, Dalton Cunningham and Kourtland McMillan finding their ways offensively.
Zac Baumert leads a group of four capable scorers for Pryor, which has shown flashes of brillance. Playing tight with Fort Gibson and Verdigris were promising signs in the Inola tournament, but then a loss to Inola deflated that balloon.
Pryor has since beaten Collinsville and Skiatook, but....
• Long shots: Collinsville and Claremore.
...Pryor beating Collinsville doesn’t allow for any bragging rights.
Collinsville gave all-out hustle against Tahlequah last week and never quit, but the Cardinals lack any talent to put up a fight in the league. I’ll commend Collinsville for hanging tough and forcing Tahlequah into a close game, but it could be a long year for the Cardinals.
Same goes for Claremore, which not that long ago was a major player in 5A. However, Dakota Caudill now plays at Northeastern State and Alex Miller is no longer in red and white, leaving the Zebras looking for answers on both ends of the floor.