Coaches and players not over looking Carl Albert’s slow start
The Guthrie and Carl Albert football game for the first time in some time is not in The Oklahoman’s Top 10 game of the week and some are – well do I dare say – are overlooking the Carl Albert Titans?
It’s a guarantee the Guthrie coaches and players and those close to the program are not looking past their biggest rival on the gridiron when the two high power programs meet up on Friday night inside Jelsma Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Head coach Rafe Watkins simply can not understand how anyone can take this rivalry game for granted.
“This is a rivalry game. It’s just crazy (for people to think that),” Watkins said in a disbelieve voice. “Their schedule is full of ranked teams.”
The two 5A power houses have won 10 of the last 15 state titles in Oklahoma’s second largest class.
The BlueJays enter the game with a perfect 5-0 record and 2-0 district record, along with being the defending state champions, winners of their last 19 games, winners of 19 straight home wins, winners of their last 18 district games and back-to-back district championships.
Meanwhile, Carl Albert is off to a rare 1-4 start, including 0-2 in the district. However, the Titans will be heavy favorites to win their final four games following the Guthrie game to secure a playoff spot.
The Titans have played the normal Gary Rose brutal of a schedule: No. 9 Southmoore, No. 5 Coweta, No. 3 Deer Creek and No. 4 Bishop McGuinness. All four have been losses with the lone win over Duncan.
The Titans will have played Deer Creek, McGuinness and Guthrie in consecutive weeks to begin district play. All three teams are in everybody’s Top 5 rankings. Along with the Titans, the three teams are expected to make the playoffs. What order? We have no idea and will likely will not know until four or five weeks.
Carl Albert has won eight state championships since 1993 that includes five straight (1997-2001). Their last title came in 2009. However, the 2012 appears not be quite as talented as those Titan championship teams, but when Guthrie and Carl Albert meet you can throw out the records.
It’s a cliché, but past history tells us the highest ranked team does not always win this game normally played in October. The BlueJays stunned the Titans in the first three years of the Watkins era (2001-2003). One of the best all-time teams in the state of Oklahoma (2007 Guthrie) needed all four quarters to secure a 24-21 win.
Carl Albert stopped a Guthrie school record 20-game winning streak in 2008 with a 16-13 win.
In the 11 meetings between Watkins and Rose – only four have been decided by 18 points or more. Seven of the games have been decided a touchdown or less.
Can the Carl Albert Titans contend for the state title? You never know what Gary Rose football teams can do come playoff time as they get only better as the season prolongs. Trust me, no team wants to see the Titans in their playoff game.
Can the BlueJays come onto the field Friday night and flex their “G” and pull out a victory? No – far from it. Guthrie is now hitting their portion of the schedule where they will be tested to the fullest in three of their final five games and will need to improve if they want their third straight district title.