District showdown for the state to take in
It was anticipated as a showdown before the high school season even started and week eight will not disappoint when blue, white and camouflage shirts show up to Jelsma Stadium for the state’s game of the week.
Guthrie and Deer Creek will enter with perfect 7-0 records and 4-0 district records. The top-ranked BlueJays have won 21 straight games dating back to last year’s 14-0 championship run. Meanwhile, the third ranked Antlers have won 14 of their last 18 games played.
Deer Creek, now larger than Guthrie in attendance by 157 students, has sold advanced tickets throughout the week and fans are encouraged to arrive early to the stadium.
The Antlers have set this season up for themselves as a state championship team with 28 seniors listed on their roster, including several three-year starters. A season ago, Deer Creek finished 7-4 with a first round playoff win.
The special Thursday night fall break game will go a long ways in perhaps crowning a district title. Both teams have yet to play 7-0 and fourth ranked Bishop McGuinness in the top-heavy district. The loser of Thursday’s game has one foot out the door to a first round road playoff game.
The Jays and Antlers have familiar schedules when you look at them overall as neither team has been tested, according to final scores, with the exception of the Carl Albert Titans. Deer Creek’s opponents are a combined 12-37 while the BlueJays opponents are 11-38.
Deer Creek, who won the Class 3A championship in 2000, enters with the top passing quarterback in 5A with senior Joel Blumenthal. In limited action due to lopsided scores, the six-foot-two, right-handed thrower is completing 72% of his passes with 19 passes going for touchdowns.
Blumenthal leads the class in completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. Not only is Blumenthal accurate through the air, but is quick on the ground as well.
Blumenthal’s main target will be five-foot-11 senior Jared Rayburn, who has hauled in 29 catches for 533 yards and seven touchdown scores. A year ago, Rayburn brought in a 48-yard touchdown reception in Guthrie’s 35-7 win in Edmond. Guthrie coaches call Rayburn among the best in the state.
Related story: Guthrie begins district play with win over Deer Creek
Kale Jackson, a junior, is a track star and is another threat for Blumenthal. Jackson has nine catches for 152 yards and two scores.
The Guthrie defense ranks the best against the pass, along with allowing the fewest amount of total yards, but have yet to see a spread offense like Deer Creek, that won a summer league passing camp at Kansas State. The Jays secondary is experienced, despite the loss of their leader Kai Callins (injury) with three returning starters.
The Antlers ground game is charged by six-foot Brennan Miyake, who has collected nearly 600 yards on the ground to go with 13 rushing scores, but also is a threat to catch the ball with 13 grabs and a score.
The BlueJay offense ranked fourth in the class will go up against the third ranked defense in the class.
Senior quarterback Bryan Dutton and the BlueJays running game will be challenged by the strength of the Deer Creek team in senior linebackers Austin Loomis and Kooper Ruminer and junior Alec James in the 3-5-3 defensive scheme.
Loomis leads the class with 125 tackles, James has added 82 and Ruminer with 80 stops.
If the game should come down to special teams both teams will have key weapons. Deer Creek’s Dillon Noble is 5-of-7 in field goals while Guthrie’s Luis Morales is 2-of-3.
Guthrie has won the last four meetings and leads the overall series at 5-2.
The BlueJays are 3-1 inside Jelsma against Deer Creek, including a 35-0 first round playoff win in 2008.
2011 Guthrie 35-7
2010 Guthrie 41-7
2008 Guthrie 35-0
2007 Guthrie 58-0
2006 Deer Creek 19=7
2005 Guthrie 24-0
2004 Deer Creek 20-14