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3A Championship Preview

#1 Kingfisher (14-0)
3A-3 Champions
Coach: Jeff Myers
State Titles: 1 (last 2003)

Regular Season
W - At Guymon, 47-0
W - At Chandler 58-19
W - Hennessey, 31-0
W - At Heritage Hall, 35-0
W - Star Spencer, 44-0
W - At John Marshall, 54-16
W - OK Centennial, 69-18
W - Bethel, 72-0
W - At Newcastle, 45-7
W - At Marlow, 34-7

Playoffs
W - Purcell, 52-9
W - Jones, 48-0
W - At Beggs, 46-8
W - Seminole, 32-14

Scoring Averages
Offense - 47.6
Defense - 7.0

Defense Must Stop
RB Braden Stringer (Blanchard)
Just look at last week and you'll see what Stringer means to the offense. When Plainview found a way to slow him down in the second half, Blanchard had trouble scoring. Still, like always, Stringer found a way and scored the winning TD with under a minute left. Like his counterpart at Kingfisher (Landon Nault), Stringer is a battering ram who never slows down. He's rushed for over 3,000 yards and has scored 43 rushing touchdowns. If you can find a way to limit him, you have a shot to beat the Lions.

Key Ingredients
One thing Kingfisher has done better than any other team this season, and especially in the playoffs, is forcing turnovers.  In four playoff games, the Jackets have forced an amazing 20 turnovers (10 fumble recoveries, 10 INTs) and no fewer than four each time out. More often than not, Kingfisher has either scored directly off the turnover or turned it into a score on the resulting offensive series. If the Jackets can get the takeaways from sure-handed Blanchard, their chances of winning obviously greatly increase.

Why this is their year
It's a repetitive reason, but we're going to keep repeating it - the Jackets are due. This is the fifth time Kingfisher has made the championship game in 10 years under head coach Jeff Myers. So far, they're 0-4 in those title game appearances. Although Kingfisher has been the underdog all but once in the previous four appearances, they've still come painfully close to win, but painfully short nonetheless. If nothing else, the law of averages says Kingfisher is due to win it.

State Finals History
5th state finals appearance. The Yellowjackets' lone championship victory was in 2003 over Sulphur (21-18). Lost to Blanchard (28-21) in last year's title tilt. Also finished runner-up to Clinton (21-16) in 2007 and Lincoln Christian (35-0) in 2009.

#3 Blanchard (13-0)
3A-1 Champions
Coach: Jeff Craig
State Titles: 2 (last 2012)

Regular Season
W - Bethany, 46-14
W - At Lindsay, 48-6
W - Newcastle, 28-7
W - At Little Axe, 40-3
W - At Bridge Creek, 54-0
W - Marlow, 43-14
W - Jones, 21-7
W - At Mount St. Mary, 54-21
W - Tuttle, 35-28

Playoffs
W - Perkins-Tryon, 76-13
W - Newcastle, 41-0
W - At Lincoln Christian, 42-13
W - Plainview, 20-17

Scoring Averages
Offense - 42.2
Defense - 11.0

Defense Must Stop
RB Landon Nault (Kingfisher)
This is a game of running backs and Nault is Kingfisher's leader on the offensive side. The senior back has over 7,000 career rushing yards and has reached the end zone over 100 times. This year alone he has 2,266 yards and 45 TDs rushing. It's a run-dominant offense the Jackets employ and if the Lions can stuff Nault, Kingfisher is going to have to find another way to move the ball and score.

Key Ingredients
While Stringer gets most of the attention on the offense side, linebacker Jalan Daniels is just as deserving on the other side of the ball. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound specimen is a beast on the defensive side as he leads the stout Lions defense (which limited Plainview to just 17 points) with 133 tackles. Don't fall asleep on him on special teams, either. Daniels has returned four kicks for touchdowns this season.

Why this is their year
These Lions know how to win. Blanchard has won 18 straight games and 26 of its last 27. They've won big (most games), they've won close games (last week against Plainview) and they've won when it mattered most (last year's title game). Blanchard doesn't play the role of the underdog - it goes into every game fully expecting to win and then follows up on it.

State Finals History
3rd state finals appearance, including second in a row. Beat Kingfisher (28-21) for the 3A title a season ago. Also won their only other trip to the championship in 1979 defeatng Hartshorne (37-14) for the Class A crown.

article updated on 12/17/13 23:11

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