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Class A Championship Preview

#1 Ringling (12-1)
A-4 Champions
Coach: Tracy Gandy
State Titles: 4 (2012)

Regular Season
L - Davis, 34-28
W - At Marietta, 34-0
W - At Velma-Alma, 21-0
W - Healdton, 60-0
W - At Wilson, 57-0
W - Rush Springs, 41-7
W - Empire, 56-7
W - At Bray-Doyle, by forfeit
W - Walters, 48-6

Playoffs
W - Watonga, 61-6
W - Thomas, 21-14
W - Morrison, 48-8
W - Talihina, 26-18

Scoring Averages
Offense - 43.0
Defense - 8.3

Defense Must Stop
RB Gunnar Ewing (Hollis)
A bunch of weapons offensively is what helps makes Hollis a legitimate threat for its first state title. Ewing is just one of the crew but was the squad's offensive leader against Apache in the semifinals scoring a couple of touchdowns on the ground.

Key Ingredients
Toughness and tenacity. Ever since last year's run to the title the Blue Devils have had the "team to beat" bullseye on their backs but have still risen to every challenge. Since an opening loss to Class 2A juggernaut Davis the Ringling defense has been extremely stingy, allowing more than one touchdown only twice. Both those games however they gritted out postseason wins over Top 10 ranked opponents in Thomas and Talihina.

Why this is their year
The Blue Devils only blemishes the past two seasons have been against 2A state finalist Davis. They have pretty much rolled over the remaining competition they have faced during that span with only three contests decided by less than double digits. Two of those have been in this year's playoffs but each time the Blue Devil defense has risen to the occasion with key stops and turnovers.

State Finals History
10th state finals appearance, including second in a row. Beat Wynnewood (39-12) for last year's Class A title. Have won four of their nine trips to the championship. Beat Tonkawa (27-20) in 2003 title tilt, Velma-Alma (20-12) for the 1992 championship and Empire (31-3) for the 1989 crown.

#3 Hollis (13-0)
A-2 Champions
Coach: Reade Box
State Titles: 0 (None)

Regular Season
W - Mangum, 56-0
W - Hooker, 52-0
W - At Beaver, 45-0
W - Cordell, 76-13
W - At Snyder, 60-0
W - Thomas, 40-15
W - At Sayre, 53-20
W - Apache, 34-14
W - At Burns Flat, 52-6

Playoffs
W - Oklahoma Bible, 49-8
W - Empire, 29-6
W - At Kiefer, 41-7
W - Apache, 25-0

Scoring Averages
Offense - 47.1
Defense - 6.9

Defense Must Stop
RB Slade Stewart (Ringling)
Hard-nosed runner out of the backfield for the Blue Devils that has a nice combination of quickness and size at 6-0, 195. That combination makes Stewart extremely difficult to bring down, especially in the open field.

Key Ingredients
Say what you want about the versatility and explosiveness of the Hollis offense but it's the Tiger defense that has shined when it has mattered the most. They haven't allowed more than a touchdown in five consecutive games, the last four of which have been impressively in the playoffs. That unit likely has a chip on its shoulder still after yielding 60 points in its season finale to Ringling a season ago.

Why this is their year
Coach Reade Box has turned the fortunes of the Tigers completely around in the last two seasons. They had not won more than six games any season in the past decade but posted nine victories last year and 13 more this year. They have flown under the radar all season, taking down every foe in the process. Could the Tigers be a team of destiny?

State Finals History
2nd state finals appearance. Only other trip to the title game was in 1983 when the Tigers lost to Hominy (16-12). Have faced Ringling five times in the playoffs, including last year when they lost 60-21. Hollis won 27-21 in 1977 and 30-21 in 1983.

article updated on 12/18/13 08:51

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