Every week through football season, SoonerNation writer Bob Przybylo will reveal five things he learned while out on the road watching the best in the Midlands area play football.
1. Class of 2014 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) is making his case as the best in-state prospect for 2014. Entering the season, Parker was moving from cornerback to safety and he wasn’t sure how he would do. Let’s just say he’s doing OK. Parker has become the quarterback of the Jenks defense and was dominant in a 41-10 dismantling of rival Tulsa Union in the Class 6A state semifinals. Parker had an interception and eight tackles despite not playing most of the second half as Jenks ran out to a 35-3 halftime lead. Already with offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Alabama, Parker is going to be a hot commodity once his junior film gets wide release.
2. It’s not just the 2014 kids having fun at Jenks, though, as OU wide receiver commit Jordan Smallwood showed why the Sooners hold him in such high regard. Smallwood didn’t have and didn’t need many chances to show what he can do. However, he came up big the only time his number was called. On third-and-12, Smallwood won a jump ball on a 36-yard reception that brought Jenks down to the 1-yard line. A play later and it was 21-3 Jenks and the rout was on. Smallwood also showed his defensive back skills with a nice pass deflection on an errant throw later in the game.
3. Not the way OU commit and Tulsa Union senior Dalton Rodriguez intended to end his high school career, but Jenks was simply the better team in every facet of the game. Rodriguez finished with three tackles and now the question remains as to what position he will play in college: offensive tackle or defensive end. Rodriguez said he will address any concerns he might have with OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle following the season.
4. The future is bright for Tulsa Union, though. Two names to keep on your radar are 2014 wide receiver Jeffery Mead and 2015 running back Terrell Buchanan. Mead, who is 6-foot-7 and 168 pounds, had a 16-yard touchdown reception in the Jenks loss. Buchanan, coming off a 250-yard and three-touchdown performance last week, simply couldn’t find the holes against Jenks. Buchanan camped at OU during the summer. After a slow start, Buchanan emerged throughout his sophomore season and should be among the top in-state prospects for 2015.
5. Smallwood and Parker will be going for their first state championship when they take on Norman (Okla.) North in the title game Friday night at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium. Norman North is anchored by OU linebacker target Jordan Evans. Evans has returned a kick for a touchdown in all three playoff victories, including a 70-yarder in a thrilling, 49-42 victory against Owasso last weekend. OU commits Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) and Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) will also play for state championships this weekend.