Here are five things to watch this weekend around the Midlands region:
Tulsa Union LB going for career record
Linebacker Blace Walser (Tulsa, Okla./Union) doesn’t get the recognition that some of his junior counterparts, but the senior co-captain will be Union’s player to watch when the Redskins take the field Friday against Ponca City (Okla.).
Walser is 10 tackles away from setting the school’s all-time record for career tackles. At 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, Walser doesn’t have any BCS offers as of yet, but Union coach Kirk Fridrich values Walser’s worth for a team looking to win its fourth consecutive Oklahoma state championship.
“He’s played for us for four years, and he’s been the heart and soul of our team,” Fridrich said. “He’s one of those guys who just makes plays.”
The record of 342 is owned by Antonio Graham, who now is Union’s linebackers coach.
“We keep saying we don’t know if [Graham] is going to count all his tackles,” Fridrich joked. “He may be the only linebacker to finish with one tackle a game.”
Heights continuing Kansas dominance
Wichita (Kan.) Heights quietly has put together another spectacular season.
The defending Kansas Class 6A champion has been methodical in six victories this season. Of the six wins, three have been shutout, including beating Wichita South, 52-0, last week.
Heights’ trio of quarterback Matt Reed and running backs Kenneth Iheme and Marquel Moore has been impressive all season. Speedy cornerback Jimmy Washington is one of several playmakers on a Heights team with aspirations of repeating as state champion.
Talk is cheap for Dallas Skyline WR
At the beginning of the year, ESPNU Watch List receiver Ra’Shaad Samples (Dallas/Skyline) had a message to all who would be following Skyline football.
“We want to show people we’re the best in the country,” Samples said.
Last week, Samples did his part in making that statement valid, catching nine passes for 181 yards, including a 92-yard catch-and-run touchdown from DeVante Kincade in Skyline’s 54-7 rout last week. Samples is one of the many weapons in Skyline’s offensive arsenal, leading the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (561) through six games.
Owasso going for another big win
As big as last week’s win for Owasso (Okla.) was, this week’s game might be even more important.
Owasso beat Tulsa (Okla.) Union for the first time since 1993 and ended Union’s 94-game district win streak. It was a big win for the Rams, but fifth-year coach Bill Patterson said Friday’s game against Stillwater (Okla.) will have even more relevance.
“We have a chance Friday night to compete for a district championship,” Patterson said. “We put the Union game to rest Sunday afternoon, and it’s not been discussed since then. We’ve got Stillwater coming in, and they’re a very good football team. This is the biggest game we’ve had here since I’ve been here, because of the things that ride on the outcome.”
Owasso is led by four-star receiver Keon Hatcher and rising quarterback Kason Key. Hatcher has committed to Arkansas. Stillwater features a trio of athletes in quarterback Jerame Littell, running back Davion Carter and receiver Jesse Vester.
Big battle between Colorado unbeatens
By Friday night, either Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) or Castle View (Castle Rock, Colo.) will not only stay undefeated but be in the driver’s seat for the Colorado 4A South Metro divisional title.
Valor Christian has been untouchable since a 20-16 win over Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) at the beginning of September. The Eagles, who are on a 16-game win streak after winning state last year, are averaging 43.3 points per game. Valor is dangerous because of the multiple skill-position players who can win games. Four-star offensive lineman Alex Kozan will have lots of scouts paying attention in this game.
Castle View features a three-headed rushing monster in seniors Bryce Lich, Tyler Woodman and Austin Smith whom have combined for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Smith also is the team’s quarterback, accounting for 11 passing touchdowns and only two picks. No team has come within 15 points of the Sabrecats all season.