With the cancellation of all high school spring sports in Oklahoma, there isn’t much for sports fans to do but to look ahead at what is possibly down the road.
According to the calendar one of the next high school sports that is possible at Po-Hi will be football and with things the way they are Head Coach Scott Harmon was happy to take a look in that direction.
The Wildcats have been assigned to Class 6AII District 2 and will see some new schools in their district. Gone are Shawnee and Sapulpa, both of whom have dropped down to Class 5A. New will be Putnam City West and Choctaw, who were in District 6AII-1 last year.
The non-district slate has two new teams as well. After the traditional season-opener with Enid, the Wildcats will play Tulsa McLain and Ardmore. Guthrie and Collinsville, teams that were on the Wildcat schedule last season opted out of competing against Ponca City this season.
“We have the traditional game with Enid at the beginning. We were shocked when Guthrie pulled out. And Collinsville wanted to go somewhere else. So we picked up McLain for week two. It is a little smaller school, but it was a good pickup. They are like us, young in a lot of areas, but they have talent and speed and will be a good test for us.
“I did some research and found that Ardmore, like us, had to struggle in the past to pick up a Week 3 opponent. It is a long ways down there, but one of the other choices was Guymon. Although both are far away in different directions, Ardmore is the closer of the two,” he said. “Ardmore is a traditionally strong team, and in the past has operated out of the Flex-Bone system. They will be changing that this year to do more of what we do.”
The opener with Enid is in Po-Hi’s Sullins Stadium, while the games against McLain and Ardmore will be on the road.
District play is scheduled to get under way with a home game against Sand Springs. Following that will be a game at Choctaw, a home game against Putnam West, a game at Bartlesville, a home game against Booker T. Washington, a game at Bixby and close out with a home game against Muskogee.
“Sand Springs has a new, young head coach,” Harmon said. “They are making a few changes and have a good bunch of younger kids,” Harmon said.
“Putnam West was down a little last year, and this will be the kind of game that if we play well, we have a chance to win. I look for Choctaw to be the sleeper of the district. They were in the western district last year and slipped into the playoffs. This year they moved east but I think that they are a team we have to beat for us to slip into the playoffs,” he said.
“Bartlesville has a good young quarterback back and will be improved, and then we end up with the Big 3 at the end of the year.”
The Big 3 are Booker T. Washington, Bixby and Muskogee, teams that have been at the top of the district in past years.
“If we don’t get beat up and have a lot of players out, we might be in the position to play well against these teams,” he said.
Bixby has won five out of the last six Class 6AII state championships and Harmon said they will be very talented again.
“Booker T. has two or three Division I (college) players on its team and while Muskogee lost a good bunch of seniors, it will have a couple of kids who will end up playing at the D-1 level as well,” Harmon said.
While no one knows what the summer will look like in terms of high school football programs, coaches do know what the rules are regarding the Spring.
“The OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association) has sent out their rules. There will be no spring practice. As coaches we are not allowed to conduct workouts and they are not allowed to be on school premises at any time. We are able to send out requests of things they might do at home,” he said.
“What we are doing now is planning ahead and tweaking some of the things we have done in the past.”
PONCA CITY WILDCATS
Sept. 4 — Enid at Ponca City
Sept. 11 — at Tulsa McLain
Sept. 18 — at Ardmore
Sept. 25 — Sand Springs at PC
Oct. 2 — at Choctaw
Oct. 9 — PC West at Ponca City (Homecoming)
Oct. 15 — at Bartlesville
Oct. 23 — BT Washington at PC
Oct. 30 — at Bixby
Nov. 6 — Muskogee at PC