By Jim Perry
They last collided 33 years ago. On Friday they will square off with a district championship on the line.
Cushing, 3-0 in District 3A-6, hosts Beggs, 2-0, at 7 p.m. Friday at O’Dell Field. The winner, it appears, will have the inside track to the district championship.
Beggs won a league title in 2015. Cushing has not claimed one since 1996.
“It’s way to early to tell and certainly district championships aren’t won early,” Cushing coach Barrett Shupe said. “in the second game of the season, but it’s a solid feeling.”
Cushing leads 3A-6. Beggs is second.
The district champion gets a home game in the first round of the playoffs and, if victorious, also in the second round.
“It’s a great advantage,” Shupe said.
Winning Friday will not be easy.
Cushing is fresh off a 40-7 thumping of Checotah. Beggs on Friday routed Kellyville 50-21.
The teams are a combined 10-3. Cushing, at 6-1, has the best won-lost record in the district.
The seventh-ranked Tigers’ only loss this season was to Class 3A No. 3 Berryhill.
Cushing and Beggs last played in 1983. The Tigers won 49-14. The only other meeting between the two was in 1982, when Beggs won 27-0.
Beggs is 4-2 after winning its last two games in district play. The Demons lost 64-28 to Berryhill in Week 1 and 49-20 to Hilldale in Week 4. They have beaten Northern Oklahoma Association of Homeschools, Henryetta, Morris and Kellyville. Those four are a combined 5-29 to date.
“Their schedule was more back-loaded than ours is,” Shupe said. “We’ve already played Bristow and Okmulgee and Checotah. They have not.”
Beggs will feature a pound-and-ground style of offense. Quarterback Tylar Prestidge-Murry threw for four touchdowns in last week’s defeat of Kellyville but BHS did most of its work on the ground.
The Demons’ top runners are Kayson Toliver and Jared Sutter, who combined for three rushing touchdowns against the Ponies.
Lee Blankenship is in his fourth season at Beggs. His teams are a combined 35-14 and have reached the Class 3A playoffs each year.
“They’re going to try to take some things away that we like to do,” Shupe said. “We have to be who we are and get the game into the fourth quarter with a chance to win it.”
The game will be the last of three for Cushing during the regular season. The Tigers are off next week, play Morris on Oct. 28 and are at Kellyville on Nov. 4.