NORMAN — Parity. It’s a word thrown around often, and something that all too often simply does not exist in the amateur ranks. Success begets success, and truly climbing out of the hole is something that rarely happens for sustained periods of time.
We see the lack of program equality perhaps most prominently in the college ranks, where the big names pull in the top recruits year after year; where a 10-3 record is considered a down season for the Sooners because they didn’t win the conference; where the Savannah States of the world are always the Savannah States of the world.
And it’s almost taken for granted that equality simply does not exist in high school football. After all, how can it, when it’s been 16 years since anyone but Jenks or Tulsa Union has won the 6A state title?
Well, don’t look now, but if the first five weeks of the football season (and the results of the last few seasons) have taught us anything, it’s that parity is slowly coming to Class 6A.
Let’s start with the two competing elephants in the room, Jenks and Union. Union has carried the torch for much of the last decade, but it’s been a long time since all anyone could talk about was which of these two teams was the favorite to win it all. Regular-season losses and a string of narrow playoff victories have all but quashed the notion that Class 6A is a two-team league.
Union’s loss to Owasso a few weeks ago for the second time in a year isn’t a fluke. The “other” two East schools, Owasso and Broken Arrow, are nipping on the heels of the two powerhouses, and if not for a few fortunate breaks last season we could be talking about Broken Arrow as the defending champs. And after a hectic first month of the season in which each of those four squads played at least two of the others, it’s still virtually a toss-up as to who came out on top, though I’m giving the nod to Union by virtue of a 2-1 record against the other three.
And that’s just on the East side of the state. The West still has a long way to go to catch the East in terms of overall quality, but the gap is narrowing.
Edmond North, one-point losers to Union in the second round of the playoffs last year, have looked unbeatable at times this season and are ranked as highly as No. 1 by some state polls.
Another West favorite, Lawton, hasn’t done anything yet this season but beat their opponents by a combined score of 205-38. The Wolverines haven’t played the toughest schedule, but it’s hard to argue they could do any more than they’ve done to this point, which is why they ranged from No. 1 to No. 7 this week in the polls.
Add into that mix some dangerous teams from the Moore and Norman city limits, some huge games left on the schedule and playoff chances on the line, and we’re set up for a wild stretch run.
We still have a long way to go before we can claim that parity has fully come to Class 6A, but we’re closer than we have been in years. And that makes nearly every game from here forward, starting with a Southmoore-Lawton showdown on Thursday, a must-see.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com