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Class 4A football district previews: Coaches' polls, storylines, players and games to watch

Weatherford´s Ethan Downs scores as Tuttle's Joseph Yarbrough defends during the Class 4A state semifinals in Noble on Nov. 29, 2019. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]
Weatherford´s Ethan Downs scores as Tuttle's Joseph Yarbrough defends during the Class 4A state semifinals in Noble on Nov. 29, 2019. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]

Top storylines

Weatherford aims for fourth title. After a 9-7 loss to Poteau in last year’s state title game, Weatherford is on a mission to claim its fourth championship in school history and first since 1999. Quarterback Jaxon Ratterree graduated, but the Eagles still have one of the state’s top players in OU commit Ethan Downs. They also have Sam Hoffman, who ran for 1,364 yards as a sophomore last season.

How will John Marshall fare in Class 4A? The Bears are moving up from Class 3A but have talented players who are capable of flourishing this year. With new head coach Jeff Horrocks at the helm, John Marshall will look to build from a 7-4 season and make a deep playoff run.

Players to watch

Ethan Downs, DE, Weatherford: The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior will likely line up at defensive end at OU but plays several positions for Weatherford, including running back. Last season, he ran for 440 yards and seven touchdowns, caught 24 passes for 474 yards and seven scores and recorded 81 tackles and eight sacks.

Isaac Smith, DE, Wagoner: At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, Smith is a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. The Tulsa commit had a breakout junior season, his first at Wagoner after transferring from Coweta. He recorded 122 tackles and 13 sacks and helped Wagoner reach the state semifinals.

Bryce Stephens, WR, John Marshall: The Arkansas commit is one of the most electric players in the state and can drastically impact games as a wide receiver, defensive back and returner. A 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior, Stephens was productive last year, finishing with 570 receiving yards and seven scores, 234 rushing yards and three touchdowns and five interceptions.

Key games

John Marshall at Tuttle, Week 9: Tuttle is looking to remain one of the state’s best teams, and John Marshall will try to prove it can be an elite Class 4A program. This matchup will likely have playoff implications.

Sallisaw at Poteau, Week 6: This mid-season matchup will include the District 4A-4 preseason favorites.

Wagoner at Skiatook, Week 10: Wagoner seemingly always has a shot to win the title, while Skiatook has six starters returning on offense and nine on defense.

Coaches’ poll


1. Weatherford (11-3)

2. Cache (8-4)

3. Clinton (6-5)

4. Newcastle (4-6)

5. Bethany (11-1)

6. Elgin (4-5)

7. Chickasha (6-5)

8. Elk City (0-10)


1. Tuttle (11-2)

2. John Marshall (7-4)

3. Blanchard (4-6)

4. Ada (4-5)

5. Tecumseh (7-4)

6. Cushing (4-7)

7. Harrah (1-9)

8. Classen SAS (3-7)


1. Wagoner (10-3)

2. Skiatook (6-4)

3. Grove (5-6)

4. Oologah (5-5)

5. Bristow (9-2)

6. Cleveland (6-5)

7. Catoosa (3-7)

8. Miami (1-9)


1. Poteau (13-1)

2. Sallisaw (8-4)

3. Hilldale (4-6)

4. Broken Bow (7-5)

5. Fort Gibson (5-6)

6. Muldrow (2-8)

7. Tulsa McLain (3-7)

8. Stilwell (0-10)

*Last year's record in parenthesis

Nick Sardis, Staff writer

Nick Sardis

Nick Sardis joined The Oklahoman in 2017, and he covers high school sports. Born and raised in Norman, he played baseball at Norman North High School and is a student at the University of Oklahoma. Read more ›