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Class 3A football district previews: Coaches' polls, storylines, players and games to watch

Lincoln Christian's Kolbe Katsis makes a one-handed catch as Plainview's Blake Nowell defends during the 3A state championship game last season at Wantland Stadium in Edmond. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
Lincoln Christian's Kolbe Katsis makes a one-handed catch as Plainview's Blake Nowell defends during the 3A state championship game last season at Wantland Stadium in Edmond. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Top storyline

Can last season’s top two teams return to the state championship after graduating many key players? Coming off a dominant undefeated season and the Class 3A state championship, Tulsa Lincoln Christian returns seven starters on defense but will field a new offense with just three starters returning. With new faces on offense, the Bulldogs will look to settle in on the quarterback and offensive line positions. Plainview made a Class 3A state championship appearance last season but will return just three starters on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Indians return their skill positions such as quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Can Plainview build an offensive line and defense ready to fit its championship aspirations?

Players to watch

Collin Gibson, QB, McLoud: Gibson will join McLoud this year. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound dual-threat quarterback threw for over 1,000 yards and ran for nearly 1,500 for Little Axe last season. He is being recruited by many Division-II schools, including Emporia State.

Kolbe Katsis, WR, Tulsa Lincoln Christian: Katsis is one of the few returning starters for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver is coming off a stellar junior year where he recorded 63 catches for 1,107 yards and 11 touchdowns in Tulsa Lincoln Christian’s championship season. He has been offered by three Division-II schools.

Caden Pickens, LB, Plainview: The 5-foot-11, 200-pound linebacker is coming off an impressive sophomore season where he helped lead Plainview to the Class 3A 2019 state championship game. Pickens recorded 104 tackles and two sacks.

Evan Raines, DL, Verdigris: The 6-foot-3, 255-pound senior defensive lineman is a problem for opposing offensive lines and will look to show his dynamic skill set this season. He has received three offers from Division-II schools and is primed to acquire more.

Key games

Perkins-Tryon at Heritage Hall, Week 5: Perkins-Tryon will field a group of experienced seniors with senior quarterback Austin Mages leading the way. He will see if his improvements in the offseason will fare against the stingy Heritage Hall defense, which is loaded with returning starters, including Robert Mbroh and Melvin Swindle. This matchup will likely have playoff implications.

Tulsa Lincoln Christian at Stigler, Week 10: Stigler plans to avenge one of its three losses last season. The projected top two teams in District 3A-3 will look to enter the playoffs with a win in the last regular-season game. This game could clinch the district championship and decide the playoff seeding.

Coaches’ poll

3A-1

Heritage Hall (11-1)

Perkins-Tryon (10-2)

Kingfisher (7-5)

Anadarko (4-6)

Bridge Creek (3-7)

Mount St. Mary (1-9)

McLoud (0-10)

Douglass (0-10)

3A-2

Sulphur (8-3)

Plainview (11-2)

Lone Grove (6-4)

Kingston (12-1)

Madill (3-7)

Pauls Valley (2-8)

Dickson (3-7)

Little Axe (3-7)

3A-3

Lincoln Christian (14-0)

Stigler (9-3)

Seminole (5-5)

Checotah (9-3)

Sequoyah Tahlequah (6-5)

Locust Grove (2-8)

Westville (0-10)

Tulsa Daniel Webster (0-10)

3A-4

Holland Hall (9-3)

Verdigris (10-3)

Berryhill (9-2)

Tulsa Central (6-4)

Inola (6-5)

Vinita (4-6)

Jay (4-6)

Mannford (3-7)

*-Last year’s record in parenthesis

James Jackson

James D. Jackson joined The Oklahoman in January 2020 to cover high school sports. He a University of Central Oklahoma graduate. During his time at UCO, James served as a sports reporter and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Vista.... Read more ›

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