They may have had different results over the weekend, but both the Grove football and softball teams put on attention-grabbing performances.
The Ridgerunners traveled to Wagoner Friday night and took on a team favored by many to win the 4A state championship. The Bulldogs boast one of the state’s top quarterbacks in Prince McJunkins as well as one of the top defenses.
The Ridgerunners not only contained McJunkins for most of the game, they found ways to score 29 points against a Bulldog squad that had allowed a total of 28 in its first two games. Using their strong running game mixed with timely passes, Grove moved the ball almost at will for much of the second half.
If not for some fourth quarter magic from McJunkins, the Ridgerunners would be sporting a 3-0 record heading into Friday’s district opener at Pryor. And make no mistake, McJunkins won the game more than the Ridgerunners lost it.
On Saturday the Lady Red captured their first tournament title of the season with a 7-2 win over Mannford in the finals of the Oologah Tournament. The Lady Red got to Saturday’s championship game with a come-from-behind win over Oologah on Friday, thanks to a seventh inning, two-run home run by Taylor Dodson.
Playing one of the toughest schedules on this side of the state, the Lady Red have won nine in a row and 17 of their last 19 since losing three straight on the second day of the Broken Arrow Tournament.
Now 21-6 overall, a squad that boasts just four seniors is ranked sixth in the 5A rankings and look to be in line to host a regional tournament come playoff time.
But as well as both teams have played so far, questions remain for both squads. The Ridgerunners have played three 4A teams so far in 2010. In the next three weeks Grove will face Pryor, Tulsa Central and Coweta to open district play in their first season in 5A since 2005. If GHS can win those three, the playoffs will be in reach.
For the Lady Red the playoffs are almost here with regionals scheduled to begin on October 6. So far a young squad has handled the pressure, going 10-2 against teams ranked in the top-10. But playoff pressure can be a different animal, and playing at home can be both a curse and a blessing.
It remains to be seen how these teams will finish, but so far it’s been a fun ride.