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Powerhouse programs Stillwater, Choctaw meet to decide 6AII state championship

Pioneers, Yellowjackets have combined to go 24-1 this season

By Michael Kinney 

Stillwater photo by Christian Potts 

Ever since the 2022 season started, it’s seemed like Stillwater and Choctaw were on a collision course.

Even though the likes of Edmond Deer Creek and Muskogee were worthy contenders, the Pioneers (13-0) and Yellowjackets (11-1) were just in their own company when it came to Class 6AII.

Now, the two powerhouses are set to face off for all the marbles Friday in the 6AII state championship game at Chad Richison Stadium on the University of Central Oklahoma campus in Edmond. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on Friday.

The two teams enter the contest with a combined record of 24-1. The only blemish came when Choctaw dropped its season opener to highly ranked Del City (5A). But since then, the Yellowjackets have run the table.

Stillwater, on the other hand, has not tasted defeat this season. In fact, there were only two times this season that they won by less than 14 points. That includes its 33-28 victory against Deer Creek in the semifinals.

The Pioneers are the highest-scoring team in 6AII at 48 points a contest. Only Bixby (6AI), which has scored 798 points, can claim a higher average in all of 6A.

Stillwater sports a balanced attack offensively.

Quarterback Gage Gundy has thrown for 1,920 yards and 22 touchdowns on 139-of-198 passing attempts. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior has also thrown only one interception on the year.

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Gundy’s primary target is junior Heston Thompson, who has hauled in half (11) of Gundy’s touchdown passes. Thompson has 58 catches and 757 yards as well.

But Noah Roberts is the main cog in the Pioneers' offense. Running behind the Stillwater offensive line, the senior has totaled 1,300 yards and 25 TDs this season. Against Deer Creek, he posted 167 yards on 21 carries in the semifinal victory.

The Yellowjackets will rely on Easton Costa to help slow down the Pioneers' run game. The junior linebacker leads the team with 76 tackles.

Senior RJ Jackson (11 sacks) and junior Will Smith (6) have combined for 17 sacks and 31 hurries. If Stillwater is unable to keep them out of the backfield, it could be a long night for Gundy.

Choctaw’s offense may not have the same numbers as Stillwater, but it’s not too far behind. In fact, in some areas, they may be even better.

Choctaw’s Steele Wasel (a University of Akron commit) has thrown for 3,040 yards, 36 touchdowns and four interceptions on 169-of-236 passing. In their semifinal win against Muskogee, he tossed in 366 yards and a touchdown to his resume.

Sophomore Deshawn Smith has 11 touchdown catches for Choctaw. Senior Conner Stover and sophomore Nathan Keiffer have nine and eight touchdowns, respectively.

As a team, the Yellowjackets are averaging 45 points per contest while giving up 16.

Stillwater defensive end Zac Tyson is averaging almost 10 tackles a game to go along with his three total sacks. Cameron Johnson and Kenneth Tuck each have three interceptions coming into the game.

Of all the big school championship games, on paper, the 6AII contest appears to be the most competitive with a chance of it coming down to the team who has the ball last. 

It will also be a brand-new champion in the classification after Bixby - which had won the previous four 6AII championships - was moved up to 6AI over the offseason.