By Wesley Coburn -
Summer is still a ways off, but registration for the 2018 season of the Okmulgee Youth Baseball and Softball League is in full swing.
The signups began in late January, and there will be two more chances for parents to register their children on Sunday, February 11 and Sunday, February 18, both times from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The location for signups is Morgan Field at Bateman Park.
Parents can also sign up their kids by returning a signup form to their respective school secretary by Monday, February 19. Signup is free, but there is a $20 charge per family after the deadline.
T-ball is available for players 6 and under, 8 and under are in a coach-pitch division, and then there are 12 and under divisions for baseball and softball. Girls cannot turn 13 before January 1, 2018, and boys cannot turn 13 before April 30, 2018.
Teams and coaches will be assigned on March 5, and practice schedules should be given to teams by March 12. League play will begin April 16 and finish by July 1.
For more information, call David Dunlap at 918-770-3540 or Candi Padfield at 918-752-8628.
By Wesley Coburn -
Every summer, a select group of 70 high school juniors from all over the state get an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA)’s Youth Tour. The statewide delegation is sent by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC), and consists of students from almost all of the OAEC member co-ops’ service areas.
“Youth Tour is a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll never forget,” Jennifer Dempsey, former Youth Tour Director, said. “In addition to visiting and seeing so many sites that you’ve only seen in history books or TV/movies, you also get to meet and form friendships with amazing young people from all over not just our state but other states, too. I think it helps expand horizons and helps the participants learn that good things can come from putting yourself out of your comfort zone.”
“My favorite part of the experience was making lifetime friends and memories that I will always cherish,” said Jose Hernandez, YT ’11.
Students visit a variety of historical sites, including the Smithsonian museums, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mount Vernon and the Arlington National Cemetery.
I came back with a new sense of pride for my country,” said Kalon Moore, YT ’10. “It opened my eyes to some of the things our country has fought for. The Holocaust Museum was powerful. It made me realize how different the world could have been if not for our country's intervention. It's hard to explain. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the wall of names of fallen soldiers just makes it all real. It makes it hit home that people your age had to sacrifice their lives for the betterment of the world.”
The selection process varies by co-op, but for East Central Electric (ECE) the process is straightforward: write a 500-word essay.
This year’s prompt is “describe the differences between an electric cooperative and investor-owned utilities.” The essay will be judged by the following criteria: 40 percent on knowledge of subject, 40 percent on originality and creativity, and 20 percent on composition and grammar. Please use double-spacing.
Entrants must be high school juniors (11th grade) and live within the nine-county ECE service area. The service area covered by ECE includes all or parts of Creek, Lincoln, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Seminole, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties.
Entrants do not have to be children of ECE members, just live within the ECE service area. Immediate family members of ECE employees or trustees are not eligible.
“My favorite part of the experience for me was getting to see DC through the eyes of my Youth Tourians every year, knowing what we were going to see or do next and being so excited to share it with them, knowing what their reactions were going to be,” said Dempsey. “I did it for 17 years without getting tired of visiting the same places over and over, and getting to be a small part of something that I knew they would remember forever. I will probably be ‘Spike Momma’ to someone out there the rest of my life...that’s a pretty cool legacy.”
The deadline is March 1, winners will be revealed after April 1, and the trip should take place in mid-June to early July. Mail the essay to: East Central Oklahoma Electric, ATTN - Billie Been, P.O. Box 1178, Okmulgee, OK 74447.
For more information, go to www.ecoec.com/content/how-apply.
By Wesley Coburn
Local citizen Stephen Robertson, a former Harlem Globetrotter, has the opportunity to take part in the East Meets West Charity Game in Los Angeles, California on February 13 at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center.
But to compete, Robertson must raise $500 for travel expenses, and donations from the community are welcomed. Donations may be dropped off at the offices of Okmulgee Main Street and the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce.
The game will be part of the lead-up to the NBA All-Star Weekend, which culminates in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center. It celebrates the bonds being made between the U.S. and China, is presented by Anthem Communications, and benefits the Steve Francis Foundation, which strives to create educational and recreational opportunities for at-risk youth.
One of the teams will be coached by former NBA player Jellybean Bryant, father of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Robertson is the husband of Okmulgee High School graduate Dawanna Robertson, and the father of reigning OHS Homecoming Queen Sydnee Robertson.
The NBA All-Star Game will feature Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, as well as former Thunder players Kevin Durant (Golden State), James Harden (Houston) and Victor Oladipo. It will be on televised on TNT Sunday, February 18, at 7 p.m.
By Wesley Coburn
The Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs earned third place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament, held at Brock Memorial Gym last week. They took the bronze rafter defeating the Dewar Lady Dragons on Friday night.
The Lady Bulldogs faced the Wilson Lady Tigers in the first round on Tuesday, sailing out to a 20-2 lead after one quarter and a 31-9 advantage at halftime. The final score was Okmulgee 56-23.
Leading the Lady Bulldogs was Sahmeya King with 14 points, Myesha Cosby scored eight points and McKenzie James had seven. Wilson’s top scorers were Raven Shaw with nine points, Cheyenne Duggar with five and Emma Sparkman with three.
On Thursday night Okmulgee faced the Preston Lady Pirates in the semifinals. After one quarter Preston led 24-10, and they stayed ten to fifteen points ahead for the rest of the game, leading 35-24 at halftime and winning 63-50.
Okmulgee’s scoring was led by James and Kailey Ward each with 12 points, King had 11 points and Tierney Gardner added 10 points. Preston’s top scorers were Tecumseh with 13 points and Aaliyah Harrison, Eunice Leach and Ahmaia Tiger all with 10 points.
That sent Okmulgee into the third-place contest on Friday night against Dewar. The Lady Bulldogs stayed roughly fifteen points ahead of the Lady Dragons all night, beginning with a 29-16 first-quarter lead and 41-26 halftime advantage. There was a lengthy pause in the middle of the third quarter after Destiny Jordan got an elbow to the nose, bleeding all over the court, but that didn’t deter the Lady Bulldogs from their 67-43 victory.
Leading the Lady Bulldogs was James with 21 points, Jordan scored 17, while Ward added 12. Dewar’s top scorers were Corbin with 14 points, sisters Savannah and Skye Been both scored eight points, and Keke Carter added five.
Okmulgee will get back into action on Friday, January 26, at home against Wewoka, the girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys immediately following.
By Wesley Coburn
The Preston Lady Pirates won the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week with a win over Beggs at Okmulgee’s Brock Memorial Gym, the eighth time Preston has claimed the title of the best in the county.
Their first-round opponents on Monday were the Henryetta Lady Knights, and after one quarter Preston led 10-7, which grew to 26-15 by halftime. The Lady Pirates doubles Henryetta’s output at one point in the third quarter, finishing it ahead 46-32, and the final score was 59-46 in the Lady Pirates’ favor.
For Preston, scoring was led by Samantha Hack with 13 points, Eunice Leach scored seven points and Aaliyah Harrison and Ahmaiah both added six points each. For Henryetta, Kaylee Hemric had 17 points, Ashlyn Green scored 13 points, and Lexi Lollis added seven.
In the semifinals on Thursday Preston faced the Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs, and Preston jumped out to a 24-10 first-quarter lead and held it ever after. The final score was Preston 63-50, advancing the Lady Pirates into the championship game on Saturday night.
Aiyonna Tecumseh scored 13 points to lead the Lady Pirates, with Harrison, Leach and Tiger all adding 10 points apiece. For Okmulgee, McKenzie James and Kaylee Ward both scored 12 points, with Sahmeya King scoring 11 points and Tierney Gardner adding 10.
The top-seeded Beggs Lady Demons were the opponents in the championship game, and while it started sloppily for both sides, the first quarter ended with Preston holding a 15-13 edge. The Lady Pirate lead expanded to 37-27 at the halftime break; Beggs was hampered by a leg injury to Moia Phillips. At the end of the third quarter Preston led 47-35, but the Lady Demons rallied to trail 55-52 with 3:30 to play. But the Lady Pirates held on to leave the building with the trophy after the 63-56 victory.
Tecumseh led Preston with 16 points, Tiger and Abby Long both scored 11 points, and Hack added 10. Tecumseh also won the girls’ 3-point shooting competition. For Beggs, their scoring was led by Moia Phillips with 14 points, Emiko Goudeau scored 11 points, and Cheyenne Johnson added 10.
Preston gets back to regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.
By Wesley Coburn
The Okmulgee Bulldogs, playing in their home of Brock Memorial Gym, won the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament with a win over Beggs. This is the fourth times the Bulldogs have won the tournament, and the second year in a row.
The tournament started for the top-seeded Bulldogs going against the Schulter Bulldogs in the final game of the first round on Tuesday night. After the first quarter Okmulgee led 26-3 and 66-14 at halftime. The final score was Okmulgee 118-41, which set a new record for most points scored by one team in a game.
Every Okmulgee player scored; they were led by Armando Rodriguez with 18 points, Melic Jefferson scored 15 points, Louis Camacho and Jordan Lewis each added 10 points. For Schulter, they were led by Austin Pena’s 17 points, while Trenton Twist scored eight points with Caleb Caldwell adding seven.
The final score of Thursday’s semifinal game against Dewar was 83-70, but the Bulldogs dominated the Dragons at every step; the first quarter ended with OHS up 21-8, and at halftime it was 43-24.
Anfernee Nelson led the Bulldogs with 32 points, while Devion Nelson scored 16 points and Jacob Barrett added 14. For Dewar, Dustin Blood scored 21 points, Brock Hicks scored 11 points and Joey Fowler added 10.
In Saturday night’s championship game, Okmulgee jumped to an 11-2 lead on Beggs before leading the Demons 19-12 at the end of the first quarter. Things tightened up in the second quarter; Okmulgee led 32-29 at halftime. Okmulgee broke out in the third, ahead 51-38 with eight minutes to play, and they rode out the final quarter en route to a 72-62 victory.
Devion Nelson led all Okmulgee scorers with 30 points, Keishawn Gardner scored 16 points and Anfernee Nelson added 14. For Beggs, Jayden Grayson scored 23 points, E.J. Smoot scored 12 points and Chandler Stanton added eight.
Okmulgee will get back into regulars-season action on Friday, January 26, at home against Wewoka, the girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys immediately following.
By Wesley Coburn
The Preston Pirates finished in third place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week by holding off the Dewar Dragons.
Preston faced off against the Henryetta Knights in a first-round matchup Monday night, and the scoreboard operator was kept very busy. The game wasn’t ever especially close, Preston had control the whole way through after an 18-11 first-quarter lead that grew to 46-27 at halftime. Henryetta rallied in the third quarter as Preston’s lead shrank to 66-53, but the Pirates pulled out the 95-75 win.
The Pirates were led by C.J. Cochran, who scored a tournament-record 57 points, while Turner Howk scored 15 points and Jarron Williams added seven. For Henryetta, Colten Wion scored 24 points, Drew Brown scored 10 and Micah Lowe added nine.
Preston moved on to Thursday’s semifinals against the Beggs Demons, falling in another high-scoring contest. It was basically the flipside of Monday’s game, as Beggs led the entire way through, ending with a 95-88 score.
Cochran led the Pirates with 43 points, while Williams scored 15 points and Billy Hudson scored 14. The Demons were led by E.J. Smoot with 38 points, Shaidan Jordan with 22 points and Jayden Grayson with 18 points.
Saturday’s third-place game began with six straight Dewar points, only for Preston to tie the game, and then Dewar reeled off eight straight, the Dragons leading 27-18 at the end of the first quarter. Things tightened up in the second quarter as the halftime scoreboard showed the Dragons ahead 38-34. Preston’s first lead of the game came with 2:49 left in the third quarter at 50-49, and both teams traded the lead back and forth with the Pirates ahead 57-56 at the end of the third quarter. Dewar clawed back to lead 62-61, but Preston held them off to pull out a dramatic 77-70 victory.
Cochran led the Pirates with 31 points, Juan Zavala scored 15 points, while Williams scored 12 and Jared Fife added 10. For Dewar, Joey Fowler scored 24 points, Brock Hicks scored 21 points, Dustin Blood scored 15 and Gentry Bryson added 10.
Preston gets back into regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.
By Wesley Coburn
The Morris Lady Eagles earned fifth place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week, defeating their archrival Henryetta Lady Knights in the consolation championship.
Tuesday’s first round matchup saw Morris going up against the Dewar Lady Dragons, and it opened as a back-and-forth affair, MHS leading 13-11 after eight minutes and tied at 25 at halftime. Dewar gained the upper hand in the third quarter, leading 36-31 with eight minutes to play, and in the fourth their shots fell while the Morris shots didn’t, as the Lady Eagles fell 55-39.
Charie Barnett led Morris with 16 points, Madyson Lewis scored 11, and Kyzia Wizenhunt added four points. For Dewar, Skye Been had 20 points, Savannah Been had 16 point, with Morgan Britt and Skyler Randall both contributing eight.
The Lady Eagles then faced the Schulter Lady Bulldogs in the losers bracket on Wednesday. The outcome was almost instantly decided; Morris led 23-3 at the end of the first quarter, and 38-6 at halftime. The final score was Morris 64-15.
Barnett led the Lady Eagles with 17 points, Emily Wallace scored 15 points, Barnett had 14 points, and Treysa Clay added seven. Malachi Hedrick scored 12 for Schulter, with the other three coming from Abby Earhart.
Friday night’s fifth place game started out with ten straight Morris points, and the Lady Eagles held a 19-6 first-quarter advantage over the Lady Knights. 42 fouls were committed in this clash, which is to be expected. At halftime Morris’ lead increased to 39-14, and by the end of the third quarter the score was 51-28. The final score ended up with Morris winning 67-38.
Lewis led the Lady Eagles with 25 points, Barnett had 17 points, and Katie Pinkston scored eight. For Henryetta, Kyla Green scored 14 points, Kaylee Hemric scored 11 points, and Kim Hayes had six.
The Morrii and Henryetta boys also played for fifth place, and it went to overtime before Henryetta finished off a buzzer-beating comeback in the extra period with the 76-70 victory.
For Morris, Joe McBride scored 21 points, Brett Beard had 18 points, and Trenton Kelley scored 12. For Henryetta, Pepper Logan and Jarrett Day both scored 14, while Colten Wion and Avery Moore scored 13 each.
The Eagles and Lady Eagles host Henryetta on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.
By Wesley Coburn
While the final result wasn’t what the Beggs Demons hoped for, at the end of the 2017 season, they still made it to the Class 3A championship game.
In that game Friday night they fell to the Oklahoma City John Marshall Bears by a 14-7 score. But that doesn’t take away from the Demons’ 13-2 record, or 6-0 record in district play.
Played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium, the battle featured the small-town well-oiled machine of the Demons against the Division I superstar talent of the big-city Bears, led by their University of Nevada-bound tailback Devonte Lee.
Beggs received the opening kickoff and were forced to punt, which set up a long Marshall drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown by Lee with 7:58 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick bounced off the goalpost. Roughly a minute later Beggs got the ball again after sophomore linebacker Easton Davis forced a fumble, which was recovered by junior LB Dexter Wolf. The Demons were able to drive deep into Bears territory, but the drive was stalled at the Marshall 6.
The Demons were able to outplay Marshall in the second quarter, though no points were scored by either side. A 25-yard pass from JR quarterback Dalton Spring to senior receiver E.J. Smoot was called back because of a pass interference penalty, and JR cornerback Jaidan Grayson had a pick six nullified by a referee’s decision.
The Demons tied the game on SR QB Kobe Haynes’ 19-yard touchdown run with 6:47 left in the third quarter, and took the lead on JR kicker Carson Siegenthaler’s extra point. Momentum continued as SR safety Brandon Williams intercepted a Marshall pass about four minutes later.
The teams traded possessions and turnovers in the fourth quarter; Grayson rescued the Demons from a tough spot by catching a Marshall throw at his own eight-yard line. Beggs drove the ball to midfield before having to punt, only for one play to seal the game as Lee galloped 51 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The two-point conversion pass was good, which meant that the final score was Marshall 14, Beggs 7.
Officials called 26 penalties throughout the game, and the Demons held Marshall’s passing to 33 yards while at least seven different Beggs players registered tackles. Beggs gained about 135 yards in the air and about 110 on the ground.
Next year the OSSAA has the Demons dropping back down into Class 2A, placing them in district 3, along with the local Morris Eagles, Kiefer Trojans and Haskell Haymakers, Other schools in the district are Caney Valley (Ramona), Dewey, Sperry and Victory Christian (Tulsa).
By Wesley Coburn
The Beggs Demons (13-1 overall, 6-0 in 3A-6) are back in the state championship game for the first time in forty years.
They defeated the Sulphur Bulldogs (12-2, 6-0 3A-4) 37-28 Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School’s Wolves Stadium.
After an exchange of punts, junior quarterback Dalton Spring threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver E.J. Smoot with 2:53 left in the opening quarter to put the Demons on the scoreboard first, but 57 seconds later Sulphur scored on a seven-yard TD run, and the Bulldogs went ahead 7-6 after the extra point kick.
The Bulldogs pounced on a loose ball in Demon territory and turned it into a 13-yard scoring run with 10:19 to go in the second quarter, but Beggs regained momentum by blocking the extra point. Thirty seconds later Spring scored on a one-yard sneak, and the Demons went ahead 18-13 after Smoot’s eight-yard run with 5:14 left until halftime. Sulphur answered with a 68-yard run and two-point conversion, and the halftime score was Sulphur 21-18.
The Demon defense forced Sulphur into a turnover on downs deep into the third quarter, and two plays later Spring found Smoot for an 83-yard TD pass, only for Sulphur to regain a 28-24 lead on a 17-yard run. But with five seconds left in the quarter, Spring found a receiver in the end zone to go ahead 30-28.
Beggs’ defense stopped the Sulphur offense on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, and with 6:26 to play Spring threw a 53-yard TD to JR WR Shaidan Jordan, and the extra point was good. The game was sealed on a fourth-down sack by JR linebacker T.J. Austin with four minutes to go, as Beggs won 37-28.
The Demons’ opponents next weekend in the Class 3A title game will be the Oklahoma City Marshall Bears, who defeated the Jones Longhorns 29-26 in the other semifinal. The 1975 Demons won the Class A title 21-0 over OKC Millwood.
The game will be played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium on Friday, December 8, at 7 p.m. For those unable to attend, it will be broadcast on KOKL 1240 AM.