With the Oklahoma high school football season ending, it’s time to announce the playoff awards.
Oklahoman announced its 109th state football first team on Thursday. For the first time, Oklahoman will also announce the candidates for Offensive Player, Defensive Player and Coach of the Year. The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 9, along with the second-team selections and honorable mentions.
How does Oklahoman to select its nominees for the 109th state football first team? Forms were sent to every football coach in the state to solicit nominations. The returned forms were evaluated by Cameron Jourdan, who reviewed with editors James D. Jackson and Nick Sardis. Coaches and others familiar with this year’s football landscape were also consulted, and the list was reduced to 25 first-team members. Then, the candidates were chosen for the players of the year in attack, defense and coaches.
It’s time to nominate the three contenders for the 109th Offensive Player of the Year for the Oklahoman All-State Football Team.
Following:2023 prospect Erik McCarty scores 5 touchdowns to seal McAlester District Championship
Jace Gilbert, Marlow
Position: Quarterback, kicker | To classify: Senior
The story: Perhaps no player in the State matters more to his team than Gilbert, who helped guide Marlow to the Class 2A State Championship, the Outlaws’ first title since 1964. He barely left the field, but he was one of the most impactful offensive players in the state. He completed 123 of 157 passes for 2,227 yards with 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also ran for 853 yards and 17 scores. In the kicking game, he scored 10 of 13 field goals with a length of 52, 81 of 82 PAT and averaging 41.8 yards on 24 punts.
Friday night lights: Jace Gilbert is Marlow’s outlaw, trying to bring another title to southwest Oklahoma
Erik McCarty, McAlester
Position: Back | To classify: Junior
The story: McCarty has a case for being one of Oklahoma’s best all-rounders, but his impact on offense has been dynamic. He helped guide McAlester to the Class 5A State Championship game. During the season, he racked up 2,005 yards on 202 carries with 38 touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 234 yards and one scoring and passed for 100 yards with a touchdown. In addition, he recorded 104 tackles, six for losses, with one interception and 13 broken passes in defense.
Following:Gatorade names Bixby’s Braylin Presley Oklahoma high school football player of the year
Braylin Presley, Bixby
Position: Back | To classify: Senior
The storyReigning All-State Offensive Player of the Year, Presley was electric again every time he touched the ball. His presence helped make Bixby’s offensive elite. Playing in just 19 quarters and three second halves all season, Presley rushed 1,109 rushing yards on 109 attempts and caught 56 passes for 665 yards with 25 total touchdowns. He also completed two touchdown passes and had a punt return score. Presley found ways to make an impact every time he touched the ball.
Cameron Jourdan covers high school sports in the subway and the state of Oklahoma City. Do you have a story idea for Cameron? He can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Cam_Jourdan. Support Cameron’s work and that of fellow Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at subscription.oklahoman.com or using the link at the top of this page.