What rivalries are on the horizon for Bartlesville-area grid teams?
(Note: This is the first of a two-part feature.)
If it’s almost football time that means fans can start salivating about the upcoming games with their team’s fiercest rival or rivals.
According to the old maxim, familiarity breeds contempt.
But, in football, familiarity breeds bruises, fire in the eyes, drilling down the bottom of the emotional gut to try to bring up last, desperate ounce of effort, and scraping for that meaningful victory that outshines all other wins.
One rivalry showdown — Bartlesville vs. Ponca City — won’t even taken place in the regular season.
The teams — which have met 39 times in the past 40 years — will clash in a scrimmage session.
Following is a look at the Top Six area grid rivalry matchups set for the upcoming season.
Bartlesville vs. Ponca City
Series since 1982: BHS leads, 20-18
BHS most lopsided win: 42-0 (2010)
PCHS most lopsided win: 41-0 (2003)
Last season: Ponca City wins 34-7
2022 red letter date: Aug. 26, at PCHS
Since Bartlesville High started sports competition in 1982, it’s battled the Ponca City Wildcats every year except for 1988 and 1999.
Defense has been a main theme. In 20 of the 38 games, the losing team failed to reach 10 points.
In the past two seasons, Ponca City beat the Bruins in back-to-back meetings for the first time since 2004-2005.
The Bruins had dominated the series from 2008-19 with an 11-1 record.
At stake during the past several meetings has been the ConocoPhillips Bowl Trophy.
Due to an inability to schedule a regular season meeting in 2022, the teams will collide in a Aug. 26 scrimmage meeting at Ponca City, with the trophy up for grabs.
Memorable moment: Geoff Beaulieu returned a punt for a touchdown in 1997 to help lift the Bruins to a 16-6 win.
Dewey vs. Nowata
Series since 1982: Nowata leads, 22-18
DHS most lopsided win: 63-0 (2017)
NHS most lopsided win: 44-6 (2013)
Last season: Dewey wins 40-16
2022 red-letter date: Sept. 2, at NHS
Since 1982 this has been almost a series of streaks — 7-0 for Nowata from 1982-88, 7-0 for Dewey from 1989-95, 10-0 for Nowata from 1996-05, and 6-0 currently for Dewey since 2016.
From 2007-15, the teams Dewey owned a slight advantage, five wins to four.
Nowata has beaten Dewey since 2015 (55-25), when the Ironmen were in the midst of their powerful run of five straight years in the playoffs, including a run to the Class 2A championship game in 2014.
Dewey won in 2019, 32-0, on its way to a 7-3 regular season, best by the Doggers in 25 years.
This year’s meeting features two clubs coming off down years (1-9 for Dewey, 0-10 for Nowata).
It also marks the second time in four years both teams will have a new head coach going into the scrap.
This year’s collision will be a non-district game.
The intensity of this rivalry might extend back to 1970. During the regular season that year, Dewey hammered the Ironmen, who got out of the gate slowly. But, Nowata then picked up steam and chugged past Dewey — which had gone 9-1 in the regular season — in their fierce playoff meeting. Nowata went on to win the '70 state title.
Noteworthy number: Dewey has won the last two meetings, 42-6 and 40-16, the first time in the past 40 meetings the Doggers have scored 40-or-more points in back-to-back games against Nowata.
Bartlesville vs. Sand Springs
Series since 1982: BHS leads, 21-17
BHS most lopsided win: 48-16 (2010)
SSHS most lopsided win: 55-13 (2017)
Last year: Sand Springs wins, 41-20
2022 red-letter date: Oct. 21, at BHS
As in the case of Ponca City, Bartlesville and the Sandites have clashed every year except two (1998, 1999) since 1982.
Three of the games have been decided in overtime, including a 40-33 three-extra period heart-pounder in 1992 by the Sandites.
The Bruins and Sandites have played the prototypical close series since 1993.
In the first 11 meetings (1982-92), Bartlesville down a 10-1 series lead.
But, in the subsequent 27 meetings, Sand Springs owns a 16-11 edge.
Neither team has won more than three series games in a row since 2002.
In 2006, Bartlesville finished 1-9 after posting its only season win against Sand Springs, 24-14.
Bartlesville edged Sand Springs, 29-27, in 2018 for one of its four wins.
Sand Springs snapped back two years later to trim the Bruins, 21-14, to keep them from a top-four finish in district.
Pawhuska vs. Hominy
Series since 2004: Hominy leads, 9-7
PHS most lopsided win: 64-25 (2020)
Hominy most lopsided win: 40-0 (2015)
Last year: Hominy wins, 33-31
2022 red-letter date: Sept. 9, at PHS
Geographical rivals less than 20 miles apart, Hominy and Pawhuska have scrapped through a handful of thrillers since 2004.
Five of the games have been decided by a touchdown-or-less, including last year’s down-to-the=wire slobberknocker.
Prior to that, Pawhuska had won three in a row in the series by a combined point total of 154-74.
Pawhuska could be fired up to turn the tables in this year’s meeting — the loss last year to Hominy was one of only three regular season losses for Pawhuska since the beginning of the 2019 season.
(Part 2 of this series is planned later in the week.)