Wise Leads Carl Albert to Class 5A Championship

<b>TULSA, OK --</b> Led by offensive line anchorman and potential Iowa State football recruit Dain Wise, the Carl Albert Titans entered the Oklahoma 5-A championship game against the top-ranked and undefeated Booker T. Washington Hornets under clear skies and temperatures in the upper 50's. Wise and the rest of the offensive line led the way as the Titans will be remembered in 2004 with a 35-22 victory over the Hornets in Skelly Stadium in Tulsa Saturday afternoon.

It looked like the Titans followed an old rule used by a lot of winning teams: "ya dance with the one who brung ya." After Washington scored a touchdown on their opening drive, with help from a roughing the punter call, Carl Albert began with a short field after a long kickoff return and a face mask call. Several plays later, J. R. Moore, a quarterback who looked more like an additional running back, ran a sweep for the first score of the day for the Titans.

On the play, Dain Wise led the sweep, then turned around and set a tough seal block to let Moore score the touchdown. After the first series and part of the next series, the dance was recognized. If Wise lined up at left tackle, the play went to the left. If Wise lined up at right tackle, the play went to the right. No disguises, no trickery, no deceit, it seemed that they were saying, "This is what we're going to do, go ahead and stop us." On the next touchdown in the second quarter, Moore scored again right off the hip of Wise as he went in from three yards out.

Wise, a 6'5", 274-pound tackle, led sweep after sweep after sweep throughout the day. He helped two runners rush for over 100 yards on the day. Moore ended the day with 27 rushes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for two more touchdowns. Junior running back Charles Hightower finished with 14 rushes for 138 yards.

For the day, the Titans averaged over six yards per carry against the number one ranked team in Oklahoma 5-A football. Of course Wise had help during the day, but the direction of 90-95 percent of the plays depended on which side of the ball he started the play.

When the play was run off-tackle, Wise was up to the challenge with several pancake blocks. There was one block where Wise took his man 15 yards downfield and planted him on his back. But the majority of the plays were sweeps to the outside to help utilize the speed of their backfield. Wise showed excellent footwork with seal block after seal block opening the way for his backs to run.

He also was probably the most fluid running big man that has been observed all year long. As he ran before, during and after the game, he wasn't one of the usual rumbling, bumbling, stumbling linemen. He was able to sprint to his spot, turn and make the seal block against the defensive end or linebacker with relative ease. He has the tools to be an effective pulling guard in the future, but it seems that Iowa State may want to keep him at the tackle position.

Although Wise didn't play much on the defensive side of the ball, he was put into the defensive line at the end of the first half when the Hornets were in the two-minute offense. With a 5'10" quarterback for the Hornets, his 6'5" frame was supposed to make it tougher for him to throw over the middle. It did work indirectly, though. When Wise was double-teamed on the pass rush, it left the lineman next to him available to knock down a pass, which helped hold the Hornets to a field goal at the end of the half.

The end of the game found Wise walking toward the sideline and taking a deep bow for the Titans' fans whom made the trip from the Oklahoma City area. According to the sports writer from The Daily Oklahoman, Wise has already achieved qualifying scores for college. He has known him for some time, and says that Wise is a very good kid to be around.

He will take his first visit to Missouri on December 10, and then will come to Ames on December 17. He is also scheduled to visit the Air Force Academy in January. Other offers have come in from Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas and Texas Christian. Oklahoma has also shown some interest, too. But the way that he looked on the field Saturday, he looks really good in Red!

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