PRYOR, OK —
Two teams in Mayes County are still fighting for their playoff lives — one relatively untested, the other up against a familiar opponent.
Both teams have plenty to be thankful for, as practicing on Thanksgiving is a goal for every high school coach. Both teams will also make their furthest road trip of the season Friday, with Locust Grove racking up 250 miles one-way to Ardmore and Adair traveling 200 miles to Davis.
Here are a few things to watch for in this week’s games:
No. 7 Locust Grove (12-0) at No. 5 Plainview (12-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The angry Pirate logo at Leonard Yarborough Stadium’s midfield doesn’t bear even a passing resemblance to Cinderella, but the Locust Grove football team has played the role to perfection. The Pirates has been the underdogs in their fair share of games this season, but have come away from each one with a win and a few battle scars for their efforts. Plainview represents Locust Grove’s biggest test to date, and easily its toughest away from home.
While Locust Grove is 5-0 on the road, its only road wins over playoff teams were at Dewey and Jay. Jay (6-5) was the only road team LG defeated which ended its season above .500. Ardmore, where Plainview makes its home, is no short jaunt, either.
But among the many things the Pirates have done well this year, two stick out as necessities to knocking off the Indians: proving the doubters wrong and vertical passing. Against Berryhill, quarterback Mason Fine completed the majority of his passes of 20 or more yards downfield, most to fellow sophomore Jason Pirtle. Plainview’s galvanized defense has allowed multiple touchdowns in just two games this year, but it hasn’t faced an offense nearly as potent — or multi-faceted — as the one Locust Grove will bring to town Friday.
No. 6 Adair (11-1) at No. 2 Davis (12-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Despite facing each other in a Class 2A semifinal in 2012, these two squads boast almost completely new iterations in 2013. In fact, the only returning players that scored a point in last season’s 34-33 thriller are Davis junior Blake Summers (touchdown catch), Adair junior tight end James Eastin (touchdown catch) and Adair junior kicker/receiver Hunter Rosebrough (three extra points). Davis went on to lose in the state title game to Oklahoma Christian School 44-41 in 2012.
And here they are again, with a combined 23-1 record with another state semifinal berth at stake. Davis returned 12 seniors from last season’s team, while Adair brings back just five. The Warriors have plenty of talent on their side, but they cannot match the Wolves in the experience department.
Watch for a few gadget plays to turn the tide for Adair. Warrior head coach Mark Lippe said Davis is “the most disciplined team [he’s] ever coached against,” so chances are pretty good he’ll be looking for any way possible to use that discipline to his advantage. Last week against Okemah, the Warriors converted a crucial fourth-down attempt with a little acting from quarterback BJ Bradbury, who pretended not to hear the call from the sideline from the shotgun formation. As Bradbury was walking toward the sideline with his hands up in confusion, running back Cody Yoder received the direct snap and picked up the first down. If the Wolves can succeed in shutting down the Adair screen passing game, a little trickery may be on tap.