The Adair football team ended their 2012 season an inch away from finishing as the third best team in Oklahoma Class 2A football.
The Warriors had a perfect 10-0 record during the regular season and made a run to the quarter finals in the playoffs.
They ended their season with a 34-33 loss to a dominant Davis football team.
The Wolves finished as (a close) second team in class 2A football after suffering a three-point loss Oklahoma Christian in the state championship game.
Before barely losing to Oklahoma Christian in the finals, Davis shocked the state by shutting out an explosive Vian offense.
The Wolverines averaged 63.2 points a game during the season and scored 821 total points during the season. Still, the established powerhouse could not find a way to score against a great Davis defense.
The Wolves have a legendary football program that has made the state playoffs the last 26 years, with four state titles to date.
Adair Head Coach Mark Lippe, the man behind back-to-back undefeated seasons, is well aware of the reputation the name Davis carries.
“They’re an Oklahoma institution in football,” Lippe said. “In small school football, one of the first names that comes up are the Davis Wolves. Traditionally, year in and year out they’re one of the finest football teams in the state of Oklahoma.”
This year’s Davis football team was known for running the ball down their opponent’s throat, averaging 334.7 rushing yards a game.
Adair was undersized against the Wolves, so Coach Lippe said the coaching staff simplified their defensive game plan and let their kids go downhill against the ground and pound offense.
The Warriors lost after going for a two-point conversion to win the ballgame in the final play of the game.
Their playoff run ended after being stopped inches from the goal line.
Coach Lippe does not regret making the call to try for the two point conversion and the win.
“I didn’t consider anything else,” Lippe said. “We were coaching to win. We weren’t coaching to come close or play tough. We were coaching to win that football game. And our kids played to win.”
Lippe maintained such a mentality the entire week leading up to the game.
He told his team they weren’t going to hold anything back and to “let it rip.”
He reminded his players of their tough practices in the heat of summer and told them the moment for all their hard work had arrived and to enjoy it.
“We don’t talk to our kids about having fun,” said Lippe. “There’s things about football that aren't fun. But we talk to our kids about how we want them to enjoy it. We want them to enjoy the process, because it has such a deeper meaning.
Lippe has been coaching Adair football for four years and has slowly gotten closer to a state title with each season.
The Warriors lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2010 after an undefeated season, but Lippe confessed that without the heartbreaking loss, the team couldn’t have made it so far this season.
He uses former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s “Pyramid Of Success” as a resource when striving to mold Adair’s football program.
At the top of Wooden’s pyramid is faith and patience.
Lippe believes these are the two most important characteristics in creating a winning program.
“To win a state championship, it’s not a one year deal,” Lippe said. “It’s a learning process and it’s hard to have faith and patience in today’s society, because everybody wants it now. True success does not happen overnight. We teach our kids anything worth having is hard to obtain. Anything that comes easy, really isn’t worth very much.”
Lippe knows he cannot change a program single handedly.
He gives a large portion of the credit for the team’s success to his coaching staff.
“I have been blessed beyond words,” Lippe said about his coaching staff. “It’s by far not about me, by any means. Our football staff here is made up of some of the best men I’ve been around…It’s just fun to go to work with those guys every day. They all truly care about kids.”
Lippe and his coaching staff run practice unlike any other in the state. He says during a 25 to 30 minute team session, they could run as many as 70 plays. He wants to move practice as quick as possible to make the games on Friday night seem slow for his team.
Adair runs a no-huddle spread offense and Lippe believes if they are going to run a no huddle offense it should be faster than any other.
The Adair football program’s future looks bright with Lippe at the helm, with a returning load of young talent.
The team only graduates five seniors this season.
The Warriors will continue to keep the same goal: make the state championship game. When Lippe was asked if defense or character won championships his response was definitive.
“Character, heart, and determination wins championships. By no stretch of the imagination,” said Lippe.