LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Fresh off of an 80-41 carpet-bombing of Lincoln Christian to wrap up its first district title in 21 years, Locust Grove has a chance to complete its first undefeated regular season in school history Friday at Keys despite being picked fourth in District 3A-7 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
The 9-0 Pirates have managed to win games in jaw-dropping fashion in each of the last six weeks, from a 38-34 win at Tahlequah Sequoyah in Week 4 to a 42-41 come-from-behind win over Hilldale in Week 7.
I haven’t even mentioned that the LG defense has given up 41 points in three consecutive weeks, but it doesn’t seem to matter since LG has averaged 60 in that same span.
Only dogs can hear the Locust Grove offense because it scores points at such a high frequency. Per the Tulsa World research department, the previous school record for single game scoring was 65, set 62 years ago. The 2013 offense has already bested that mark twice and set the new school record vs. Lincoln.
I chatted with LG head coach Matt Hennesy Monday about his team’s resurgence and its upcoming game against the 1-8 Cougars:
Chuck Porter: Have you ever played on or coached a team that went undefeated this far into the season?
Matt Hennesy: Yeah. At Jenks, we went 14-0 and won a gold ball when I was an assistant. It feels good, but [at Locust Grove] we never really talk about it. We’re so young, we just come out and play and get ready for the next game.
CP: Class 3A is stacked this year. Is there any team you don’t want to run into in the playoffs?
MH: We’re just happy to be in there. We’ll show up to play whoever we get. We’ll probably get Roland in the first round, but like I said, we just take it one game at a time.
CP: With the district wrapped up already, do you have any plans to hold guys out against Keys, or am I an idiot for even considering that?
MH: No, we’re just going to play. We’ll be smart about it though. We don’t want kids getting hurt before the playoffs. [Sophomore wide receiver] Jason Pirtle and [senior running back] Cory Rohde were a little banged up after our last game, so we’ll be careful with them, but guys do want to play. We’ve never talked about being undefeated, but of course something like that is always in the back of your mind.
CP: And they know it around town. When people see you around Locust Grove, what kind of stuff do they say to you?
MH: They’re all excited. It’s great. You know, you hear people gripe about bandwagon fans all the time, but that’s not the problem. When I was playing for [head coach Bill] Snyder at Kansas State, we used to complain about people not showing up to our games. He would say, “If there’s a movie playing downtown, and everyone says it’s terrible, would you want to pay eight bucks to go see it?” We said no, and he said, “Well, it’s on you to get better. If you get better, people will come.”
It’s great to have everyone at our games now, being loud. I’m happy to see everyone there. The whole town is abuzz. They were hungry. That’s a big reason I came to this town. With wrestling, with basketball, you could tell this is a town where you could win some football games.
Locust Grove will host its first playoff game under Hennesy Nov. 15.