By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
MOORE — Southmoore was in a win-or-go-home situation last week. After dropping a couple of regular season games that it could have won, it had to beat Mustang. Essentially, its playoffs started a week early.
But now after proving to themselves they can win in those circumstances, the SaberCats say they are ready for the real postseason to begin.
“Well, I think we learned we play better with pressure,” Southmoore quarterback Tre Edwards said. “Our coaches have put us through every type of adversity that you could think of, and as you can see, it paid off. We will see some this week coming up, and we will use what we’ve been taught to overcome it.”
The SaberCats travel to Norman on Friday to face Norman North in the first round of the 6A playoffs at 7:30 p.m at Harve Collins Field. The Timberwolves are district champions and have only one loss on the season. However, that lone defeat came at the hands of Westmoore, a team Southmoore beat.
“Some say they’re the best defensive team in the state,” Edwards said. “But our numbers show we are the No. 1 offense in the state so it will be very interesting, seeing what happens Friday night.”
It had been a few weeks since Southmoore had played its best game against top-level competition. After knocking off then No. 1 Lawton High on the road Oct. 4, it looked like it was going to be an easy path to the postseason and homefield in the first round. But back-to-back losses to Norman and Edmond Memorial put the Cats’ season in jeopardy.
Despite the struggles, wide receiver Jackson Stallings likes how his team responded to win the final two games of regular season.
“We beat ourselves through unforced mistakes and turnovers,” Stallings said. “Our team is constantly maturing and has not put together a complete game yet. The focus going into playoffs is to carry the momentum of these past two weeks and continue to strive to play a flawless game.”
The stakes are high for both teams, which are full of seniors who know each other very well. They have played against and with each other most of their lives.
“Jordan Evans, Jake Higginbotthom, Jaxon Uhles and Beau Proctor are all guys that I hang out with and have good friendships with,” Stallings said. “Those friendships make for a fun week of preparation, but once game-time rolls around, it is about survival.”
For the seniors, it’s all or nothing. The losers will see their season, and most likely their football careers, come to an end. Only a few will go on to play college football. So both teams want to make sure it lasts at least one more week.
“Not only could it be the last game as a SaberCat, but the last football game of my life,” Edwards said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was seven, and all I want to do is leave it all on the field — play four hard quarters, and I just want us to play as a team and play as hard as we can. If we do that, I think we can extend the season. I know a couple of North players, but come Friday night, we aren’t friends. We are going to battle and whoever is the strongest will keep the season alive.”
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