By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It still hurts Kiante Channel to think about. When the Westmoore senior reflects back on last year’s stunning 33-27 double overtime lost to rival Southmoore, he winces.
“Last year, the game still makes me mad,” Channel said. “We should have won.”
That is the type of intensity and animosity the Southwest Showdown has created. Even though it’s only five years old, the rivalry has quickly become one of the more entertaining in the state.
The sixth installment of the Southwest Showdown takes place at 7 p.m. today at Moore Stadium.
“It’s a big deal,” Southmoore’s Brandon Dick said. “City championship. You don’t want to have to worry about that extra of listening to people talking trash because you lost. There is more passion and emotion because you live with these guys in the same city. You just have to come out with all of it and perform.”
However, to call it a rivalry is still a stretch. The SaberCats have won four of the five previous meetings. That included three straight when the series began.
But regardless of who has won, or the score, the matchup has usually been entertaining, as have the subplots surrounding the games.
“I know originally when we opened up in 2008, all the defensive coaches at Westmoore came to Southmoore,” Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman said. “Now all those guys are gone. They are at OBU. I don’t know if there is as much animosity with the coaching staffs towards one another as there was back then. I just think it’s special because these kids know each other. They probably go to church together and grow up playing football together.”
For the players, the history of the rivalry is still fresh to them as are the reasons behind it.
“They have taken some of our good players,” Westmoore’s Deshawn Lookout said. “And we just want to get them back for leaving Westmoore. Show them that we are better.”
The SaberCats and Jaguars come into the contest undefeated after winning their season openers. Southmoore rolled over Carl Albert while Westmoore pounded Moore.
While the players get into the emotions of the contest, the coaches knows it comes down to making plays and not making mistakes.
“We just have to get better,” Westmoore coach Billy Langford said. “This is a big week to just go out and get better. I think it’s like any rivalry game where it’s a pretty close game. A couple of plays here and there will decide it. Hopefully this year we can make those plays. Southmoore, give them credit. They made those plays to win it last year. Year before that, we made the plays and they didn’t.”
With Southmoore’s Pierce Speed and Jaelon Walker each topping the 100 yard mark last week, the Jags know they have to slow down the Cats’ run game if they are going to pull out a victory.
With Westmoore showing it has a more balanced attack, Southmoore’s defense has to be solid on all fronts.
“They have big receivers, so we just have to lock them down,” Southmoore’s Dakota Troglin said. “And if our defense plays our game, we will be good. Our defensive line, we just have to play our game, maintain gap responsibility and do what we are coached up to do.”
In the five previous games, Southmoore has outscored Westmoore 160-108. Along with the four defeats, the Jaguars would seem to have more incentive heading into the contest. It remains to be seen if that will be enough to get them past the Cats.
“I would say when they built the school, we had Westmoore kids go over there,” Channel said. “It just built up. We have a lot of rivalry, a lot of blood between us. If we win, it’s going to feel great. Everything we worked for this summer, it’s going to all come back. It’s going to help us keep going through the season. I’m going to love it.”
Follow me @eyeamtruth