By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMACITY — When Billy Langford arrived as new Westmoore coach in 2010, the program was in a shambles. He was the third coach in three years and the team was coming off a 3-7 season under Chad Davis, who left a week after the previous season had concluded.
Langford’s task was to bring the Jaguars back to powerhouse status on the west side of the state, where it had been under the watch of Mike Whaley.
However, Langford wanted more than that. He saw how the likes of Jenks and Tulsa Union had dominated Class 6A football in Oklahoma and he didn’t see any reason why the Jaguars couldn’t be right there with them.
As Westmoore (10-2) prepares to face Jenks (12-0) Friday in the the Class 6A semifinal at Miller Stadium in Yukon, the Jaguars have some history to overcome. In five matchups against Jenks, Union and Broken Arrow, Westmoore is 0-5 under Langford and has been outscored 125-51.
“For one, those guys are really good, year in and year out,” Langford said of the Trojans. “They have more numbers. I believe a lot in the numbers game as far as overall consistency year after year after year. I think there is something to be said for the numbers. The overall numbers game is an issue.”
But it’s more than just the fact Jenks High has more than a thousand addtional students than Westmoore. It’s because they have been through the playoffs wars time and time again and found ways to win.
“They’ve been there so many times and been in those situations and been in semifinal games and final,” Langford said. “Their kids have been raised up and know those expectations. Know how to get there and, once they get there, knowing how to win those games. That’s probably a big difference.”
While the Jags have kept their games with the trio of Jenks, Union and Broken Arrow from getting too far out of hand, the still haven’t approached getting over the hump.
Yet, this year’s Westmoore squad has something different, according to Langford. While the Jags may not carry quite as much talent as in recent years, they have bonded.
“These guys as a senior group, specifically, (they) are really tight,” Langford said. “They all get along. I never had any issues in the past with any senior group, but this group there is something different as far as the closeness and the camaraderie they have.
“That carries over into how they play for each other. The things they are willing to do to help the team win. They are very unselfish.”
What has also helped Westmoore get to this point are the past failures it has endured. Two straight seasons of being ousted in the first round of the playoffs has done nothing but stoked the fire of the senior leaders.
“This group were freshmen when we beat Midwest City in the first round and kind of upset them,” Langford said. “As sophomores and juniors they’ve experienced first round losses to Midwest City and Union last year, so they’ve been through losing that first round and seeing those seniors and how disappointed they are, the emotions they feel walking off the field.
“We talked about it in the offseason and summer, we don’t want to go out in the first round anymore. We’re a better program than that.”
Yet, Langford knows until the Jaguars are able to beat Jenks or Union, it doesn’t matter. He didn’t come to Westmoore just to be competitive.
“I think you still have to beat them,” he said. “You can talk about it all you want and say we’re as good as anybody. Until you actually go prove it on the field and beat one of those guys at some point, it’s just talk.
“To really solidify those statements, and really, for your kids to believe and for your program to believe you can … compete with Jenks and Union. You have to go do it.”
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