PANAMA â€” As freshmen and sophomores, the eight senior Panama Razorback football players endured a 17-game losing streak â€” going winless as freshmen and not winning until Week 8 of the 2011 season with a win over archrival Pocola. Now, the Hogs are in the postseason for the second straight season. Last year when the Razorbacks traveled to meet the Okemah Panthers, the Class 2A playoffs were brand new. Not anymore.
â€śLast year was the first time in six years that we had been [to the playoffs].â€ť senior lineman Jarred Donaldson said. â€śIt was just new to everyone. This year, everyone besides the freshmen have been there. We know what it feels like. Now it's just like another game. It's not just a big step anymore. We just need to play our best, play together and not think about last year. We're two totally different teams. We're a totally different team than last year's team.â€ť
For one senior, running back Trey Smith, he was injured last year and didn't get to experience the postseason â€” at least on the field. He had no doubt that the Hogs (7-3) would be back in the playoffs his senior season. Thus, he's looking forward for the 7:30 p.m. Friday Class 2A playoff opener against the Panthers (8-2).
â€śI knew we could do it,â€ť Smith said. â€śI'm very excited for Friday night. This will be my first time [to play a playoff game]. I was injured last year. I'm looking forward to it.â€ť
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To Get There â€” Take U.S. 59 north to Sallisaw. Take Interstate 40 west to Okemah.