It may not be the high school football postseason yet, but it will likely feel like it tonight at Spiro's McClain Stadium.
The Heavener Wolves will visit the Spiro Bulldogs for a crucial District 3A-8 contest, beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
The Wolves (3-3 overall, 1-2 in district play) are coming off a tough loss to the Checotah Wildcats, falling 48-18 last Friday night at Harvey Stadium.
“They're a good ball team,” said Carl Lee, Heavener's first-year coach. “They played well, and we didn't play as well as we could have. They provided some match-up problems, and they exploited some of our weaknesses. We've been working on those this week in practice. We have to bounce back, and get playing the way we know how.”
The ’Dogs (3-3, 2-1) are on a two-game winning streak after losing their district opener to Stigler on Sept. 21. Spiro routed Eufaula 40-14 last week after blanking Idabel 17-0 in their last home game two weeks ago.
“They had a lot of turnovers,” said Chris Bunch, Spiro's coach, about last week's road win at Eufaula. “They had five fumbles, and it's hard to win games like that. But we took advantage of those. The kids played well, and are starting to catch on to what we're doing.”
The fact that it's two county teams meeting will likely make it a spirited game for starters, but the playoff ramifications which the game has riding on it is going to add even more to tonight's contest.
“It's huge,” Lee said. “There's a feeling of not just a county rivalry. You throw the playoff ramifications present, this match-up is huge.”
Tonight's game will likely showcase the complete opposite from an offensive standpoint. The Wolves will likely use smashmouth football with senior tailback Blake Smittle, who's rushed for 1,490 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, running behind a large offensive line. Conversely, the Bulldogs will use their speed and athleticism to combat the Heavener size. However, while both offensive can be potent, it will likely be the defenses which will need to step up to the forefront.
“It's going to come down to whichever defense plays the best,” Bunch said. “Offense is going to take care of itself. The defenses are going to have to step up.”
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District 3A-8 Standings
Team District Overall +/-
Stigler 3-0 5-1 +32
Checotah 2-1 5-1 +28
Spiro 2-1 3-3 +15
Roland 2-1 4-2 +7
Heavener 1-2 3-3 -8
Valliant 1-2 3-3 -17
Eufaula 1-2 1-5 -22
Idabel 0-3 1-5 -35