Not for granted
Warner’s Eagles (8-0, 4-0 District A-8) can wrap up the district title with a win over Afton (3-4, 3-1) on Friday and coach Chris McMullen is not letting his team lose focus on what’s at stake.
“I told the guys that these district titles are hard to come by,” McMullen said. “I’ve been in coaching for a long time and have won only three district championships.”
McMullen is also quick to point out that his squad is confident but not overconfident. They’re aware that while a district is within their grasp, there’s still a remote chance of missing a postseason berth with losses this week and again against Liberty (3-5, 2-2) at home next week.
“They do believe they will win every game,” he said. “They also know this is the fun part of the season. It’s not 100 degrees outside and the playoff pairings are shaping up.
“But I keep telling the guys that they can’t be satisfied with where they’re at now. There’s still work to be done and not to let their guard down. They can do that at the end of the season.”
In a bind
All four playoff spots from District 3A-8 have been wrapped up but the Checotah Wildcats (6-1, 4-1), along with the three teams tied with them at the top, are aiming for a district title.
Checotah hosts arch-rival Eufaula (1-7, 1-4) on Friday and a win puts the Wildcats one step closer to its goal.
“Motivating the guys this week for Eufaula has not been a problem,” said Checotah coach Brandon Turley. “Not only is it the longest-running rivalry in the state, this is the most intense rivalry I’ve ever been around.”
Checotah claims the championship by winning its final two games by a total of 15 points or more, combined with Stigler winning its final two contests, or a loss by Roland in one of its final two games — the most likely possibility being Spiro, the other team involved in the four-way tie, on Friday.
“Since Roland beat us at the start of district play, and Stigler beat Roland, we need to end up in a three-way tie,” Turley said. “If all three of us win out, and we should, then it boils down to the point differential in district games. If someone upsets Stigler and we end up tied with Roland, then we lose the district championship because of head-to-head.”
Fond of home
The Webbers Falls Warriors (5-2, 3-2 C-4) currently sit in fourth in the district race and can clinch a postseason berth with a over SW Covenant at home on Friday or at Arkoma next week.
“This week, it’s been very easy to get the guys focused for Friday’s game,” said Warriors coach Shawn Dismuke. “They understand that they let one get away from them last Thursday. We still might be able to go and beat Arkoma next week.”
While a win on Friday puts Webbers Falls into the postseason, the Warriors are still alive for a second-place finish in the district which guarantees a first-round home game.
“We are riding a 19-game home winning streak and would like nothing more than to have a home game,” Dismuke said. “If we were to finish fourth, we would have to go play Cherokee and I don’t want to do that. This is not a difficult carrot to dangle in front of the guys.”
—Compiled by Phoenix sports writer Ronn Rowland