There is never anything easy about winning playoff games; those matchups can bring out the best or worst in the game of football.
This week there was a strange contrast between two of the area’s teams, Marlow and Elgin. Marlow produced 540 yards total offense and 45 points in a 45-7 victory over Tulsa Cascia Hall. Elgin racked up 370 yards against Claremore but managed to put just six points on the scoreboard. While so many fans are driven by statistics, there comes a time when none of that matters.
Getting the ball into the end zone is what decides a winner and loser.
Marlow will now battle No. 1-ranked Heritage Hall which blanked Berryhill, 49-0, Friday at 1 p.m. at Newcastle Racers’ Stadium.
Marlow coach Matt Weber was obviously upbeat after his Outlaws had another great effort on the road.
“This is a special group of kids,” Coach Weber said. “They set some lofty goals this season and they have carried that workmanlike attitude to this point. This is my 27th year of coaching and this is the best bunch I’ve ever put on the field when it comes to hard work and dedication.”
Coach Weber said the key has been a bit strange to explain.
“It seems a bit crazy to say but we had not had a great offensive identity until Week 10,” he said. “This week we ran the ball for 420 yards which was by far our best output of the season. And we threw for 120 more. That helped open up the running game. And, it helps to play from in front.”
The Outlaws scored on their first three possessions and it came down to good execution as quarterback Cade Gilbert and three different backs kept the Cascia Hall defense on its heels all night.
“Balance has been our strong suit all season but we look back and it’s been our defense that has been a big part of this,” he said. “I think our defense really played well against Plainview. Sure, we had played other good teams but in that game it was just a different level.”
Now the veteran coach gets to do something special.
“Now we get to practice on Thanksgiving Day which is the goal of every high school team at the start of the season.” he said. “We practice and then go up there Friday and play a day game. I haven’t done that in many years.”
He knows it will be a challenge once again.
“Heritage Hall has the best back in the state (Barrett Travis) and they also have a great quarterback,” Coach Weber said. “The thing I can tell you for sure is our kids will get on that bus expecting to play hard and not be intimidated by anyone. These kids have a great deal of faith in their own ability and they play well together.”
While Coach Weber was excited about his team advancing, he was sad to hear about the loss by Elgin.
“Those coaches at Elgin are a class bunch of guys and I hated to hear they lost,” Weber said. “It’s tough to lose one like that after moving the ball well most of the game. They have something good going on there at Elgin and they will be back at it again next fall.”