By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Chisholm is the higher seed with the better record and the better ranking, but there will be only one team opening its title defense in the first round of the 2A postseason today at Chisholm, and it won’t be the eighth-ranked Longhorns.
Chisholm makes its return to the playoffs after an 11-year absence at 7:30 p.m. against defending 2A state champion Oklahoma Christian School, which despite graduating quarterback Austin Brooks finished 7-3 in 2013 and earned the third seed in an unforgiving district 2A-2.
What does that mean for Chisholm, with a roster that includes exactly zero games of postseason experience, going against a team that not only has taken the playoff test, but passed it?
Not much, apparently.
“I don’t think that means a whole lot,” said Chisholm head coach Joey Reinart. “We know they’re a really, really, really good team, and we’re going to have to play one of our best games of the year to get it done. The good thing is we’re at home. It’s comfortable to us. We play well here.”
Reinart said he hasn’t had to deflate the playoff hype from his players much, either. Turner Reed, one of seven seniors enjoying the first winning season and playoff trip of their high school football careers, said that while the week of preparation for one of the team’s stiffest on-paper challenges has been “intense”, the team’s demeanor hasn’t been notably altered on the eve of its first postseason game.
“This is our best team in what seems like forever, and even though they’re defending champs, and they’re the third seed in their division despite having (top-ranked) Millwood in it, I still think we have a pretty solid chance at taking them,” said Reed, who has a team-high 8.5 of Chisholm’s 22.5 sacks.
Reed is an anchor on a Chisholm defensive unit that, while the Longhorn offense has piled up an average of almost 31 points per game, has been the primary catalyst to a season that’s a win away from the school’s best on record.
Chisholm’s 33-8 win in its regular season finale win against 2A-1 fourth seed Tonkawa was the fourth straight game holding opponents to 13 points or fewer, and only once — a season-opening, 36-22 win against Oklahoma Bible Academy — have the Longhorns surrendered more than 21.
The Saints do have playmakers on offense, but the riddle will be determining which one to stop.
They have six players who have rushed for at least 100 yards, five who’ve scored a rushing touchdown, and four who have at least 20 receptions. The same balanced OCS spread offense that has rushed for 1,982 yards and passed for 1,611 also has an obvious pair of stalwarts in junior receiver Connor Sikes (29 catches, 670 yards, 11 touchdowns) and junior tailback Luke Frankfurt (116 carries, 925 yards, 17 TDs).
“You can’t just say ‘We’re gonna key on this guy,’ or ‘We’re gonna stop this guy,’” Reinart said. “We’ve got to just play defense the way we’re supposed to play defense, and make sure that your responsibility is taken care of, and if someone gets in your space, you’ve got to make a secure tackle. It’s difficult. What they do is really difficult, but I think our athletic ability is better than it has been the last few years, and so is our ability to handle those things.”
“Coach (Jim) Coleman, he’s really solid with his play calls, and I think he’s gonna guide us the right way this week,” Reed said.