By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
In its last regular season home game, No. 9 Chisholm can guarantee at least one more home contest in the playoffs with a win at 7:30 p.m. against Tonkawa.
Maybe even two.
Chisholm already has clinched its first playoff berth since 2002, wrapping up its spot in the bracket with a 34-13 win against Newkirk last week that eliminated the Tigers and locked the top four teams in District 2A-1 into the postseason.
But a Friday win would not only ensure a Chisholm (8-1, 4-1) home game to start the 2013 playoffs, it likely would keep the Longhorns in Enid for the first two playoff rounds if Alva can pull an upset over 2A-1 leader Hennessey tonight.
Wins by Chisholm and Alva would force a three-way tie atop the district, with the Longhorns, Goldbugs and Hennessey deadlocked at 5-1 against 2A-1 competition. In a three-way tie, the decision would come to district points under the Arkansas Plan, where Chisholm would need only beat Tonkawa by 15 or more points to ensure the top spot. The Longhorns currently have 52 points in district margin, nine off the pace of Hennessey’s 61, and just ahead of Alva’s 48.
An Alva win would decrease Hennessey’s total by the final margin and increase Alva’s by the same number, but a team’s district points under the Arkansas Plan can’t move more than 15 points in a given week, meaning a 15-point Chisholm win, coupled with an Alva victory against Hennessey, would earn the Longhorns the 2A-1 title and two home playoff games.
That’s all a little too complicated for the Longhorns to worry about for now, said Chisholm head coach Joey Reinart.
“We’re just worried about (tonight),” said Reinart, now a week away from the first playoff game of his head coaching career. “Just making sure we put ourselves in the best possible opportunity to win the district, that’s our main focus. So from there … whatever happens from there on, just accept it and get after it.”
Still, playing in a playoff game, let alone hosting one, is something at least some of the class of 2012 didn’t see coming when in the dog days of one win in two seasons before a 5-5 junior campaign.
“We had seven freshmen on the field at the same time (during an 0-10 season in 2009), so there was hope, we were just all too young,” said senior lineman Jarrett Webb. “Before, it was all seniors that started (in those spots), and we lost them all. We had to start over. We had to rebuild.”
“I didn’t ever think (Chisholm would be) going to the playoffs until after I was out of high school,” said senior running back Bryce Stewart. “After junior year, going 5-5 and finally starting to show as a football team, I realized we had a chance.”
Today’s chance comes against a Tonkawa team that, after a hot start in district play, has wilted against the cream of the 2A-1 crop. In their past two outings, the Buccaneers (5-3, 3-2) have been outscored more than four-to-one in a 34-6 loss to Alva and a 52-15 defeat against Hennessey. The two losses have given the Bucs a negative scoring margin on the season, totaling 118 points (49th among 58 2A teams) and letting down a defense that even after the two blowouts has surrendered only 155 (16th).
“They’re a really good defensive team,” Reinart said. “They create a lot of problems with their defensive penetration. They’re bigger than they have been in the past, and they’re using those guys to plug gaps … If you’re seeing the scores from the last couple of games, it looks like they’ve been struggling, but they’re still really good defensively.”
Tonkawa has won six of nine meetings between the two teams, including the past five matchups. With a solid offensive showing, Chisholm could score more against Tonkawa on Friday than it had against Bucs in five losses since 2000 combined, a stretch that saw the Longhorns outscored 169-26.�