It also seems to be a pretty simple playoff scenario. Win at least two of the last three and probably make the playoffs or fail to do that and go home early.
It all begins Friday night when Lawton MacArthur comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
“You don’t have to tell them that,” AHS head coach Lyn Hepner said. They know we have to win two of the next to have a chance to be in the playoffs. “I think they are anxious to get to it. They seem a little antsy like let’s bring it on.”
There’s a different face but not a different name that is directing the Lawton MacArthur football program. Long time and highly successful coach Ernie Manning retired from coaching. He left the reigns to his son Brett Manning.
The Highlanders love to throw the football. Junior quarterback Dylan Warner, a gifted runner and passer, likes to go to wide out Tuswani Copeland (6-0, 160, Sr.), a speedy receiver considered to be a division I prospect.
“They are probably more dedicated to the spread offense and the short passing game than anyone we see,” Hepner said. “They do the jail break screens and the bubble screens but they are not afraid to throw it down field either. They are a spread zone read team in the running game.”
Defensively the Highlanders have changed from the odd stack to a 4-3, 4-2 alignment.
Keys to victory
“We put it on the offensive line and fullbacks on offense,” Hepner said. “If we are going to control the ball and keep the ball away from their offense, we (the blockers) need to create some holes and keep our feet moving. We have guys that can run and get yards after contact.”
Fourth quarter woes
It’s reasonable to believe the Bulldogs will have to win these games in the fourth quarter because there probably won’t be any blow out victories. The fourth quarter has not been kind to Altus this season.
The Bulldogs have been outscored 71-26 in the fourth period. and 49-0 in their four losses.
Hepner said he doesn’t really bring that up to the players.
“Not specifically,” Hepner said.“Our theme was finish. Then it dawned on me instead of looking at the end, let’s look at each play one at a time. Make sure it’s like steps. Maybe we were leaving out a few steps looking at the end. “It’s like let’s take one play at a time and then go on to the next play.”
Bulldog notes: Altus has still not yielded a point in the first half of any of the seven games.
It went quietly unnoticed, but the Bulldog defense broke a school record against Northwest last week. They held the Knights to a minus 20 yards rushing. The previous record was minus 19 yards in 2005 against Oklahoma City John Marshall and Duncan in 2001.
The next three weeks will obviously be the telling point as far as the playoffs are concerned. It’s inevitable that El Reno and Duncan will meet each other for the district title in the final week of the season. Both are 4-0 in the district and both play Northwest and Oklahoma City Western Heights. Both will be massive favorites in those games.
Altus, MacArthur, Chickasha and Deer Creek are all 2-2 on the season and will fight it out for the final two playoff spots. All four of those teams will meet each other in the final three weeks of the season.
It appears if the Bulldogs make the playoffs they will have to go on the road for a first round game. A third place finish would probably send them to Midwest City Carl Albert. A fourth place finish would send them to Shawnee.
Twenty seven seniors will play their last game at home.