McALESTER — The McAlester Buffaloes don’t have any more easy games left on their schedule. No more varsity players resting in the fourth quarter, and probably no more 11-touchdown offensive explosions that make life easy for the defense.
To win a state championship, the third-ranked Buffs will have to beat three of the best teams in 5A. They’ll face the Carl Albert Titans, the defending state champions from Midwest City and a team ranked second in 5A, tonight at Hook Eales Stadium.
“This is probably one of the best football games played here in years, and it’s going to be a big game,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Tuesday.
“If you can’t get ready for this one, you have some issues. I think that our kids will be ready to play, and I think we’ll go out there and do a really good job.”
Senior quarterback Steve Thompson has been the Titans’ biggest offensive playmaker this season. Through 11 games this season he’s racked up more than 2,500 all-purpose offensive yards, rushing for 21 touchdowns and throwing for 15 more.
He’s completed 52 percent of this season and only thrown five interceptions in 150 attempts.
“They’re a really, really good football team, and he’s probably one of the top five players in the state, if not the best player in the state,” Pratt said of Thompson. “He’s one of those guys that’s just a great football player, and he’s definitely who we’re going to have to stop.”
Junior Dillon Lohr has been Thompson’s best receiver. Though he’s caught just 24 passes, Lohr’s turned them into 542 yards — an average of 22.6 yards per reception — and five touchdowns.
Carl Albert also has a quality running back in Chantz Woodbury. Through 11 games Woodbury has averaged 8.0 yards per carry and has eight rushing touchdowns.