McALESTER — Though the McAlester Buffaloes will in all likelihood get at least one playoff game at Hook Eales Stadium, they’ll play their last home game of the regular season tonight against the Skiatook Bulldogs.
“We’re looking to be great tacklers and try to play the plays and the formations that they give us, and try to do like we did last week and try to shut down a pretty potent offense,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Wednesday.
“Last year we went up to Skiatook after we got beat by Bishop Kelley, and we were a little flat and didn’t play very well. I anticipate, being it’s Senior Night, it’s probably going to be kind of emotional for some of these guys. They’re going to really want to make a showing of our last game.”
Much like the Buffs, the Bulldogs are a run-based offense that operates out of the spread and throws just often enough to keep defenses from keying on their running backs, according to Skiatook coach Vance Miller. Junior running back Kyle McLaughlin has been the Bulldogs’ biggest offensive playmaker, having already rushed for approximately 1,500 yards.
“He’s a hard runner,” Miller said of McLaughlin. “He has good vision and he just gets it done.”
Miller said McLaughlin has been equally adept at running up the middle and getting around the edge. McLaughlin has benefited from a strong offensive line making holes for him, with sophomore center Cody Evans leading the way.
“He does a lot for us as far as making calls and anchoring that thing down,” Miller said of Evans.
“Offensive line is doing a great job up front as far as blocking.”
Though McLaughlin has been a force for the Bulldogs, sophomore quarterback Stephen Upton has still had to manage games. Miller said Upton is Skiatook’s third quarterback this season.