McALESTER — For all the wins and losses throughout the regular season, every football team in the playoffs has a record of 0-0.
The team that goes 4-0 will win a state championship, and the McAlester Buffaloes begin their playoffs tonight when they welcome the East Central Cardinals from Tulsa to Hook Eales Stadium.
The game is a rematch of the 2012 Class 5A semifinal, when East Central beat McAlester, 26-14.
“That’s definitely something that we’re looking forward to, getting a little bit of revenge,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Wednesday.
“They’re the team that made us go home last year, and we’ll make sure that we’re not going to be going home this year. The difference is we get to play them at home, and it’s a great place for us to play.”
The Cardinals come to town as the fourth-seed in District 5A-4. They went 4-6 overall and 4-3 in district play during the regular season.
Quarterback Trevon Cherry, who started last year at that position, has been the Cardinals’ biggest offensive weapon this season. Cherry ranks among the best QBs in the state according to stats available on the Tulsa World website, having thrown for 22 touchdowns, rushed for nine more and recorded more than 2,500 combined passing and rushing yards.
“When you bring pressure, you have to make sure you get to him,” Pratt said of Cherry. “And if you don’t bring pressure, you have to try to contain him as much as possible. Where he beats you is he gets into open space and is able to find receivers running around.”
Quantel Givens and D.C. Pitts have been Cherry’s biggest targets at wide receiver. Givens recorded 819 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns during the regular season, while Pitts has recorded 692 yards and nine TDs.
The Buffs’ inability to throw the ball led to their downfall in 2012. Starting quarterback Dalton Wood returned last week after a four-game absence, throwing four touchdown passes against Tulsa Memorial.