McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local Sports

September 27, 2013

Know Your Foe: Buffs head to Noble for district-opener

McALESTER — Winning a district means hosting the first two rounds of the playoffs. And even before the season started, Buffs coach Bryan Pratt listed winning the district among the team’s goals.

The Buffs’ path to a district title starts tonight, when the Buffs head to Noble to take on the Bears.

“These are the ones that really matter,” Pratt said Wednesday.

“With some of the teams that we have to play, you can’t afford to give one up that you should win. And this is a game that we definitely should go out and take care of business and win.”

The Buffs face a 2-1 Bears team coming off a 35-34 loss to El Reno in Week 3. The Bears came within a missed extra point in overtime last week of starting the season 3-0.

“They’ve got some good, hard-nosed kids that just take care of business, and that’s what they’re going to come in and try to do,” Pratt said. “I would assume they’re going to try to shorten the game as much as possible. They can’t run with us.”

Of the Bears’ two wins, one came against Tecumseh, a 4A team, and the other came against Western Heights, a 5A team that lost its first three games by an average of 40 points.

“Our running game is probably one of our better assets, but we have more skill-position kids than we’ve had traditionally,” Bears coach Steve Barrett said.

“We’ve been able to move the ball. We’ve been pretty successful on offense.”

Senior Dakota Boxwell starts at running back for the Bears, having been a quarterback for the Bears his first three seasons. Boxwell lost the QB position this year to senior Cory Jennings.

“He’s completing 80 percent of his passes right now, so he’s done well passing, but he’s a very good runner, as far as a traditional space player (goes),” Barrett said of Jennings. Barrett compared Jennings to Buffs receiver Caden Pratt: “Good moves and extremely fast.”

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