McALESTER — When the McAlester Buffaloes faced the winless Nathan Hale Rangers in Week 6, the Buffs played a team that never looked like it actually thought it could win.
The Durant Lions have won just one game this season, but when the Buffs welcome them to Hook Eales Stadium tonight, they know the Lions will come in planning to knock off the 5-1 Buffs.
“Any time we play Durant, they’re kind of our rivals, now that we don’t play Ada,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Tuesday.
“They never quit. They always continue to play hard, and I think that says a lot about Coach (Byron) Cordell and the program.”
The Lions are currently 1-5 overall, 0-3 in the district. Their one win and three of their losses have been by five points or fewer.
“This team has lost a lot of really close games,” Pratt said. “It’s going to be something where our players are going to have to come in and play well.”
Pratt said the Lions will likely attack the Buffs in the air, relying on senior quarterback Zac Cater. Cater started at quarterback last year, when the Buffs went into Durant and won, 41-14.
Cater has already completed 19 touchdown passes in just six games this season, throwing at least four in four different games. Receiver Brandon Maynard has been his biggest target, catching eight, followed by Skye Lowe with five and Layton Tubbs with four.
“They chunk it everywhere, and their quarterback probably has close to 2,000 yards passing this year,” Pratt said. “He threw for 400 last week, he threw for 400 against Skiatook, he threw for 400 against Ada, and they chunk it around anywhere. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them throw it 50, 60, times, because their running has not been something that they really try to hang their hat on.”