McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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November 29, 2013

Know Your Foe: Buffs face Highlanders in semis

(Continued)

McALESTER —

“They have some really good athletes and some really skilled position-players, and they’re good up front,” Pratt said of MacArthur.

“Lawton’s going to run the football, but they’re also going to throw it. They’re no-huddle and they’re fast, so they like to run as many plays as possible.”

Through 12 games MacArthur has scored 448 points, which ranks the Highlanders fourth in 5A in scoring but third out of the four teams left in the playoffs. MacArthur has given up 280 points this season, ranking the Highlanders 12th in 5A.

MacArthur allowed 246 points during the regular season, roughly the same as Bishop Kelley. McAlester didn’t need four quarters from its starters to beat Bishop Kelley 38-10 on Oct. 25, suggesting the Buffs should at least have opportunities to move the ball against the Highlanders.

“Right now we have a lot of options,” Pratt said. “As long as we continue to play well and Dalton (Wood) continues to distribute the ball, we’ll probably continue to score points.

“Offensively, we don’t really go into a game thinking we’re going to give somebody the ball this many times. It’s kind of take what you give us and just make plays, and right now we’ve made several.”

With 631 points so far, McAlester has scored far and away the most points in 5A. McAlester’s 48-point win against East Central in the first round has been the most lopsided win in the playoffs so far, and its 39-point win against Carl Albert in the quarter-finals was the second-most.

With mental preparation so essential to that level of offensive execution, Pratt said his biggest challenge late in the season is to keep the Buffs focused and energized at practice.

“As a coach, you’re always concerned about your kids coming in flat,” Pratt said. “I don’t want to look back on this year and think I blew it because I didn’t keep us focused.”

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