McALESTER — The McAlester Buffaloes started their 2013 season in Stillwater, and they’ll end it in Stillwater.
The Buffs go for the gold ball in the 5A state championship Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium at Oklahoma State University at 7 p.m.
“It’s a very special time,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Dec. 3.
“It just seems like a never-ending process, but I was sitting here thinking today, and I’m sure glad I’m doing it.”
To win a title, the Buffs will have to beat the Guthrie Bluejays. A 13-0 team that’s been ranked first in its class all season, Guthrie won District 5A-2, then won two of its three playoff games by at least 30 points.
Of McAlester’s three playoff opponents so far, the Bluejays’ offense most resembles the Carl Albert Titans — a slow, methodical, ground-based attack designed to simultaneously put up points and limit opposing possessions. Senior running back Kai Callins has been at the forefront of this offense, rushing for 1,500 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.
Callins earned MVP honors as a sophomore at the 2011 state championship — the same year Guthrie knocked off McAlester in the semifinals.
McAlester running back Jarome Smith has put up more yards on fewer carries than Callins, but the Bluejays have split their running plays between Callins and junior Idae Alexander this season.
Despite just one carry fewer than Callins, Alexander has rushed for 1,300 yards and 23 touchdowns of his own.
“They have a couple of really good running backs,” Pratt said.
“They’re 75 percent run.”
If the Buffs can stop the run, they’ll still have to worry about Guthrie’s passing game. Senior quarterback Reed Roberts has completed 70 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 1,330 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Roberts also has three rushing touchdowns and even one receiving touchdown.