The Buffs are ready to defend their home field for one final time this season.
Top-ranked McAlester (11-0) will be hosting No. 7 Guthrie (10-1) in the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Class 5A state quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m., and coach Forrest Mazey said this is a matchup he’s been looking forward to for the Buffs.
“I did open my mouth, I said that was one team I wanted to play,” Mazey said. “I asked for it, and they’re coached well and do a good job. So I’m excited about it.”
The Bluejays are coming off a 40-0 win over Noble in the opening round of the playoffs, and Mazey said they play nearly the same type of football that McAlester does — making for an interesting matchup this week.
“Coach (Kelly) Beeby is a great coach. Like I told the kids, they’re eerily similar to us,” Mazey said. “Very, very similar. Tough, gritty kids. It’ll be a great matchup for our kids, it’ll be a formidable opponent coming to the Hook.”
The Bluejays are led by the run game of Isaiah Hammons, who carried the ball 31 times for 226 yards and a touchdown during last week’s game. Mazey said that rushing attack, combined with the arm of sophomore quarterback Hayden Calvert and a stingy defense, present a mirror attack that is all too familiar with the Buffs.
“Very similar to us…it’s like looking in the mirror. They’re going to do a good job of trying to run the football and pick their passes like we do,” he said. “That’s what high school football is about.”
But the Buffs will be ready, with its own run game led by Erik McCarty — who ran the ball 11 times for 147 yards and two scores last week — as well as the quarterback talents of Trent Boatright — 13-of-16 passing for 160 yards and four touchdowns.
That offensive effort will be combined with McAlester’s “Black Death Defense,” which has only allowed an average of 203 total yards per game and 10.7 points per game.
Mazey said between the hard work of his players and the coaching stuff, the Buffs are going to come prepared for the game on Friday — and they all understand what is at stake.
“They know what time it is. It’s win or check your stuff in. They understand the urgency of things,” he said. “You’ve got two choices: you either get it done or you don’t.”
And no matter the result, this will be the last game played at Hook Eales Stadium this season. Mazey wanted to make sure fans understood this would be the last home game of the year, and made a plea to the McAlester faithful to show up in droves to support the Buffs.
“Don’t miss anything with these young men. It’s a good, fun group to watch. They play hard, they play for each other,” he said. “It’s something different. It’s very, very special.”
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.