HS FOOTBALL: McAlester eager to begin playoffs against Glenpool

BROOKE YOUNG | For the News-CapitalThe No. 6 McAlester Buffaloes will begin their playoff journey with an opening round matchup at home versus Glenpool on Thursday.

Turn on the lights and grab some popcorn, because it’s time for the greatest show on turf.

Sixth-ranked McAlester (8-2, 5-2) is scheduled to host Glenpool (3-6, 2-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hook Eales Stadium in the first round of the Class 5A state football playoffs — which Buffs coach Forrest Mazey said is the time his team has been working toward all year.

“It’s pins and needles because it’s win or go home,” he said of the anticipation for the postseason.

Glenpool is coming off a dramatic 23-20 win against Sapulpa. The Warriors used a touchdown by Shawn McLaughlin, who powered through the defense at the goal line, to take a 17-14 lead.

Later in the game, the Warriors forced a fumble and scooped up the ball for a recovery to seal the win.

Mazey said Glenpool has been trending upward all season long, with a fresh face as head coach and strides being made all season.

“That’s kind of alarming going into the postseason,” Mazey said. “So they’re eager to prove their ground in the playoffs. They’re a dangerous team."

The Buffs, meanwhile, have been taking their offense to another level with each and every game. They’ve put up 99 points in their last two victories behind powerful playmakers like Erik McCarty — who has rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 23 scores in the regular season — and Gavin Johnson and Lleyton Bass — the top receiving threats with over 1,000 yards and five scores between them.

Quarterback play has also been essential for the Buffs, with junior Trent Boatright leading the way with 1,400 yards through the air with nine touchdowns. Freshman Caden Lesnau has also put up numbers when he fills in, including a 230 yard performance against Will Rogers last week.

But Mazey said that despite the way things have looked during the regular season, now is the time that the Buffs will have to clean up any miscues and mistakes and play a solid game from start to finish.

“For us, it’s just consistency with what we do,” Mazey said. “We’re not going to change what we do for anybody. We’ll tweak it and game plan for what they give us, but we’re always going to be us."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to play against the winner between Pryor and Will Roger on Nov. 20. Tickets will be available for pre-sale through the McAlester Athletics office. Cost will be $7, and number of tickets sold will be limited to 1,500 seats.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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