Shawnee’s success over the last three weeks of the regular season translated into a fourth-place finish in District 5A-3, and that translates into a first-round playoff berth for the Wolves.
With a 5-5 overall mark, Shawnee has a tough test to open the postseason as the Wolves travel to Tulsa East Central today to face Class 5A’s top-ranked Cardinals.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Cardinals, despite going undefeated through the regular season, were forced to forfeit four wins because of an Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association ruling on the use of an ineligible player.
This put East Central at 6-1 in 5A-4 play as the Cardinals’ win over district opponent Tulsa Central was one of those forfeited.
Shawnee’s last encounter with East Central was a semifinals loss in the 2005 postseason.
“We’ve got to play extremely well,” SHS head coach Billy Brown said of tonight’s contest. “They live on big plays and they’ve got good athletes. We’ve got to make them earn what they get.”
The Wolves will be minus three players tonight because of late-season injuries. Running back Dillion Dutton is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury, Brown said, while Gage Humphrey and Zach Hicklin will also be on the sideline tonight.
Humphrey, the Wolves’ leading tackler, and Hicklin, a two-way starting lineman, could possibly return to action next week, Brown said.
Shawnee’s road to Week 11 had a few bumps and sharp turns, but the Wolves — faced with a must-win situation over their last three weeks of play — delivered in spades. Shawnee fell to 1-3 in the district after losing to Tulsa Kelley in Week 7, and the Wolves would have to win their last three contests in order to finish as 5A-3’s fourth-place team.
The Wolves picked up a 49-30 win at Durant in Week 8, and then put up back-to-back wins at home over Tulsa Hale (36-6) and Noble (58-34) to come out at 4-3.
The Week 10 brawl between Shawnee and Noble was for the rights to the fourth and final playoff berth.
East Central, after giving up the four wins, had slim wins over Coweta (35-28) and Claremore (20-19) before rolling off a four-game combined score of 170-53 over 5A-4 opponents Grove, Collinsville, Tahlequah and Pryor.