SEMINOLE – Another postseason, another Seminole-Kingfisher matchup.
For the third consecutive season the Chieftains and the Yellowjackets will face each other in a 3A playoff game, this time in the second round on Friday at Chieftain Stadium in Seminole.
The Yellowjackets, the defending state champions, have won this matchup the last two years, each in the semifinals. Overall, they own a four-game winning streak over Seminole that dates back to 2006.
“They’re still the state champs to me,” Seminole head coach Mike Snyder said. “They’re the favorites, but they’re still the best team, in my opinion.”
Kingfisher finished second in District 3A-1 after losing to Heritage Hall 27-16 in week nine. But the Yellowjackets do have a 20-6 win over the Chieftains in a week six non-district game.
“I think the best thing we could take from that is we gave a good effort,” Snyder said. “They were better than us. What we’ve got to do is play as hard as we did last time. If we can just tackle a little better, we’ll be in good shape. Their running back is so good he caused us to miss a lot. If we can just hold him down, it’ll give us a chance.”
That running back is junior Nick Smith, who had touchdowns of four and 84 yards in that October win. Smith is among the state’s leaders with 1,311 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. However, Smith has also been battling persistent ankle injuries that cropped up again in last week’s 39-7 win over John Marshall in the first round of the playoffs.
“He’s dinged a little bit, but everybody gets healthy when they play Seminole,” Snyder said. “When they walk down that ramp, I’m sure 25 will be with them.”
After what Snyder described as a “lethargic” first quarter, the Chieftains rolled to a 35-7 win over Sulphur in their first round game last Friday. Senior quarterback Doc Harvey ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the win, giving him 723 yards on the ground and 1,289 yards through the air this season.
Harvey also had two interceptions from his free safety position on defense.
“Our quarterback kind of carries us,” Snyder said. “We put a lot on him. Defensively we played really well.”
Friday’s win followed the blueprint for how the Chieftains are winning this season. Where Seminole relied on an explosive offense in the past, it’s now a strong defense that is leading the way.
“Defensively we played really well,” Snyder said. “We’re better defensively than we are on offense. We have to kind of manage a game, try not to make a turnover and kind of win a ball game on the defensive side. It’s different than what we’ve been the last several years. We had been so potent on offense we could kind of do what we wanted, now we kind of have to pick and choose a little bit.”
The Chieftains are allowing 17.6 points per game on the season. Over their last four games, all wins, Seminole has allowed a total of 49 points.
The Yellowjackets have been even better on that side of the ball, allowing just over 160 yards and 11.3 points per contest. Friday’s game can be expected to go along much the same lines as the teams' first meeting in October, in which there were a total of 11 first downs.
Friday’s game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. The winner will meet the Roland-Checotah winner in next week’s quarterfinals.