There is just a brief window of opportunity for celebration in the playoffs.
Southwest Covenant took home a big win over Sasakwa Friday 48-0 by mercy rule. The excitement and allure of winning a playoff game was present in the huddle after the game but it quickly went away by Monday.
The Patriots began preparing for their next opponent, Tyrone (8-2), the next day. As exciting as it is to win a playoff game, a better team awaits you next.
The Bobcats will play visitor to Southwest Covenant this Friday and that may not scare them.
Tyrone made a six-hour drive to Fox and demolished their first-round opponent 52-6. They were one of two teams in Class C to win on the road Friday. The Patriots know the Bobcats don’t fear playing on another team’s turf, but that doesn’t bother them.
“Not really,” coach Trey Cloud said on if they worried about Tyrone on the road. “I thought Tyrone was the better team coming in (against Fox). It was a close game at halftime and then the second half, they blew it open. It was a six-hour drive for them. That’s a long way to go and then to play on the road, that’s pretty impressive for sure.”
Unlike last week, Southwest Covenant expects a dog fight.
Both teams are known for their physicality on the gridiron. The key to winning, Cloud says, is to stay focused.
“They’re really physical,” he said. “They play hard-nosed football, straight downhill football. We’re going to have to be disciplined on our assignments offensively and defensively to hopefully get numbers and make the best read when we can.”
This Tyrone team has seen some of the best eight-man football has to offer.
Their district includes powerhouses such as Buffalo and Pond Creek-Hunter. The Bobcats lost to both of those teams 44-0 and 50-40, respectively, the only two losses they’ve suffered all season.
On the other end of the spectrum, Southwest Covenant hasn’t lost a game yet and their closest outing was a 24-point victory over Coyle. This could be the Patriots’ first time they’ve flirted with adversity.
“I think we’ll be okay,” said Cloud. “Without being there it’s kind of hard. One thing I tell them is you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low. You’ve got to grind it out. It doesn’t matter if you’re up by three touchdowns or you’re down by three touchdowns, you can score quick and they know that.”
The week prior for Southwest Covenant didn’t provide many mistakes on the field. The quick departure of Cole Shaw (ankle) early in the game caused some confusion for the team. Maintaining their composure in moments like those will be crucial.
“Defensively, we were playing with confusion at first because we lost Cole,” Cloud said. “The number one thing I told them is, you don’t know who’s going to go down. You’ve got to be prepared to go, the next person has got to be prepared to go.”
Cloud said his team will need to continue their hot streak heading into the game.
“Last week, we got off to a great start and we’ve got to do the same thing,” he said. “But, if something goes wrong or something does happen, we can’t get too high or too low. We’ve got to be level headed in that way.”
The Patriots will show up to Taylor Park on Friday with an expectation to take care of business.
“They’re coming to play,” Cloud said. “I expect that to be a pretty good game. We’re definitely trying to prepare for that.”