AFTON — Patience may be a critical factor for the Afton Eagles Friday night when they host Minco in a Class A quarterfinal game.
Over their final eight contests, the second-ranked Eagles have scored 12 times on the first play of a drive, 15 times on a second snap and they’ve had nine three-play drives.
The longest during that span was 12 plays — last week in a 32-30 decision over Cashion.
“We had decent ball control last week at times,” head coach Zach Gardner said. “We’re used to going two or three plays and score. Now we might have to grind it out a little bit more.”
Minco, ranked third in the final Associated Press Oklahoma high school football poll, enters Friday’s clash with an 11-1 record.
The lone blemish was a 47-0 loss to 2A No. 2 Chisholm in Week 7.
Minco rocked 14th-ranked Cordell 62-12.
“They are definitely a powerhouse football team … they have a see-if-you-can-stop-us kind of attack,” Gardner said. “They have a good quarterback and a good running back. They both run the ball really well. They are not necessarily a passing team like we saw last week. It’s more smash mouth football.”
Running back Tucker Halstead, a 5-10, 185-pound senior, has 1,329 yards and 23 touchdowns on 159 carries.
Senior quarterback Shannon Williams (5-8, 165) has chipped in with 852 yards and 10 TDs on 129 attempts. He also has completed 65 of 129 passes for 913 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Williams has been intercepted eight times.
A 59-yard catch-and-run by Gabe Mustain from Wil Amos provided the winning margin in the Eagles’ win over Cashion.
The Wildcats had gone up 30-26 with a touchdown and conversion in the third quarter.
Amos had a team-high 144 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.
Running back Gunner Hudson finished with 58 yards on nine tries with a touchdown.
Amos was 2 of 7 passing — but both went for touchdowns to Mustain.
“Turnovers are going to be huge. Penalties are going to be huge. The health of our team will be huge,” Gardner said, noting that besides the normal Week 12 bumps and bruises, there are no players who will miss the game due to injury.
“We stress to our kids that if they do the little things, good things can happen for us,” Gardner said. “That goes not only on the football field, but the decisions they make outside of school.”
The winner moves on to the semifinals, which will be played at a neutral site.