WELCH - It's déjà vu all over again for the Welch Wildcats.
They're facing the same Dewar Dragons team they lost to in the first round a year ago - and the cast is virtually the same.
“It's basically the same team we played last year,” Welch head coach Craig Hood said. “He's got all but one of his starters back. They are on a roll right now.”
The second-ranked Dragons put the wraps on an unbeaten regular season by blasting Cashion 42-27 in a game that decided the B-4 championship.
Dewar head coach Josh Been thinks the lower half of the bracket might be a little easier road to the finals.
“It gives us an easier path to get there,” Been said. “The other route puts (No. 1) Morrison, (No. 4) Cashion and (No. 5) Pond Creek all over there together.”
The Dragons and No. 3 Fox are in the bottom half of the bracket.with Timberlake, Porter, Davenport, Laverne and Burns Flat-Dill City.
The top half has Morrison, Cashion, Pond Creek-Hunter, Tipton, Gans, Weleetka, Mountain View-Gotebo and Garber.
They've outscored the opposition 487-67, giving them the third most prolific offense in Oklahoma eight-man football.
Only Morrison (520) and Cashion (489) have scored more.
“They are very impressive on both sides of the ball with all those returning starters,” Hood said. “(Ronnell) Lewis is their main threat. He's definitely a D1 prospect.”
Lewis had four touchdowns in the win over Cashion, including an 84-yard run for the Dragons' first score and a 64-yard romp in the fourth quarter to cap things off.
In between, the 6-3, 225-pound Lewis caught touchdown passes of 44 and 53 yards.
“He's a dandy,” Dewar head coach Josh Been said. “We get a lot of really good athletes, but he's the first one that I have had who falls in that category, just because he's blessed with some size. He's a legit 4.5-4.6 kid who has the potential to get a little faster. “
Lewis has gained around 1,900 yards on the season. Going into the Cashion game, Lewis was averaging 18.9 yards per carry.
“He is a good hard working kid,” Been said. “He had some big plays the other night.”
This is the fourth straight year the Cats have got to the playoffs - but each time it's been “one and done.”
The Wildcats have shaken the mid-season doldrums that saw them drop three straight to Porter, Gans and Morrison.
They've bounced back to win three straight by a 142-32 margin, including a 48-0 thrashing of Cave Springs last Friday.
The last time they got past the first round was 2000, when they nipped Covington-Douglas 26-24 only to fall to Medford 23-12 the following week.