OOLOGAH - Miami is facing a “must win situation here Friday night when the Wardogs battle Oologah.
But it's not that type of “must win situation for the Wardogs. This is more about travel arrangements.
“We're in the playoffs, but we definitely don't want to travel down to Broken Bow again, Miami head coach Chris Risenhoover said.
The fourth-place finisher likely will get to go to Broken Bow for a first-round clash with the fourth-ranked Savages.
Broken Bow rolled to a 41-7 victory over MHS in a first-round game last year.
The scenario was created by Grove's 34-20 victory over the Wardogs last Thursday.
The second-ranked Ridgerunners and No. 3 Wagoner - who square off Friday at Grove - are both 5-0. Miami and Oologah are third and fourth at 4-1 and 3-2, respectively.
“That is a long trip and they (the Savages) have an excellent team again, Risenhoover said. “I think we would fare better than we did last year. This football team has a lot of grit. We aren't going to quit. That is a trip we don't want to take. We want to finish as high as we can.
Should the Wardogs beat Oologah and Grove bump off Wagoner, the Nov. 2 Miami-Wagoner game would likely be to determine second place.
“That is the scenario we're hoping for - that we go down and win this game then Grove does us a favor and gets a win over Wagoner, Risenhoover said.
Oologah's losses have been against the two frontrunners, but the Mustangs have blown out Tulsa Webster, Collinsville and Pryor along the way.
They smashed winless Pryor 35-14 last Thursday.
What's scary is that the Mustangs averaged about 453 yards per game over the last four weeks, getting 450 yards against Grove (the lone loss in the stretch), 465 against Pryor, 500 against Webster and around 400 against Collinsville.
“We've put together four good games there, said Schovanec, who won 43 games through his first four seasons but is 8-11 the past two seasons. “We had big hopes this year, but we've been decimated with injuries. We're starting a bunch of sophomores because we've lost five starters for the season.
“They are playing very well, Risenhoover said. “We know what type of skill kids they have. We've seen the quarterback (junior Jordan Barrett) the last two years and the Swindell kid (senior Brett Swindell) at running back is as good as any in the district. They have another one playing as well as Swindell (junior fullback John Jarred) and the wide receiver, No. 14 (Colten Barnes) is good. They can be scary.
Barrett has completed 57 of 128 passes for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns. He's been intercepted eight times.
“He's got a very strong arm, Risenhoover said. “He's an experienced kid. He's 6-3, so even though he doesn't look like a flier on the field, he's eating up a lot of ground with each stride.
“He struggled early with the rest of us, Schovanec said. He was pressing. He is starting to play like we thought he could.
The Mustangs returned nine starters. Both graduation losses came on the offensive line.
“We just never seemed to get the right fit up front, Schovanec said. “We're starting to block a little better, which is helping our skill kids.
While Oologah netted 450 against Grove, the Wardogs finished with 440 - they're averaging 363.4 yards per game.
“When we get 440 on offense and are up in the 30- or 40-point range, you expect to win - but that was the breaks, Risenhoover said. “I could feel it during the game that we getting lot accomplished. I am kinda kicking myself for maybe not pulling out a gadget (play) here or there and kick myself for getting down one possession.
“I wish I had used Seth Rhodes to kick one or had stayed up inside the box and let Tye (running back Tye Turley) do his work. I didn't call my best game. We had couple drops that were critical, too.
Turley continued his stellar play against Grove. He had another personal best performance, netting 186 yards on 19 carries. However, he failed to reach the end zone and carried the ball only twice in the third quarter when the Ridgerunners took charge.
On the season, Turley has 815 yards - an average of 7.15 yards per carry - and nine touchdowns.
“As good as Miami is offensively, we think Miami is playing as good of defense as we've seen in a while, Schovanec said. “It's no disrespect to those other teams, but I feel Miami is playing as good of defense as we've seen in a while.
The Wardogs broke out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter of last year's game, then coasted to a 35-20 victory, just their second in seven meetings.
“The last couple years, they've jumped on us early, then we'd settle down and play, Schovanec said. “We just can't afford to do that. We have to give ourselves a chance.