BROKEN BOW - Third-ranked Broken Bow is nothing new for Miami this season.
The Wardogs battle the 9-1 and third-ranked Savages Friday in a first-round Class 4A playoff game - but they've already faced three teams that are 9-1 (Wagoner, Grove and Carthage, Mo.) and half of the teams on the regular-season schedule are heading into the playoffs.
“They are good on both sides of the football and have very talented athletes,” Miami head coach Chris Risenhoover said. “It's a great challenge because Broken Bow has a lot of tradition. It's an exciting time.”
This marks the second straight year Miami has made the 270-plus mile jaunt to the far southeast corner of Oklahoma to begin post-season play.
The Savages coasted to a 41-7 victory over MHS in last year's meeting. And the bulk of that cast returns.
But Risenhoover thinks his Wardogs - in the midst of a three-game losing streak - might be able to pull off the upset.
“I've been talking to coaches and they say the only way beat Broken Bow is to be a pretty good passing team,” he said. “It's difficult to just line up and run the ball down their throats. If you look at their stats, that is evident. They allow less than 100 yards rushing per game.
“To move the ball and score points, you have to be a fairly adequate passing team. We feel we fill that bill.”
The Wardogs have thrown for 1,532 yards, completing 109 of 180 passes with 20 touchdowns countering nine interceptions.
Grant Longcrier accumulated the bulk of the Wardogs' passing totals, completing 94 of 157 passes for 1,337 yards and 18 touchdowns. He's been intercepted seven times.
Trent Turner, who got the start in last week's regular season finale with Oologah, is 14 of 22 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Risenhoover didn't say Wednesday just who would get the start on Friday - if he would stick with Turner, who started against Oologah, or Longcrier.
“I told the kids we saw the same results (against Oologah) we had with Grant - we just made some mistakes throwing the ball and interceptions at crucial times. They are both different quarterbacks but they both present the same type thing. Both are excellent runners, one is better inside and the other provides a little more quickness and elusiveness.
“They both are going to play. Its just a simple fact, ‘if you get us in the end zone, you are going to stay in.' They both what to be the quarterback.”
On the ground, Miami has 1,932 yards with 12 different players touching the ball at least once.
Longcrier is the leading runner with 673 yards and five touchdowns. Turner has chipped in with 213 yards and a pair of scores.
Turner is MHS' leading receiver with 33 catches for 471 yards and six touchdowns. Nick Henson has 20 receptions for 319 yards and two TDs.
“They are talented,” Werner said. “They've got a lot of good skill kids and do a lot of stuff offensively. There's a lot to prepare for. Miami has one of the better offenses we've seen this year.”
Broken Bow went 7-0 in District 4A-8, wrapping things up with a 42-7 romp over Fort Gibson last Friday.
The Savages' lone loss came at the hands of Class 5A Tulsa East Central.
“We have played pretty well all year,” said Broken Bow head coach Greg Werner. “We've had to overcome a few injuries here and there. Our quarterback (Jody Shomo) has been hurt for about three games and he's been gimpy. Our starting tailback and linebacker (Mitchell Bailey) has been down with a hip flexor. We've been hit with some injuries, but that's a part of football.”
Bailey, a 5-8, 195-pound junior who missed the Fort Gibson game, is averaging 8.74 yards per carry. He's got 708 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Savages' leading rusher has been Albert Wright. The 5-9, 160-pound Wright has 804 yards on 124 carries with nine TDs.
Shomo, who suffered a high ankle sprain on Oct. 5 but played on, has completed 49 of 87 passes for 759 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's been intercepted just twice.
He's also rushed for 300 yards and three scores.
The Wardogs won't have to cope with tailback Gregory King, who had 173 yards and two scores - he's graduated.
But Shomo and Wright each had a TD for Broken Bow, which netted 259 yards on the ground and an additional 84 yards as Shomo completed 4 of 5 passes.
The Wardogs were limited to 95 yards rushing and 207 yards total.
Friday's winner moves on to tackle either Weatherford or Mannford in the second round.