MIAMI — The “playoffs” start for Miami at Tulsa McLain Friday, Oct. 12.
If the Wardogs want to entertain thoughts of making post-season play, they need a road win Friday night as well as the final three games.
“This could be turning point of the whole season,” Miami head coach Zach Gardner said. “We have to win out to even entertain the thoughts of the playoffs. Our goal, as it has been all long as a staff, is to make the (Nov. 2) Bristow game, the dedication game of the statue of Steve Owens, mean something and it not just be the last game of the year.”
The Wardogs won two of their first three games, but have struggled the last three weeks, falling to Grove, Catoosa and Wagoner in 4A-3 play.
Just like Miami, McLain is 2-4 and winless in the district.
The Titans were crushed 52-6 by Class 2A No. 6 Tulsa Victory Christian in the opener then beat Tulsa Central and 5A but winless Tulsa Rogers.
Since then, they’ve been on the losing end against Bristow, Cleveland and Oologah.
“The records are the same right now,” Gardner said. “They’ve won a couple non-district games that’s kinda how we’re setting. If we really want to turn things around, now is when it matters.
“We weren’t expected to win against Wagoner or Catoosa, but our main expectation is to win this week.”
Following the game with McLain, Miami hosts Oologah on Thursday, Oct. 18, travels to Cleveland on Friday, Oct. 26, then hosts 4A No. 6 Bristow.
The Pirates (6-0, 3-0) still have games with Grove, Wagoner and Catoosa before rolling into Miami.
Cleveland (4-2, 1-2) goes down the stretch with Catoosa, Grove, MHS and Wagoner.
McLain is coming off a 38-6 loss to Oologah, which has won two of its last three after starting out 0-3.
The Mustangs carried a 17-0 lead into the half then added three more TDs in the second half.
Zac Wright had two touchdowns for Oologah; a 43-yard run in the first quarter then caught a 57-yard scoring strike from Brandon Salt.
The Mustangs also benefitted from a 70-yard interception return by Dominique Ruff.
McLain’s lone score came on a 49-yard pass from Donquanyay Lucas to Christian Holdman late in the game.
McLain notched a 49-30 win over the Wardogs last season in a game that also was played at Melvin Driver Stadium.
A 21-20 decision over the Titans was Miami’s only win in 2016.
“We hope we can to a good job this week,” Gardner said. “At least that is how we’ve prepared. The kids seem pretty focused. Hope it carries over onto the field.”
Wagoner got an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game and continued to pull away in its 47-6 win over Miami.
The Dogs’ points came when Jordon Freeman caught a 3-yard TD strike from Gavin Payton with 6:25 left in the game.
“Other than yesterday (during Tuesday’s torrential rain), we’ve had pretty good preparation this week and the kids are all in,” Gardner said.