Even without a host spot in the state playoffs on the line, it would still be a heated contest when Healdton hosts Ringling on Friday night in a District A-4 showdown.


Even without a host spot in the state playoffs on the line, it would still be a heated contest when Healdton hosts Ringling on Friday night in a District A-4 showdown.

It’s a rivalry, and the stakes are high. Winner takes second place in the district and stays at home in Week 11, while the loser drops to third place and goes on the road.

“It wouldn’t matter if there was anything on the line, we’d still play,” Healdton coach David Bingman said. “It’s just one of those games that you love to play.”

Both coaches see the value in playing at home.

“This is a very important game,” Ringling coach Tracy Gandy said. “Obviously it means a lot because we’re so close in proximity, but we want to be at home in Week 11. That’s a big advantage. Lose, and you’re playing a higher seed on the road.”

Class A’s No. 8-ranked Ringling (5-2, 4-1 District A-4) has been on a roll as of late. The Blue Devils have won three straight by a combined score of 183-22.

“We’re excited about this team right now. We’re playing our best football of the season. Last week was our best performance of the season by far. It took a while to get some things ironed out, but we really like where we’re headed,” Gandy said.

And for the first time this season, Ringling will be playing with the same lineup as the week before, due to several injuries.

“We’ve really struggled with injuries this year,” Gandy said. “That hurt our growth as a team, because we haven’t had much continuity, but things are coming together.”

Healdton (6-2, 3-1) dropped a non-district contest to Wynnewood last week, but has won three of its last four games. And the Bulldogs want nothing more than to end a five-year losing streak against their rival.

“This team realizes what’s at stake. We’ve just got to execute. Have to stick to our gameplan and cut out the mistakes,” Bingman said. “We’ve got the ability to play with Ringling, just can’t make mistakes. They’ll make you pay for mistakes.”

The game will feature two of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the area.

Healdton goes as quarterback J.J. Montaie goes. The same can be said about Ringling with Tyler Shores.

Gandy’s biggest worry is Healdton’s speed.

“You have to contain their speed. Have to keep them in check and stay disciplined,” Gandy said. We want to make them play our game. We want to turn it into a bloodbath. Hit them hard and see if they like playing Ringling football.”

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Ringling at Healdton

  7:30 p.m. Friday night at Healdton
  Records: Ringling 5-2, 4-1 District A-4; Healdton 6-2, 3-1
  AP rankings: Ringling No. 8 in Class A