Plainview has another fight on its hands tonight.


Plainview has another fight on its hands tonight.

The Indians (8-3) get their second week in a row of homefield advantage when Bethany (8-3) comes to town. Plainview is looking to advance past the second round for the first time since 2007, when they made the Class 2A semifinals.

It starts up front for Plainview, as the offensive line has plowed its way to nine consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games. Since being held to a paltry 88 against Sanger in week 2, the Indians have controlled the ground game. Junior running back Blake Campo has reaped the benefits with 1,497 yards and 19 TDs in 10 games.

In turn, the Indians’ passing attack has improved. Quarterback Chad Smith had a season-best 215 yards passing in last week’s 28-24 win against Blanchard, and the Indians are now comfortable through the air and on the ground.

“I’ve said since day 1 we’re as good as the guys up front,” Plainview coach Chris Berus said. “The offensive line play has a lot to do with chemistry. We had a brand new offensive tackle and center that were new at their positions.”

Plainview’s front five was the catalyst to the Indians’ district title this season. Four senior linemen — Paul Ray, Jeff Henry, Cohen McKenzie and Tyler Winnard — were rewarded on Thursday with All-District 3A-2 honors. The fifth, junior Christian Edmonds, is a converted tight end from a season ago.

They’ll be assigned a Bronchos’ defense, led by senior lineman Darren Davenport (6-foot-2, 240 pounds), that has pitched four shutouts this season. Bethany lost 32-29 in week 1 to Blanchard and went on to win seven straight before losing back-to-back games to No. 2 Heritage Hall and Newcastle to end the regular season.

“Our district was pretty tough. We had a chance in the fourth quarter to win both games,” Bethany coach Reagan Roof said. “Knowing we could play with Heritage Hall really helped us. Last week, we bounced back and had our most complete performance of the year.”

The Bronchos, with the unmistakable Indianapolis Colts horseshoe adorning their white helmets, have a balanced attack as well. Junior Ryan Claborn threw for 1,660 yards and 20 TDs and senior Devin Campbell rushed for 1,400-plus and 19 TDs in 10 games. Bethany, who finished third in District 3A-3 behind Heritage Hall and Newcastle, beat Bristow 38-21 last week.

The Indians respond with their own dual offense and a defense that hasn’t conceded much during its eight-game winning streak. Smith’s improvement has produced 1,300-plus yards of passing and 16 TDs, while Winnard was named the co-defensive MVP of 3A-2 along with Pauls Valley lineman Nick Crawford. Henry shared the outstanding offensive lineman award with Sulphur’s Spencer Kirkpatrick.

Winnard, also a left tackle, said the offensive line took time to jell, but has rounded into shape as the season has progressed.

“We work really well together,” Winnard said. “We always compete with each other in practice, in chutes. We try to beat each other to the linebackers.

“Our running backs have really good footwork, too. They do a good job of finding holes.”

Even with the offense producing more than 33 points a game during the Indians’ winning streak, Berus said the Indians didn’t execute as well as they could have last Friday. Plainview turned the ball over via an interception in the red zone, but made amends with two goal-line stands against Blanchard in the fourth quarter, the last one coming with 40 seconds to go.

Winning without your best. The cliche goes “When a team can win when it’s not playing it’s best, it’s the sign of a good team.” Berus had another take on the saying Monday.

“It’s the sign of a bunch of kids willing to fight their guts out,” he said.

NOTES: If Plainview wins, the Indians will play the winner of Seminole/Cascia Hall next week. A Cascia Hall victory would give Plainview the home game while a Seminole win sends Plainview on the road. ... Think kickers matter? Blanchard lost by four points and was 0-for-4 (two missed kicks, two failed two-point conversions) on PAT tries last week. Plainview’s Sam Waters was 4-for-4 on extra points. “You go 1-for-1,” Waters said of the kicking mentality. “You don’t worry about any other kicks.” ... Bethany’s starting kicker Cole Rinke suffered a torn ACL in week 1 against Blanchard.

Erik K. Horne
221-6522 

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Bethany at Plainview

¦  7:30 tonight at Indians Field
¦  Records: Bethany 8-3, Plainview 8-3
¦  AP Rankings: Plainview No. 7 in Class 3A (at end of regular season)
¦  Radio: KKAJ-FM 95.7