Last season's opening games for Ardmore and Plainview were eye openers.
In Ardmore's case, the 2012 Tigers were handed a swift and uncomfortable welcome to varsity football, which happened to come in their biggest rivalry game. Ada's experience took control in a 35-14 blowout at Noble Stadium, one in which Ardmore had 20 new starters on the field.
Now, it's Ardmore with the experience edge rolling into Ada for the 90th meeting between the two teams.
"This team, I think we have something special," said Ardmore linebacker Jarred Hall, who was one of the first-time starters in last season's "Battle of the Cats." "Last year, we went in expecting a 'W' and came out with a loss. We thought we were gonna come in and just run 'em over and they demolished us."
Across town on the same August night last season, Plainview was getting the same treatment from Tuttle, who ran past the Indians for a 40-7 victory.
Plainview was in a simliar situation to Ardmore. While the Indians weren't in complete overhaul mode, they did have to plug in new starters at the skill positions, including quarterback Taber Jordan.
Odds are the senior and his classmates will fare better the second time around against Tuttle.
"They just got going early, caught fire early and kept going with it," Jordan said of Tuttle last season. "We've gone over film, gone over sets of what they like to run. I think we're more than ready to get out there and see what they're running.
"We know what we need to do at each position and we're just ready to play."
The opening wins were signs of things to come for the visitors. Tuttle carried the No. 1 ranking in 3A for most of the season before losing in the second round to Kingfisher, while Ada advanced all the way to the semifinals in 4A before losing its first and only game to Clinton.
This season? Tuttle is similar to Plainview, with key starters back at the skill positions (1,000-yard back Jesse Gregory), but also having to replace numerous starters on both sides of the ball.
"Even when we're preparing for an opponent, it's still about us," said Plainview coach Chris Berus, who is back calling defense for the Indians for the first time since 2010. "Yes, we've got to line up to their sets, we've got to defend their plays and we've got to block their fronts, but if we apply our rules and technique, we're gonna be fine.
"Tuttle's a great team, and that's why you schedule great competition."
As for Ada, the Cougars are replacing a three-year starter at quarterback (Wyatt Robson), an All-State receiver (Easton Pingleton) and return only three starters on offense. Robson (309 yards, 3 TDs) and Pingleton (two receiving TDs) terrorized the Ardmore secondary last season, but Ardmore has eight starters back on the defensive side and six back on offense. And those two are gone.
Even though it was at the beginning of a long season for Ardmore, the Ada loss stuck with the Tigers. Hall said it was all the players talked about at school.
Friday is a chance to erase that bad memory. Not just for Ardmore's players, but Plainview's as well.
"Each game, we thought about Ada," Hall said. "This year we worked hard, we have been working hard and we're ready for Ada."
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD