Lost in the relief shared by the narrow winners of week 1 is the reflection — the regrouping — of the losing teams.
There were close calls up and down southern Oklahoma football's first night of games. Tishomingo and Kingston had games come down to the wire and went home defeated.
How will they respond?
Tishomingo learning to close
Coming off of a winless 2012, Tishomingo losing to Madill wouldn't have been a surprise in week 1.
But the Indians had other plans. Tishomingo led 21-7 going into the fourth quarter before giving up 19 unanswered points.
The final score for Madill — a 1-yard touchdown run by Colton Clement — came with 26 seconds left.
"We've got to learn how to finish, pay attention to details," first-year Tishomingo coach Nic Claborn said. "If we can do that, we've got a chance to be a pretty good football team.
"In all credit to them (Madill), they came out and won that football game."
Tishomingo led 14-7 at halftime, but the lead could have been greater. The Indians had a chance to go up two touchdowns before the break, but Madill stood its ground on a goalline stand.
Madill's second-half flurry adds up to another week of wait for Tish, still chasing that illusive win. But Claborn was encouraged by the effort of his team, particularly Devante Lawson.
Despite battling cramps, the senior quarterback/safety rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, and his 85-yard interception return touchdown put Tishomingo ahead 21-7 in the third quarter.
Tishomingo plays at Lone Grove on Friday.
"They played with great effort and that to me was why we were able to stay in the game and even lead with 26 seconds to go," Claborn said. "I tell the kids all the time 'it's a marathon not a sprint.' We've got to remember to fix the things that are subpar. That's how we're gonna become a great team."
Kingston looks to reverse turnover bug
If Kingston is going to beat Madill on Friday in their annual rivalry game, the Redskins can't give the ball away.
They did just that against Dickson in week 1, committing six turnovers — five interceptions and a lost fumble.
"My hat goes off to Dickson. They've got a good program going," Kingston coach John Caraway said. "Any time you're playing a good football team, you can't afford to make those mistakes."
Even with those mistakes, Kingston led 16-7 at halftime and had a pass deflected late with a chance to win.
"I'm very impressed with the kids. The effort was there, but we didn't execute," Caraway said. "Any time you turn the ball over six times in a football game, it limits your chance to win.
Page 2 of 2 - "With all the adversity that hit them, our kids kept fighting."
Even though Madill is coming off of a win, the Wildcats underperformed in their first game. So did Kingston with its turnover issues, particularly in the red zone as two of Kingston's turnovers came within Dickson's 30.
Quarterback Jacson Beal's throwing hand was hurt against Dickson, but Caraway said the sophomore should be in better shape come Friday. Beal split time with fellow soph Noah Hodges at quarterback, each first-time starters under center.
Caraway knows that the Redskins are going to have to grow up quickly to overcome Madill.
"Our kids are very excited because it's Madill; it's a big game for us at Kingston," Caraway said. "If we take care of the football, we're gonna have a chance to win a lot of football games."
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD