By Bill Bakersports@ardmoreite.com
As regular season football games go, they don’t get any bigger than Thursday night’s match-up between Wilson and Rush Springs at Skinny Stewart Stadium.
The Eagles will celebrate homecoming and host the Redskins with an opportunity to move to within one game of a Class A playoff spot.
And that very thought has first-year Wilson head coach Danny Lee excited.
“This is a huge game for Wilson football,” Lee said. “This is probably the biggest game a Wilson team has faced in at least 12 years, and maybe longer than that. This team has come a long way since we started back in August. We have been gaining in our proficiency and our attitude from week to week.
“Two weeks ago we only lost to Velma-Alma by nine points. And last week we defeated Empire on the road. The kids are looking forward to this game with a lot of anticipation.”
Wilson enters Thursday’s game at 2-4 overall and 1-2 in District A-3. Rush Springs is currently 1-5, 1-1. The Redskins dropped their first four games before defeating Central Marlow 53-0 in Week 5. The Eagles have wins over Konawa (41-26) and last week’s 40-12 victory over Empire.
Not much can be gained from common opponents, since only one exists. Both teams have played Apache, which defeated the Redskins 32-6 in Week 1 and defeated the Eagles 36-5 in Week 2.
“We know we need two wins to make the playoffs, and we have Central Marlow and Healdton for our last two district games,” Lee said. “We believe this is a game that we can match up with our opponent and have a good chance to win. We know it will be a dogfight, because Rush Springs has quite a few excellent athletes. They play extremely hard, and they are well-coached. So it will not be easy to get a win against them.
“I reminded the players that we held Empire to just 61 rushing yards last week, and if we can duplicate that against Rush Springs we have an excellent chance to win. Rush Springs uses a lot of different offensive formations from the shotgun, ‘five-wide’ ‘I’ formation’. They will do anything they can to gain an advantage over you with the defenders you have.”
Lee praised the fan support his team received to this point.
“This week we hope everyone will be pumped for a good football game,” Lee said. “The players deserve good fan support, because they have worked hard this year to improve.”
Nothing much will change in the Eagles attack, Lee added. He is pleased with the steady improvement of the team and does not want to vary much from what is currently working for them.
“We will still run out of the spread formation on offense,” Lee said. “Obviously we want to get the ball into the hands of (quarterback) Austin Schiralli as much as possible. He can make a lot of things happen when he has the football. We would like to open up our passing attack more.
“If it comes down to a battle of running teams, our ability to gain an advantage in the passing game could make the difference. Basically we want to just keep doing what we are doing and play hard. Turnovers could play a major role in this game’s outcome. So we want to eliminate them. If we play solid, hard-nosed, disciplined football, we have a good chance to come away with a big win.”
Homecoming activities begin at 7 p.m., with the kickoff to follow at 7:30.