When it comes to familiarity, the Ardmore Tigers football team is more than comfortable when it comes to the postseason.

When it comes to familiarity, the Ardmore Tigers football team is more than comfortable when it comes to the postseason.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Noble Stadium, AHS will take the field in the playoffs for the 54th time in program history, as the Tigers (8-2) welcome the Guthrie Blue Jays (6-5) in round one of the Class 5A bracket.

“Guthrie has tremendous tradition, and we know we have our hands full against this team,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “They are coached very well, and have a bunch of tough kids who care about winning and each other. We’re going to have to play a very detailed and organized game in order to win against them.”

Last week brought the Tigers a feeling they haven’t been used to this season, a blowout defeat.

With their 26th conference championship already secured, the Tigers ran into a motivated Lawton MacArthur squad, resulting in a 36-7 result.

Ardmore dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 in the latest Class 5A poll released by the Associated Press this week, while Lawton MacArthur returned to the poll at No. 9. Guthrie is currently not ranked in the poll.

Speaking of the Blue Jays, it’s been a roller coaster of a season to say the least.

GHS began the season losing four out of its first five games, including back-to-back losses against No. 1 Carl Albert and No. 2 Bishop McGuinness to open district play.

Following a 41-21 district road defeat to the Lawton Eisenhower Eagles on Oct. 13, the Blue Jays caught fire the rest of the way in district play.

Guthrie reeled off consecutive victories against Piedmont, Woodward and Guymon to secure a playoff berth for the 13th straight season.

GHS is no stranger to success in the playoffs either as the Blue Jays are four-time state champions, winning titles in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2013 most recently.

However, the last two seasons the Blue Jays have opened the postseason on the road to a less than pleasant outcome.

In 2016, it was Lawton MacArthur handing Guthrie a 50-0 loss at Cameron Stadium in round one of the playoffs, before Altus won its opening round game against GHS in 2015 in Altus 35-14.

Since 2004, the Blue Jays have just three wins on the road in the opening round of the playoffs.

For the second straight season, Ardmore will be opening the postseason at home under Newby.

Last year the Tigers handled Piedmont in round one 35-0, before eventually falling in the state semifinals against Bishop McGuinness. 

However in Newby’s first season in charge in 2015, the Tigers opened the playoffs on the road at Deer Creek, falling 42-37.

Since 2004 and with the exclusion of last season, the Tigers have gone 3-3 in the opening round of the playoffs when hosting. 

The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was in the 2007 season, when the Tigers traveled to Guthrie and were eliminated 61-0.

GHS’ last visit to Noble Stadium in 2008 also brought a favorable result for the Blue Jays, who won 34-0 on that night.

In order for the Tigers to advance to the second round for the second straight season, they will have to contain a Blue Jays offense which racked up 506 yards of total offense against Guymon last week, including 165 of those coming from senior running back Gavin Brison.

The yardage last week put the senior over the 1,000 yard mark for the campaign.

Another player to keep an eye on offensively for Guthrie will be quarterback Jackson Waddell, who ran the ball nine times for 118 yards last week to go with a 12-for-14 passing game with 106 yards and two touchdowns.

“Guthrie’s offense is centered around their quarterback and their tailback,” Newby said. “Those two players specifically are two of the better players we have played this season. They are also very knowledgeable and football savy players.”

Ardmore will look to counter with an offensive attack which includes junior quarterback Tero Roberts, along with running backs Cameron Petties, Chantz Scurry, and Braeden Vance.

“In the playoffs it’s a mental game as much as a physical game,” Newby added. “It’s about who wants to continue on the kind. Our kids are excited and I’m excited about the game.”