Former 16-time heavyweight champion Ric Flair once said “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

Former 16-time heavyweight champion Ric Flair once said “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

In the case of the No. 6 Plainview Indians, they will have to beat the defending state champions if they are to continue their playoff quest this week. 

At 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Plainview Stadium, the Indians will get their chance as they will take on the No. 7 John Marshall Bears in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs. 

The winner of this contest will take on either Verdigris or Lincoln Christian in the second round. 

Both teams enter the playoffs with identical 8-2 records, as the Indians finished second in district 3A-2 while the Bears finished third in District 3A-1 behind Heritage Hall and Kingfisher. 

Plainview’s only losses this season have come against Class 4A No. 1 Tuttle, and No. 3 Sulphur in district play. 

 John Marshall lost to No. 1 Heritage Hall in week five and fell to Kingfisher last week in a battle for second place in District 3A-1.

“John Marshall is a very good team,” Plainview coach Joe Price said. 

“They run out of a spread formation on offense with two backs, and have at least two pretty solid wide receivers. Their quarterback is quite talented. He sees the field well, and he does a good job of throwing their timing routes, and gets rid of the football pretty quick.”

“They (John Marshall) are pretty big up front, and they have a solid running back that is difficult to stop,” Price added. “They are about 50/50 as a run/pass offensive team, so we have to be ready for anything.”

The quarterback in question for the Bears is none other than senior standout Jarod Leviston. This season, he’s thrown for 2,135 yards on 113-of-190 passing with 34 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Leviston has also rushed for 271 yards on 31 carries.

Lewiston’s favorite target at wide receiver this year has been sophomore Bryce Stephens who has 38 carries for 931 yards with 15 touchdowns. He is averaging 24.5 yards per catch. 

John Marshall’s leading rusher though is junior standout Elian Morales, who has 973 yards on 84 carries this season with 13 touchdowns. He also has four games in which he has rushed for 100 yards or more this year. 

Both teams have shown the ability to put points on the board, as Plainview has scored 40 or more points in six of their ten games, while John Marshall has notched 40-plus points in eight games this season. “John Marshall is pretty balanced in what they do,” Price said. “They have a big defensive line and a couple of good line backers. One of the keys for us will be to stay focused on what we do and stay with that game plan.”

Plainview has shown they are up to the task when taking on quality opponents. 

Since their bye-week September 14, the Indians have won 6 of 7 with the only loss coming against the Bulldogs.

One crucial stat though going in favor of the Indians is their record in the first round under coach Price.

Since 2015 when Price took over the Indians football program, Plainview has not lost in the first round. 

Plainview defeated Seminole on the road in Price’s first year in charge, before taking down Anadarko at home in the first round in 2016, and Marlow at home last year.

“We have a big challenge ahead of us,” Price said. “But I really believe we have a good chance to get a win this week and advance to the second round of the playoffs. We have a number of people that have performed well all season. Our offensive and defensive lines have been particularly good. So I expect a great effort from those guys up front.”