There are many ways to describe the postseason.

There are many ways to describe the postseason.

Some coaches choose to refer to it as the “second season”, or just keep it simple and reference it as the playoffs.

No matter the reference, the No. 2 Ardmore Tigers have been busy preparing for this phase of their season for the last two months, and will be taking their first step into the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday night when they take on the Piedmont Wildcats.

The winner of this contest will meet either Tahlequah or Coweta in the state quarterfinals next week.

While the Tigers will enter this contest at 10-0 on the season, Ardmore coach Josh Newby has been quick to point out to his team that records mean nothing when it comes to the postseason.

“Everybody is 0-0, and everyone who is left right now is a good football team,” he said. “We’re going to have to be ready to play Friday night. Piedmont has a very good quarterback (Dylan Hampton) along with a very strong running back and a pair of very tall and athletic wide receivers.”

“We talk to our defense all the time that they have got to do their jobs,” Newby added. “We’ve got to swarm the ball, tackle in space and do the fundamental things right if we are going to succeed in this game.”

Piedmont will be making its return to the postseason this year after a one year absence, as the Wildcats sport a 5-5 record.

The .500 record is an improvement from the 2017 season, when the Wildcats managed just three wins in a disappointing 3-7 season.

This will be only the second time Piedmont has made the playoffs since joining the ranks of Class 5A in the 2014 season. 

The 5-5 record is the best the Wildcats have managed as a 5A team since going 6-5 in 2016.

Piedmont is led offensively by junior quarterback Dylan Hampton, who has thrown for 1,329 yards this season on 96-of-207 passing with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

He has also run the ball 77 times this season for 343 yards.

Hampton’s favorite receiving targets are a pair of seniors in Jack Chester and Bryceson Henry. Chester has 30 catches this season for 400 yards and seven touchdowns, while Henry has 20 catches for 294 yards and four touchdowns.

Colby Matlock is the Wildcats leading rusher this season with 71 carries for 410 yards and four touchdowns.

When the Tigers entered the postseason last year, a lot of things were different.

Ardmore was dealing with a rash of injuries to numerous starters, and the Tigers were fresh off a tough 36-7 loss against Lawton MacArthur at Cameron Stadium.

This time around, the Tigers are in much better shape not just personnel wise, but morale wise as last week Ardmore finished off its first undefeated regular season since 2005 with a commanding 41-19 victory over Western Heights at Noble Stadium.

“We’re very encouraged coming into the playoffs this season,” Newby said. “Our biggest emphasis to the kids has been about executing on all aspects of the game. Every team that is still playing has earned the right to be here, and we have to earn the right ourselves to keep playing.”

Ardmore’s defense has allowed just 9.7 points per game this season, and hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points all year. Noble was the only team to score 20 points against the Tigers in the regular season with the feat coming in week nine.

The offense for the Tigers has been just as solid, as Ardmore has eclipsed the 40 point mark six times this season. Ardmore was held to its lowest offensive output of the season against Altus with 21 points.

Ardmore is in the playoffs for a fourth straight season under the guidance of coach Newby, as the Tigers haven’t missed the postseason since he took over as head coach in 2015.

Since 2015, Ardmore is 2-1 in home playoff games, including a 2-0 record at Noble Stadium in the opening round of the postseason.

The last time Piedmont made the playoffs in 2016, the Wildcats faced off with Ardmore at Noble Stadium and were defeated by a score of 35-0.