After 13 weeks of fighting to be the best, the No. 2 Ardmore Tigers (13-0) are one step away from achieving their ultimate goal.

After 13 weeks of fighting to be the best, the No. 2 Ardmore Tigers (13-0) are one step away from achieving their ultimate goal.

Standing in their way though is a monumental task in the two-time defending state champions, the No. 1 Carl Albert Titans (13-0).

At 7 p.m. tonight at Wolves Stadium on the campus of Edmond Santa Fe High School, these two undefeated squads will go head-to-head for the Class 5A state championship, with the winner finishing a perfect 14-0.

For the Titans, being in the finals is nothing new, it’s more of a second nature.

Carl Albert has a total of 13 state titles in football, including the last two years, and is 70-27 all time in the playoffs. This year marks the 41st all-time playoff appearance for the Titans.

There’s also the small matter of Carl Albert owning the state’s longest current win streak at 35 straight games, having not lost a game since October 2016 against Bishop McGuinness.

Meanwhile the underdog Tigers are making their first appearance in the state finals since 1992, when Ardmore last won a state championship. 

This year marks the 49th time in program history Ardmore has made the playoffs, and they boast a 48-45 record in the postseason with five state championships. 

“It’s been very exciting practicing this week,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us, but I love the approach our kids have been taking. I love the feeling in our locker room right now, and these kids are hungry.” 

“Carl Albert’s coaching staff has been amazing for years,” Newby said. “They are undefeated back-to-back state champions for a reason. It’s going to be an amazing challenge for us. We’ll show up Friday night and see what happens.”

In order for the Tigers to claim gold Friday night, they will have to stop a Titans offense which includes a sophomore quarterback, and a running back simply known as “Rabbit.” 

Titans running back Dadrion “Rabbit” Taylor rushed for 315 yards last week in the semifinals against then No. 3 Collinsville, a game in which the Titans won 37-20. 

Despite missing four games earlier in the season with a knee injury, Taylor has scored 12 of Carl Albert’s 15 rushing touchdowns this season. 

Taylor has already had multiple offers to play Division 1 football when he graduates, with Air Force, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Army and Missouri State among the schools interested.

Leading the offense under center for the Titans is sophomore Ben Harris, who has shown great command this season when he has had to throw the ball.

Ardmore knows all too well what Harris and Taylor can do offensively, as they were on full display the last time these two teams met in the 2017 season at Noble Stadium, with the Titans winning 28-12.

However, the last time Ardmore and Carl Albert faced off in the playoffs was in 2011 in the first round when the Tigers won 21-14.

Carl Albert last defeated Ardmore in the postseason in 2001 in the opening round 49-21. 

“Their (Carl Albert) team has gotten better and better throughout the year,” Newby said. “Dadrion Taylor is a very talented athlete who has put that team on his back, and done a very good job for them.”

Ardmore will look to counter the high-powered Titans offense with a defense that has allowed just 20 points one time this season.

In the last three contests, the Tigers have only allowed 13 points to Piedmont, Coweta and Bishop Kelley last week in the semifinals.

Offensively, the Tigers will try and use a running attack which has averaged 370 yards on the ground this season per game, along with a stout offensive line which includes Trenzel Johnson, Brayden Bryant, Ethan Phillips, Sitani Lemiki and Adrian Tafolla. 

Tigers quarterback Tero Roberts will also look to have a strong performance after accounting for two touchdowns last week against the Comets in a 21-13 victory. Eean Ross also accounted for a touchdown last week as well. 

Carl Albert’s defense has been just as solid this season, having allowed opponents to score 20 or more points three times this year.

However, the third occurrence happened last week against Collinsville, which was the first time since the first two weeks of the season against Midwest City and Del City.

The Titans only allowed one opponent to score more than 10 points during a perfect district title run, which was Bishop McGuinness.