In the world of sports, a rivalry can sometimes take a long time to reach a fever pitch.
In the world of sports, a rivalry can sometimes take a long time to reach a fever pitch. But when it comes to Ardmore and Noble, it’s only taken the past two years to reach such a level. At 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Noble Stadium in Ardmore, these two teams will once again reacquaint themselves with one another, but with some very high stakes. Noble enters the game ranked No. 6 in Class 5A with an overall record of 7-1 and 5-0 in district play. The Bears are currently sitting atop of the District 5A-1 standings with two games left to go. As for the No. 10 Ardmore Tigers, they are already in the playoffs with a 4-1 district record and a 5-2 overall record. Ardmore clinched its place in the postseason last week with a 33-0 victory over the Duncan Demons at Halliburton Stadium. But this week there is much more on the line than just a win or loss for both teams. A victory by Noble will secure the district title with one week left, while an Ardmore victory will put them in position to steal the district crown next week should El Reno lose against Lawton MacArthur. As for the here and now though, Tigers head coach Josh Newby is full of praise for one of the best Noble teams he’s seen in many years. “I think the 2019 version of Noble is one of the best they have ever produced,” Newby said. “Austin Fisher is executing at an extremely high level as their quarterback right now. I believe that coach (Greg) George has done a fantastic job this season with those kids.” “Their (Noble) spread offense does a great job of getting kids in space,” Newby added. “When they call plays, their staff does a great job of finding match-ups, plus they have a very strong running game that we have to figure out how to contain. Defensively, their line is very active. Hunter Largent is an absolute force for them, and they have such physical players suiting up for them.” Last week the Bears faced an early 10-0 deficit against the MacArthur Highlanders at home, before using a 22-point second quarter to race to an eventual 50-18 victory at home. Noble used a rushing touchdown and a fumble recovery for a touchdown to take a 13-10 lead, before a safety and a passing touchdown finished off the dominant quarter. Noble hasn’t struggled scoring points this season as the Bears have eclipsed the 40-point mark multiple times this year, including winning a 72-62 shootout against El Reno on Oct. 4 at El Reno. The only time Noble has failed to score more than 30 points this season came in week three against Piedmont. These two teams are more than familiar with one another, having seen each other each of the last two years. Last season the Tigers won the district championship with a 42-20 victory over Noble on the road, while the Bears won the last time they visited Ardmore back in 2017, with an upset victory in the second round of the playoffs by a score of 28-14. “When they beat us in the second round of the playoffs in 2017, it hurt and it stung,” Newby said. “Our kids are fully aware of what is at stake this week. Our kids are sharp and know if we can win, then we have a chance to achieve one of our goals. In order to do that, we’re going to have to play well against a very good football team.”