It has often been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
It has often been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The Ringling Blue Devils are hoping this isn’t the case Friday night. At 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rick Gandy Memorial Stadium, the Blue Devils will open the Class A playoffs at home against Watonga, with the winner meeting either Frederick or Oklahoma Bible in the second round next week. Last year the Blue Devils entered the playoffs as district champions, but were handed an untimely upset at the hands of Christian Heritage. The sentiment isn’t lost on Ringling coach Phil Koons. "We will need to be disciplined and work on our assignments up front in order to stop them (Watonga),” Koons said. “On offense we will need to be strong on our assignments along our offensive line. They came out of a very tough district, and earned their place in the playoffs. Christian Heritage was the team that came in fourth last season and beat us at home in the first round. Christian Heritage went a long way in the playoffs after that." Ringling enters the playoffs as one of the most consistent teams on defense, having posted seven straight shutouts to end the regular season. The Blue Devils are averaging 40.1 points per game on offense and allowing just 3.9 points per game on defense, which leads the state regardless of classification. Watonga (6-4) meanwhile is averaging 28 points per game on offense while allowing 25.5 points per game. These two teams have a brief history of seeing each other in the postseason, as the last time they met came in 2013 when Ringling won 61-6. Watonga won the first ever meeting between these two teams in the playoffs in 2009 by a score of 24-14. This will be the 42nd all-time appearance for the Blue Devils in the playoffs, as they sport four state championships and a 75-38 record all time in the postseason. Watonga meanwhile is making its 45th appearance in the playoffs all time with six state titles, and a 65-39 overall record in the postseason. "They run out of a 'Wishbone' formation, and they run their offense very well,” Koons said. “They are a power running team first and foremost, and their offense is predicated by a strong running game. Watonga has some excellent athletes running with the ball as well as some big guys blocking up front for their option offense."