This season it seems like the Ringling Blue Devils have been all about redeeming themselves.
This season it seems like the Ringling Blue Devils have been all about redeeming themselves. One could argue the plan has gone successfully so far this season as the Blue Devils are in the second round of the playoffs, having exercised their demons from a year ago in the opening round. However, their next step towards a possible state title is going to come with some challenges of its own, or better yet some Bombers. At 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Rick Gandy Memorial Stadium, the Ringling Blue Devils will clash with the Frederick Bombers in the second round of the Class A playoffs. The winner of this contest will face a tough test in the state quarterfinals next week against either Stroud or Pawhuska. Amazingly enough, these two teams have never met in the playoffs in their programs history. Frederick is in the playoffs for the 31st time in program history this season, having compiled a 42-25 overall record in the postseason with five state titles. While the Bombers playoff tradition is alive and well, their success in the second round hasn’t been quite as consistent. Frederick has not won a second round playoff game since the 2012 season, when the Bombers made the state semifinals. However, the last time the Ringling Blue Devils made the second round, it was anything but a joyous occasion. During the 2017 season the Blue Devils were tripped up at home against the Hooker Bulldogs, losing 23-6. Ringling last won a second round game in the playoffs in in 2015 against Thomas Fay-Custer. Frederick enters this game with an overall record of 9-2 while the Blue Devils are 9-1. "Frederick has a lot of returning starters from last year, and they are a much better team this season because of that maturity level,” Ringling coach Phil Koons said “They beat Hobart earlier in the season, and Hobart is a pretty good team. So I expect we will need to play really well to beat them." “Frederick has a lot of good athletes,” Koons added “They have good size up front and a lot of speed in their skilled players. We understand this will be a very tough challenge for our players, and we have to be ready to go out and play our best game." Both of these teams will bring strong defensive schemes into this contest, as the Bombers have totaled four shutouts this season, and haven’t allowed a team from Oklahoma to score more than 25 points this season. As for the Blue Devils, they haven’t allowed a point since September when the Dickson Comets scored with 6.7 seconds left in the second quarter. Since then the Blue Devils have reeled off eight straight shutouts, which included a 36-0 victory against Watonga last week in the opening round of the playoffs. A victory for Coach Koons and his team this week would be his 237th victory all time, putting him three wins away from 17th overall on the all-time list which is were Rich Jones (Miami) sits at 240. "Nothing will change with us,” Koons said. “We like to run the football and moved the chains, and we have some pass plays in place in case they crowd the box with a lot of defenders. We understand we must make them play honest and not have everyone up on the line. We like to run, but we can pass if we need to."