Ardmore’s opportunity is at hand.

Senior night.

No. 1 takes on No. 3 with a District 5A-1 title at stake.

“It’s amazing,” said senior linebacker Nick Weldon, a three-year starter. “It’s an amazing feeling (and) a great opportunity to go out there and compete with my brothers. Senior year, for a district title, it couldn’t be any better.”

The Associated Press ranks Lawton MacArthur No. 1 in Class 5A. Ardmore is No. 3. The Tigers (8-1, 6-0 District 5A-1) lead the Highlanders (9-0, 6-0) by five district points, 81-76. 

During the regular season, MacArthur did not play Carl Albert, which handed Ardmore its lone loss, a 38-21 setback in Week 3. The Titans’ 38 points is a season-high; Duncan’s 16 points is the second-highest total the Tigers allowed.

Consequently, Ardmore has allowed 106 points to MacArthur’s 162. At the center of it is Weldon, who can make any call and check in the Tigers’ playbook, coach Josh Newby said.

Weldon credits practice repetitions.

“Film study would help me,” Weldon said, “but practice during the week is what really helps me, going through scenarios.”

Weldon is “the rock,” Newby said.

“He makes our checks if we need any” movements up front “or decisions,” Newby said. “He never misses a day in the weight room. He’s a great leader. He’s someone we can always depend on.

“Every day, Nick brings a great attitude and effort. I think the other 10 fall in place because they know that Nick’s going to do this every day. ‘If he’s going to do it, then I better do it,’ so it’s great having that example and type of character on our defense.” 

Ardmore’s run-heavy offensive approach can make opposing offenses increasingly one-dimensional.

Over nine weeks, the Tigers took care of business. While that includes a loss, it’s obviously better to sustain one during the regular season than to enter the playoffs undefeated and your weaknesses concealed.

“I think our kids have been willing to improve the weaknesses that Carl Albert kind of exposed,” Newby said. “I think it comes down to that: They were willing to make the improvements and they’re still willing.

“This group of kids likes football. They like each other in the locker room and they like getting on the practice field. They’ve been willing to make the improvements that we’ve asked them to make.” 

Which culminates with an opportunity to win a second district title in three years.