MADILL — “Heart and hard work.”

Madill football coach Milton Cooper echoed those four words to his Wildcats every day during summer workouts.

Cooper used it as a tool to motivate his Wildcats.

Apparently, the Wildcats were listening.

“Coach Cooper has been around for a long time, obviously, and the stuff that he says you kind of tend to take to heart and think about it every day,” Madill senior lineman Paxton Arterberry said.

Madil went 6-4 during the regular season to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

“It’s different, obviously, but it feels really good,” Arterberry said.

Madill will look to spring the upset of Class 3A’s No. 2 John Marshall (9-1) tonight at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City.

John Marshall’s skill players will challenge Madill. 

Senior wide receiver/cornerback Justin Broiles, an Oklahoma commit, is the top-ranked prep football recruit in the state, according to The Oklahoman. Junior running back Devonte Lee (5-9, 215 pounds) has plowed his way for 1,925 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns. 

“They look pretty impressive on film, probably better than anything that we have seen, other than Heritage Hall,” Madill senior quarterback Raygan Dodd said.

Dodd and Co., to wit, have been impressive. 

The first-year high school quarterback has been impressive, throwing for 793 yards and nine touchdowns in his last five games.

The success that Madill has had in the passing game has opened running lanes for senior tailback Dekevis Jordan, who has scampered for 761 yards and 10 touchdowns in his last six games.

Dodd said none of Madill’s success on offense would have been possible had it not been for good pass protection and blocking by the Wildcats’ offense line: Arterberry, Danny Sanchez, Hunter Cambron, Seth Lawrence and Robert King.

Now it’s on to John Marshall.

Madill has embraced the role of underdog all week.

“Not many people expect us to go up there and make a game of it,” Arterberry said. “We haven’t really written anything on the board (for motivation) but everyone around here believes in us. It’s just about if we go up there and perform the way that we’re supposed to.”