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Longhorns won't roam free, will travel to Tecumseh

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, no squad is guaranteed to play every week or even complete the entire schedule.

The Lone Grove High School football team knows that after losing its Week 2 opponent due to the virus, but the Longhorns won't remain idle this week after adding Tecumseh to the schedule at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

“Getting that game time is crucial because a lot of people are missing out on playing games,” said Lone Grove head coach Brad O’Steen. “Getting that Friday night experience is vital right now.”

The Longhorns started looking for an opponent on Thursday, Sept. 3 when Wynnewood was forced to cancel the game. O'Steen finally found someone to fill the void when he received a text message Tuesday afternoon.

“At the end of practice, I checked my phone and called (the Tecumseh coach),” O’Steen said. “He said, ‘You want to play?’ And I said sure. So we put our ADs in contact with each other and got everything verified. Once they verified that everything was good, we set the game.”

The two squads will be at a slight disadvantage without a full week to prepare, but Lone Grove was preparing as soon as the Savages were added to the schedule.

“We were up late (Tuesday) night breaking down video and back at early (Wednesday) morning breaking down video and just kind of getting a semi game plan together,” O’Steen said. “We were getting it ready to install (Wednesday).”

During that time, O’Steen and his coaching staff have noticed that Tecumseh is 60% run and 40% pass. The Longhorns will soon find out how they match up, but they could’ve been sitting at home if not for the late addition to the schedule.

“Right now with the situation we’re in, our kids are just very thankful they’re getting to play a game,” O’Steen said. “… I think our kids are mentally focused and understand the situation. It’s kind of one of those deals that you have to handle adversity and be able to adapt.”

And the ability to adjust can go a long way in helping a squad prepare for the playoffs and the ultimate goal of playing in the state title game. But Lone Grove won’t look that far ahead, considering these uncertain times. 

“It’s day by day and you just have to keep the kids motivated to stay together and keep working towards the common goal – to be a district champion,” O’Steen said. “And go on and try to compete and win a state title. You have to understand there’s a process to get to the top of the mountain. Our kids are pretty focused on that right now.”