Plainview football has a lot on the line in showdown at Pauls Valley

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Jeston Gilliam and the Indians are in the hunt for a district title. Plainview needs to a win over Pauls Valley and a Lone Grove loss at Sulphur to clinch first place.

The Plainview High School football team knows it is guaranteed to make the playoffs no matter what happens Friday night at Pauls Valley.

However, the Indians have a lot on the line, as a win secures at least one home playoff game and maybe more depending on another contest that’s played 27 miles south.

“Winning or losing this game is the difference with us getting first, second or third, just depending on what happens with (Lone Grove at Sulphur),” said Plainview head coach Joe Price. “… As long as we win, we have second locked in, for sure. Whatever happens with (Lone Grove at Sulphur) will determine if we get first or second. It’s kind of an odd deal. By Saturday, we could be first, second or third. It’s all right down to the wire. We have to go do what we’re supposed to do.”

The Indians did that last week by using a strong second half to take down district foe Sulphur to create a three-way tie for first place. And while it’s likely that two teams will be tied at the end of Friday night, only one will clinch a district crown and receive two home playoff games.

Plainview will be rooting for the Bulldogs to take down the Longhorns as that gives the Indians the top spot in the district.

However, the focus is on what’s in front of them and that’s Pauls Valley.

“They’re similar to Sulphur, as far as lining up in double-tight formations,” Price said of the Panthers. “They have a quarterback and running back who are both good football players. They try to play a physical run game with those two guys. And they have a couple of kids on the outside that are really athletic and can run, so they pose some issues on offense. … It’s going to be a game like last week, where we show up, win a physical battle and really play well.”

It’s safe to say Plainview will lean on Reis Taylor and company to do that. The senior quarterback accounted for two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing, in the win over Sulphur.

However, he won’t be the only one who should make noise. Jeston Gilliam and Caden Pickens each rushed for a score last week and their success at linebacker has the Indians playing well on that side of the ball.

“We’re really hitting our stride there on defense,” Price said. “We have some things figured out, as far as how we’re going to use some people. That will continue to be a strong point for us.”

Only time will tell if that’s the case again this week, but the meeting will hold extra significance as Price played college football with Pauls Valley head coach Dusty Raper.

“There’s like six or seven of us who played at East Central that are all coaching in this district right now,” Price said. “I like to see all of those guys when we play different teams. It’s kind of an interesting deal.”