Nov. 2—Win, and they're in.
McAlester is hitting the highway Friday for the final game of the regular season against Glenpool, with the Buffs looking to lock up their spot in the playoffs.
Coach Forrest Mazey said last week's result was tough, but now all the focus has to be on this week's opponent.
"We've got to own the mistakes that we had, and we've got the road that we've got now," he said.
With Week 10 being the final of the regular season, all eyes are on the gridiron as teams look to lock up their places in the playoffs.
For McAlester (5-4, 3-3), it'll be a district finale matchup on the road against Glenpool, with a simple objective — win.
A victory for McAlester will lock up fourth place in the district. Should the Buffs lose, a Durant loss would still give McAlester the spot.
A fourth-place finish for the Buffs will set up a first-round playoff battle on the road at Tulsa Bishop Kelley, where the Comets earned the District 5A-4 crown.
But no matter the scenario, Mazey said it'll be up to the Buffs to play their best ball in November.
"I don't think it's a case where you're not in," he posited. "I think it's a case of what kind of football are you playing going into the playoffs."
Glenpool (4-5, 2-4) is coming off a dominant 50-15 win against Tulsa East Central. And although the Warriors are mathematically eliminated from postseason play, they'll be looking to end their season on a high note at home.
Rueger Tatum leads the charge at quarterback for the Warriors, while DaMicah Wood is a force in the ground game. Receiving corps leaders include the likes of juniors Judah Byrd and Dyson Sanders — with Glenpool's offense combining for more than 1,500 yards this season.
But on the other side of the ball will be the Buffs, who have been a yard-piling machine this season.
The McAlester rushing attack — led by senior Ethan Watkins — has churned up 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Through the air, quarterback Caden Lesnau has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to top targets such as Carter Lance and Jaxon Lauerman.
Defensively, McAlester linebacker Will Spears has led the charge with 95 tackles on the season, followed by Fyfer Mitchell with 68, Owen Russell with 64, and Malachi Wrice with 56. But the efforts of all the Buffs combined have recorded 581 tackles this season, with 58 tackles for loss and 23 sacks.
The Buffaloes know how important Friday's game will be to springboard them into the next step — and it'll be up to them to decide their own fate.
"You've got to get hot again. That's just the reality of it — you've got to get hot and do things right," Mazey said. "It's just one of them things (where) you've got to do it right all of the time."