Early season struggles are in the rearview mirror for the Waurika football team as it strides into the final game of the season.

The Eagles have rebounded from an 0-6 start to win its last three games. While Waurika is out of the playoff picture, the chance to win four games in a row to end the season has proven to be a pretty good carrot.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm, we are about as healthy as we have been all season long,” Waurika coach Larry VanBeber said. “We haven’t played sterling, we have things we have to deal with everyday like everybody else.”

In order to wrap up the season with a 4-6 record, Waurika will have to go through a Rush Springs team that is 2-7 this season. Both teams own wins over Empire and Bray-Doyle.

In Week 9, the Eagles knocked off Empire 40-8 to move to 3-6 on the season. In that game, the Bulldogs were able to do some things defensively that has VanBeber wary entering this week’s game.

“I was pretty impressed with the way Empire played us,” he said. “They were the only team that has brought linebackers an we have been working on that all week.

“Rush Springs has a lot of tradition with a hometown guy (Tim Beard) coaching them. They are going to be good in a couple of years and they are going to be a handful for us Friday night.”

Empire at Maysville

EMPIRE — It has been a nightmare of a season for the Empire Bulldogs.

It started with an abbreviated offseason and continued through the season as injuries, illness and District A-4 have sunk Empire to a 1-8 record. And it won’t get any easier this week.

The Bulldogs will end the season on the road as they travel to Maysville to take on a Warrior team that has clinched the fourth spot in the playoffs.

Maysville stumbled out of the game with a 1-3 record but has gotten healthier and better. The Warriors stand at 5-4 on the season and will present a formidable challenge for Empire coach Tony Roberts’ team.

“They got healthy and they are going to be someone to deal with in the playoffs,” Roberts said. “I just hope we show up and play hard.”

The Bulldogs put out a good effort in a 40-8 loss to Waurika and will be looking for better results this week. Roberts plans to get everyone playing time in order to gain some experience for next season.

“Most everybody has played in the last four weeks,” Roberts said. “We are going to do some different things and try to find some success.”

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