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November 14, 2013

Bronchos get tough first-round matchup

CENTRAL HIGH — Central High has drawn last year’s state runner-up for its first-round state football playoff matchup.

The Bronchos will travel to Pond Creek-Hunter this Friday in Class B playoff action. They are riding high on defense after forcing their fourth shutout of the season in a 46-0 victory against Cyril last Friday. Meanwhile, the Panthers (9-1, 8-1) dropped their first game of the year, losing 40-6 to the reigning state champ, Laverne. Central High coach Keith Burton doesn’t think last week’s outcome will make much of a difference.

“Some teams it might affect, but they’re a good football team,” Burton said. “They’ve won a lot of games and had a lot of success. So, we expect them to be ready to play, and we know it will be a battle.”

Last year, Pond Creek-Hunter went all the way to the state championship, only to lose to Laverne 50-19 in the final. This year, Burton sees his team’s road to the state title go through the defending state runner-up, but he said that, at this point, all he teams are difficult to face.

“That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Burton said. “We feel like can compete with them. We’re not going to back down.”

Burton compared the Panthers to Alex and Fox — both trailed the Bronchos at one point in their games. Getting off to a good start will be the key, Burton said.

The team has relied on strong performances from senior running back Kevin Harris and “as always” Burton needs another solid outing from him. Also key will be quarterback Kade Taylor’s play. The signal-caller had two late interceptions that played a critical role in the 35-24 loss to Fox, but has rebounded well, Burton said. His mental toughness will be important to Central High.

“Kade’s a cool customer,” Burton said. “He doesn’t let things like that get to him very often. He’s put that behind him, and I have full confidence that he’ll manage the game well.”

Should Central High win, its second-round opponent will be the winner of Oaks at Wetumka.

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