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October 24, 2013

Crunch time hits Outlaws against Little Axe

MARLOW — The goal is simple for Marlow football — win the next two and it’s in.

The Outlaws (4-3, 1-3) start that two-game stretch against Little Axe on Friday. The Indians (3-4, 1-2) are ripe for the picking as they have lost four out of their last five contests — the lone victory coming against winless Bridge Creek. Coming off two straight losses with large margins of defeat, Marlow coach Rob Renshaw said that it has been easy to get the players to focus on these last two games. He and his players know the season could be over if they don’t put up good performances.

“Our guys know what’s on the line,” Renshaw said before Wednesday’s practice. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we have to go play our best game.”

Fueled by a disappointing 22-19 loss last year, the Outlaws will be looking to swing the pendulum against their biggest competitors for that fourth — and final — playoff spot. Helping their cause is Little Axe trying to replace its biggest threat from last year, Steven Dye. He had more than 100 receiving yards in the victory last year, but his predecessor has yet to be found this season.

From losing a receiver to getting one back, Marlow sits on the other end of the spectrum with senior Kelby Richardson’s return from an arm injury. One of the team’s most explosive weapons, Richardson has had to stomach his Outlaws falling to Blanchard and Tuttle by a combined 53 points the last two weeks without him. Now he’s back for good, and Renshaw couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a big lift to our guys,” Renshaw said. “He’s a senior, one of our leaders, and it’s great to have him back out there. The guy makes plays.”

Renshaw is hoping that Richardson and Kagan Blackburn can help ease the load on senior running back Trey Coffman’s shoulders. Coffman has been the bass beat in Marlow’s rock-song offense this year, getting large amounts of touches in games. His pounding of the opponent’s interior defensive line has been a focal point of the offense. Personally, he relishes the role.

“I love it,” Coffman said. “Knowing that the coaches trust me enough to let me have that many carries, it’s nice to have.”

Coffman and sophomore Braeden O’Dell both agreed that these next two weeks are “like the Super Bowl” with so much riding on the outcomes. If they can win, even more important games lie ahead in the playoffs.

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