Empire football will be doing something it hasn’t done in two decades — host a playoff game.
The Bulldogs (8-2) will host Crescent (7-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Empire coach Tony Roberts said that the Bulldogs have not hosted a playoff game since 1989. Empire won the district that year and reached the semifinals.
Empire has made the playoffs four straight years, but placed third in District 4-1A each of those years and thus traveled for the first round.
Roberts said that the opportunity to host a playoff game is great, particularly because Empire’s last home game of the season against Bray-Doyle was not played because the Donkeys forfeited.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to play one more game at home,” Roberts said.
The Bulldogs were supposed to hold senior night during the Bray-Doyle, but because the Donkeys forfeited the game several weeks prior, plans were adjusted. Senior night was held during Empire’s last home game, Oct. 17 against Wilson. The Bulldogs were on the road for their next two games against Ringling and Velma-Alma.
“We haven’t had a home game in nearly four weeks,” Roberts said. “It’s a big deal for all the players to play one more home game. I think it will be to our advantage.”
Most of all, Roberts said, the chance to host a game means the chance to have a large hometown crowd cheering on the Bulldogs.
“The kids are excited,” he said. “We’re hoping for a large crowd and a great atmosphere. I’d like to see a lot of people from Duncan to come out and watch us play.”