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CENTRAL HIGH —
Central High has passed through the gauntlet of Alex and Fox, but still needs to secure its playoff spot against Waurika Friday.
Falling short of the goal to host a home playoff game with last Friday’s 56-30 loss to Alex (8-0, 7-0), the Bronchos forced themselves into a must-win scenario (6-2, 5-2). The Eagles (1-7, 1-6) come into the game after losing their last two against Paoli and Fox (7-1, 6-1).
Allen and Oklahoma Christian Academy are right on the Bronchos’ tails for those third and four spots in the district. This forces Central High coach Keith Burton to focus on the task at hand. With a win Friday, third place would be secured.
“This game, as far as being in the playoffs, we have to have it,” Burton said before Tuesday’s film session. “It’s an important week for us, and we’re just going to focus on the task at hand.”
Burton added that the team will not look ahead despite the records of its next two opponents — a combined 5-10. Earlier this season, the Bronchos smothered divisional opponents with their defense. Central High has shut out three of those teams and is looking to do the same against struggling Waurika.
On offense quarterback Kade Taylor’s performance may decide how the Bronchos do, according to Burton. He has expressed his delight in his signal caller’s play and hopes for even more improvement.
“Kade has gotten better throughout the year at managing the game,” Burton said. “He’s done a good job of taking care of the ball for us and just running the offense.”
He said part of the reason Taylor doesn’t turn over the ball often is because of his composure when things go awry.
“He is a cool-headed customer,” Burton said. “He has a good temperament about him, and he doesn’t let his emotions take over.”
While Taylor does his best impression of “the dude” from the Big Lebowski, it helps having a receiver like Kevin Harris. Taylor was complementary of Harris, who rushes for more than 100 yards on a consistent basis. Even if the defense keys in on him, he can still be a force on the field, according to Taylor.
Burton talked about Harris’ impact on the defensive side before the game against Alex. Harris had an interception in the end zone against Fox two weeks ago. That feeds into the idea that persistence is one of the strengths of Central High’s defense, said Taylor.
“They stay strong throughout the whole thing,” Taylor said. “They rarely ever give up.”
Senior George Wagner said that having a strong defense in eight-man football is important, and Central High’s three shutouts are examples of that.