Daniel Alvarez

Daniel Alvarez looks to tackle the Velma-Alma quarterback in a game earlier this season. Empire will face Central High this week in a district match up.

The Empire Bulldogs came off a 28-22 overtime victory over Waurika that put them in the driver seat for the district title and now the team will look for two final victories to end their regular season.

Gabe Diaz and Logan Whitten proved big offensive threats in the final home game of the regular season as they jumped out to a huge lead in regulation before the Eagles came soaring back.

The Bulldogs, now 7-1 overall on the season and 3-0 in district play, will turn their attention to Stephens County foe Central High Bronchos, a team looking for their first district victory of the season.

Bulldogs head coach Brant Hayes said he’s proud of the effort his team had this week and the fight they had to put them in the lead for the district crown.

“It put us in a spot that I think with all of the COVID and all of the stuff with the rankings, we got to win one out of two to secure that spot,” Hayes said. “It was a great win for us, we jumped out ahead of them 22-8 and we let them climb back into the game and tie it up. When we went into overtime and they got the ball first, we stopped them and the first play from scrimmage on overtime, we scored. It was pretty exciting, especially to be a part of it with these guys and what they have been through. It is amazing to see theses guys buy in and do the things that we have asked them to do since day one.”

Despite the Bulldogs going against a Stephens County team, Hayes said the Bronchos are a good team and they will need to be ready for anything when they travel to that game.

“Central High hasn’t won a district game yet but they are right there and they are well coached and those guys will have something to prove,” Hayes said. “With Coach (Keith) Burton coming over here with Landon and Luke also coming over, they will want to play good to show them. But our guys want to do it for Coach Burton and they have a lot of respect for him and they want to go out and get the victory.”

Hayes said the game holds a lot of meaning for both teams and hopes to cement their playoff standing.

“It worked out really well for us getting that win to put us in a position to maybe host two playoff games at home,” Hayes said. “Now they have a chance to go to the playoffs and upset somebody so now they have even more to play for. That is a big thing for us, we’ve got to stay focused and stay on track and get after it because they have more to play for now.”

Central High will host as the home team against the Bulldogs and the game will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Central High. 

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