When Empire takes the field Friday night, it will have one goal in mind. Win.

For a team coming off a 1-9 season, the Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 District A-4) have a chance to turn the page completely and finish the 2010 regular season with 5 wins and a playoff berth. Standing in their way are the Wilson Eagles (1-7, 1-4 District A-4).

Head coach Tony Roberts said there’s been an air of confidence surrounding the Bulldogs’ camp this week and he hopes that translates onto the field Friday night.

“We’ve had a whole lot more focus this week,” Roberts said. “I told them (Wednesday), we’re pretty loose and cocky, but we’re got to think straight or things could go bad. But we do have a lot more confidence with what we’re doing. Our kids are smart enough to know that we’ve got a long way to go to get where we want to be.”

Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, with senior night festivities to begin at 7. The Bulldogs have just six seniors on the team as Geoff Jones, T.J. Beebe, Jake Williams, Harrison Moore, Matt Kaus and Shelby Ford will be recognized prior to the game.

Roberts said the game plan will likely remain the same, but will be adjusted to get the seniors involved a little more.

“It’s our senior night and for guys like Geoff Jones, we’re gonna try to get him the ball a little more. It’s their last home game and we want it to be memorable for them.”

The best memory of the night could come when the clock strikes 0:00 and the Dawgs are celebrating a win and a spot in the 2010 playoffs.

It’s not guaranteed, however. Empire would still need Healdton to defeat Waurika. Should the Waurika Eagles win, those three teams would fall into a three-way tie with the tiebreaker coming down to points. Waurika and Healdton would take the No. 3 and 4 spots with Empire sitting on the outside in that scenario.

Should Empire lose, the Bulldogs would be on the outside looking in, because of tiebreaker scenarios with Wilson and Waurika, or via a Waurika win over Healdton.

“We won’t know who we’re going to play until Friday night at 10:30,” said Roberts. “We still have to do what we have to do. We have to win because if we lose, we’re out. If Waurika wins, we’re out. So there’s still a lot that can

happen, but we only control what we control.”

That means beating Wilson, a team struggling with numbers this season.

“I think they’re going to suit up 13 against us,” Roberts said. “They’ll run a lot of double tight (ends) sets because they only have five skill players. We’ll just have to wait and see what they show up with, but they’ve got the opportunity to be in the playoffs if they were to beat us, and I anticipate them coming out and playing their best game.”

— Ben Whitehead is the sports editor for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 255-5354, Ext. 165, or via e-mail at ben.whitehead@duncanbanner.com.

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