Traveling for the holidays is a little bit of normalcy, and the Outlaws’ football team is ready to hit the road for the Class 2A State Quarterfinals this Thanksgiving week.
When teams are practicing on Thanksgiving, it means they are deep in the playoff run and for the Outlaws, they are prepping for an upcoming road game as one of the final eight teams left in action.
Marlow comes off a victory where the Outlaws scored 38 unanswered points to beat Chandler 38-7 and move on to 2A Cascia Hall, a team that has won several State Championships.
Outlaw head coach Matt Weber — prepping for his team’s second straight quarterfinals and 24th all time, which is the most of any of the teams still alive for the 2A title — is hopeful that facing the adversity of the first drive against Chandler will motivate his team.
“Give credit to them, they put together a heck of a first drive and we haven’t had a whole lot of adversity this year — we have only been behind 33 seconds all year long,” Weber said. “Everybody else might have been shocked, but our kids weren’t and they didn’t bat an eye and went down and scored in three plays and took the game back over. I thought we beat a good football team and we didn’t have our best game as far as executing, but still came away with the win and at this point, it is survive and advance.”
A year ago, the Outlaws traveled to Tulsa to face a private school in Metro Christian and this year they will travel to another private school in Tulsa to face off in the quarterfinals.
Four of the eight teams in Class 2A are private schools, however Weber knows they will be in a tough matchup as Cascia Hall beat another tough private school in Victory Christian who was ranked No. 7 in Class 2A.
“This team in Cascia is tradition rich and has won several state championships,” Weber said. “They expect to win when they walk on the field and they are quite a bit different than Metro Christian in they try to run the football first as opposed to throwing it first. But really, at this point of the year, there is not really any tricks — people will do what they do and we will have to execute a whole lot better than last week and have a better week in practice (SIC).”
With the chance to practice on Thanksgiving Day as the final walk through before heading to Cascia Hall, Weber said the expectations are to prepare well.
“When you get into playoffs … the gap closes and the teams become very evenly matched,” Weber said. “The kicking game will be huge and winning the turnover battle is going to be huge. It is always exciting any time you are practicing on Thanksgiving — that is another goal of our kids, is to practice on Thanksgiving Day, which we will get to. It is also exciting that we started the year out with 64 teams all playing for the same thing and now we are down to eight and we are proud to be in that final eight.”
This year, the Outlaws traveled a lot in district play and with it only being a 30 minute difference from their longest ride of the year, Weber believes that traveling may be an issue, but hopes not.
“It is a little further, but with our district we have had some pretty long road trips going to Coalgate, Tishomingo and Marietta — all pretty far trips,” Weber said. “We are used to being on the road, luckily we don’t have school that day so we can arrange our schedule accordingly.”
Kick-off will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at Cascia Hall and the Outlaws, who just became the first team in school history to start a season with a 12-0 record, will look to improve their record to 13-0.