Wildcats still have chance to make playoffs
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Nov. 9, 2006 - The scenarios for which teams in District 11-4Awill make the playoffs going into Friday night's schedule can be mind-boggling.

The game itself, though, is simple.

"Here are two teams that must win to continue their seasons," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens. "Whoever wants it the most will win, is how we look at it."

That's the mindset the Wildcats will take into their regular season finale on Friday when they host the North Lamar Panthers. Game time is 7:30 p.m., with Senior Night activities to begin about 30 minutes earlier.

To make the playoffs, Sulphur Springs must win by at least 16 points and have both Texas High and Lindale win.

North Lamar (6-3, 2-2) just has to win the game to get into the postseason.

While the Wildcats (2-7, 1-3) have to get some help from T-High and Lindale, the toughest part of the equation will be beating a solid North Lamar team by two touchdowns.

"Two weeks ago, we were looking at the scenarios, and we just wanted a chance, an opportunity. Now, we have that opportunity and that's a positive thing," Owens said. "Some of of our kids are taking that challenge knowing that it's a chance to get into the playoffs and salvage something of our season right now. A lot of them are doing that, so it's a very positive atmosphere."

North Lamar hasn't lost a game by more than 14 points this year - that coming in last week's 34-20 defeat by Lindale.

The Panthers' ball-control offense, triggered by senior tailback Antowoine Smith, makes it difficult for their opponents to run off big scores.

Smith is the main offensive weapon for the Panthers, who run out of the straight I or offset I most of the time.

"This week, we've kind of pulled back in practice because it's basic. They're pretty simple in what they do, and we're going to be simple in what we do<" Owens said. "It's just simple execution."

Owens is hoping the Wildcats will have better execution since they are not playing against the caliber of athletes they've seen the last two weeks in Paris and top-ranked Texas High. However, the Wildcat ranks could be thinned because report cards are due out on Friday.

Whoever is out there will have the tough task of bringing down

Smith.

"The main thing is they're going to give it to their tailback, and he may run it 40 times against us," Owens said. "He's a very good runner. He's a north-and-south kid, he's churning his legs and he's trying to get three or four yards. They've got pretty big linemen, and they'll go on a pretty quick count. They'll come rolling, feeding it to him and trying to keep the chains moving."'

The Wildcats will want to do the same thing - with urgency. A win over North Lamar would be nice, but unless it's by 16 or more points, it won't take the Wildcats to the playoffs.

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