SS loss not the end of playoff drive, hopes

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 6, 2008 - The winning streak snapped and it is over.

So, probably is the statewide ranking in the Associated Press football poll.

But as far as playoff hopes and dreams, nothing has changed.

The 32-13 loss at Longview still stings a little, but it has not changed any of the goals or aspirations of the 2008 Wildcats.

The loss is important to look at what it did and what it didn't do.

Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens said earlier last week that a team could make the playoffs even with a loss to Longview. In fact, several teams could do this trick. You could even lose to the Lobos and still win the District 13-4A title, depending on how the race goes.

After two weeks of district play the Wildcats are 1-1. That's better than two teams, tied with three others and below 2-0 Longview and 1-0 Marshall. The race is still wide open.

Owens said earlier in the year, he might have thought Texas High was the team to beat. But as the game with Longview got closer it was evident that the Lobos were the best team Sulphur Springs had seen all year.

Longview deserved their No. 6 ranking, just like Sulphur Springs deserved to be No. 7.

But the Lobos had a team which had strong points which did not make up well with the Wildcats.

Officials close to the Longview football program told me weeks ago that the Lobos defensive front was one of the best they had seen in years. That they were better than even some 5A schools.

Well, seeing was believing as they held the rushing attack to 83 yards. They harassed, chased and bothered Wildcat quarterback Tyrik Rollison all night. Rollison was sacked seven times, but hit numerous other times as he was on the run all night and threw the ball 52 times. The Lobo defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and several plays which had been working for Sulphur Springs earlier in the year, did not work against the big, quick Lobos.

Longview, now 2-0 in district, can move on and march toward the playoffs. But, so can Sulphur Springs.

Sulphur Springs has Texas High coming up Friday and it's time to begin another winning streak. This one could carry the team all the way to the playoffs as the Wildcats try for another district crown.

Texas High, a team which was ranked earlier in the year, has seen the wrath of Longview as well. The Tigers fell 41-7 to the Lobos. They are in the same boat as the Wildcats, trying to win as many games as they can so they can earn a playoff berth.

For the Wildcats the task is important. You not only want to get in the playoffs, but get a high enough seed where you are not bounced out after the first week.

Losing to Longview hurt, but was not a season killer. It was not do or die.

The Wildcats can regroup and have a fantastic end to what has been a thrilling season for six weeks.

Buckle up, the next few games could be a bumpy ride.

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