No Wiggle Room: Sulphur Springs can still earn a playoff berth; but probably will need to win remaining games

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

cOct. 13, 2008 - Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens did not want it to be this way.

After the game, the pulled off his cap and scratched his head as his team gathered to sing the school song.

"We did not want that second loss in district," Owens said as his team fell to 1-2 in 13-4A competition. "Especially not now, not heading into a bye week."

Owens explained that it will take almost two weeks before his team gets a chance to wipe the bitter taste of the 59-25 loss at Texas High from their mouths.

Two losses this late in the year, could spell disaster for the Wildcats.

A look at the standings makes it clear to see the handwriting on the way.

Longview is 3-0 and head and shoulders above any other team. Marshall is at 2-0 and in good shape, despite having to play Longview Friday. Hallsville and Texas High are 1-1 and treading water.

But Sulphur Springs is 1-2, trade below the .500 mark tied with Mount Pleasant and also leading Pine Tree, a team winless in district play at 0-3.

Sulphur Springs has a bye week to get better, get rested and get focused.

What is left on the schedule is not an impossible road as they host Mount Pleasant on Oct. 24, then trek to Marshall Nov. 2 and close out the regular season on Nov. 9 against Hallsville.

Out of the seven teams in district, four make the playoffs.

The Wildcats wanted to stay at the top out of the scrambling, shuffling, fighting and scoreboard watching at the middle of the pack and lower.

As Owens said earlier in the year, all the teams could knock each other off. Nobody knows at this point how many wins it will take to make the playoffs.

The District 13-4A teams opened the year, billed by some, as the most competitive and toughest district in the state.

Sulphur Springs, Longview, Mount Pleasant, Pine Tree, Marshall, Hallsville and Texas High won 62.2 percent of its games last year, the best winning percentage of any 4A district in the state.

For the Wildcats, it all comes down to the final three games. Sulphur Springs has been on a roller coaster ride in their seven games. Standing at 5-2 they have been applauded, undefeated, toasted on national TV and state-ranked. Now they have their backs against the wall and must win or miss the playoffs.

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