And yet, on Friday night, that’s exactly what will happen, as the fourth-seeded Chiefs will take on unbeaten Region 6AAAAA champion M.L. King at Hallford Stadium in the opening round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
M.L. King (10-0), which has won its region for three years running, has been a No. 1 seed in the playoffs for four of the last six years, and it will be considered one of the favorites to contend for the state title.
When asked if he felt the draw was a harsh one, Sequoyah coach James Teter dismissed the idea that he was dissatisfied with the matchup.
“It is what it is,” said Teter, who faced M.L. King twice as a coach at Dunwoody, losing both meetings. “We don’t control it. There is nothing that we can really do. We’ll take it and do the best we can with it.”
When asked what the Chiefs were doing differently to prepare for an opponent that averages 32 points a game offensively while only allowing 10 — and in one of the toughest regions in Class AAAAA — Teter’s answer was simple.
“We haven’t changed a thing,” he said. “We have been doing the same things in practice that we always do. If you change a lot of things, it would send an alarm to the kids that we are panicking, and we’re not.”
For Teter, the key to winning Friday is to keep things simple.
“We’re not going to try a bunch of things that will confuse our kids,” he said. “We are going to stick with what got us here.”
Just as it has in every game they’ve played this season, Sequoyah will rely on its Wing-T rushing attack, spearheaded by the classification’s leading rusher, Blake Ingleton, to put points on the board.
For Ingleton and other running backs, such as Stuart Glassic and Dustin Dawson, to find the end zone, Teter believes a strong performance from the offensive line will be needed.
“If the five guys up front don’t open up some holes, it won’t matter what our running backs do,” Teter said. “If our line can hold their blocks and maintain them, we’ll have success running the ball.
“If not, it could be a long night.”
Defensively, the Chiefs will be tasked with stopping an M.L. King offense that attacks almost exclusively through the air.
“They throw it about every down,” Teter said. “It’s something rare that we don’t usually see, so we’ll have to shore up our secondary and make sure that our players understand their coverages.”
Though Teter knows the Chiefs will be the heavy underdog heading into Friday’s contest, he feels they have a chance to pull an upset.
“We’ve been the underdog all year long, so that’s OK with us,” he said. “If we play like we have been playing these last few weeks, I think this game will come down to the end.”