Sequoyah (6-3) ran all over Sprayberry — or, more accurately, running back Blake Ingleton did — in the team’s first meeting Sept. 28. Ingleton rushed for 269 yards and a remarkable six touchdowns.
Sprayberry (3-6), which trailed 34-20 with 7 minutes left, mounted a rally, but it ultimately fell 41-34.
Since that time, the teams played through their subregion schedules.
Sequoyah lost its opener to Creekview before bouncing back with four straight victories. Meanwhile, Sprayberry had narrow victories over Riverwood and Osborne, while dropping games to Pope and Kell.
Now, the teams are playing with a state playoff berth — and their seasons — at stake.
Despite the familiarity, Sequoyah coach James Teter isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s hard to beat somebody twice,” Teter said. “You’ve got to get your kids a little more focus. Make sure they don’t go to sleep on some things because they think that they’ve already been there once.”
Teter said preparing for Sprayberry isn’t so much about making changes to his own team, but preparing for the changes the Yellow Jackets will make to theirs.
“The last time, we kind of knew where they were going to be best on film,” Teter said. “But now it is what they did didn’t work, so now what are we going to get.”
One thing Sequoyah does know about Sprayberry is that they don’t give up. The Chiefs saw that in the way the Yellow Jackets nearly rallied back from a two-touchdown deficit in September.
Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said his team has learned from each game along the way, and he feels they’re prepared for tonight’s rematch.
“It’s a kind of a unique situation,” he said. “You usually don’t play the same team twice, unless it’s the playoffs, and this is kind of like that. It is a playoff situation for us.”
If the Yellow Jackets win, they are in the playoffs. Lose and their season is over.
“We are excited about it,” said Shackelford. “We feel like we’ve got something to prove. They got the better of us last time and we are going to try to change that this time.”
For obviously reasons, Shackelford said his team was not proud of the way it played defense when it last played Sequoyah. The Yellow Jackets gave up an average of 10 yards per play to the Chiefs.
“I think our defense is going to play with a little bit of a chip on its shoulder and try to do things differently,” he said. “We are at the point where, (if) we win and we get to keep playing. Lose, and we put the helmets up.”