Creekview (7-2) went undefeated in its subregion, while Sprayberry (2-7) got the one win it needed to avoid being left out of the play-in games.
Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said his team is excited about the possibility of reaching the playoffs.
“We have got something to play for,” he said. “The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser puts their equipment up. Any time you have got something to play for, that’s a good thing, and that’s where we are at. We had a good week of practice and the kids are excited about playing another football game.”
Creekview coach Terry Crowder is on the other side of the coin. He feels that, after sweeping through their subregion, the Grizzlies should have already earned a playoff spot.
“You work your rear off all season, and that’s why I don’t like these play-in games,” Crowder said. “I feel like we have earned our right to get in the playoffs, and we have to play a play-in game against a team that maybe hasn’t earned that right. I don’t know it very much, but it is what it is, and we have to play a good ballgame on Friday night.”
In the same position that it’s in now, Creekview nearly fell victim to the play-in last season. The Grizzlies traveled to Riverwood for a state playoff berth, and they needed three overtime periods to prevail.
Crowder said that if he was the coach with nothing to lose, he would be pulling out all the stops. He would go deep in his playbook and get out all the trick plays and go for it on every fourth down.
“In that case, I would have nothing to lose, but it isn’t that way,” Crowder said. “It’s just a difficult situation.”
Creekview has found success this season by not beating itself. The Grizzlies have forced turnovers — particularly interceptions — while minimizing their own miscues.
The defense has made 21 interceptions, returning six of them for touchdowns. Connor Dulmage leads the group with seven picks, Dawson Ewers and Chandler Wold have five each, Austin Murphy has a pair and Ben Odennell and Terry Williams each have one.
Despite being just a sophomore, quarterback Kyle Wilkie has thrown just seven interceptions to go with his 19 touchdown passes.
“I’ve never been a part of a team that he had six returned touchdowns off interceptions,” Crowder said. “That’s a big part of our success. Our turnover ratio is really high. That is a big reason that we are 7-2.”
The story has been similar for fumbles. The Grizzlies have forced four, while recovering six.
“They are solid across the board,” Shackelford said. “They haven’t beaten themselves. If you look at their scores, they have found a way to win. They aren’t blowing people out, but they are making plays when they need to. They aren’t beating themselves and that is half the game right there. You have to truly go after them and beat them.”
Creekview has won just two games by more than a touchdown, but it’s coming off a 52-7 win over North Springs. Still, a one-point victory counts just as much as a blowout, and both Shackelford and Crowder know that.
“I don’t care if we run it for 200 (yards) or throw it for 200 — I just want to get that ‘W,’” Crowder said.