LAWTON, Okla (KSWO) - Carnegie's 2016 season included a move down to eight-man football. It's a transition that started slow with a 2-3 record. The Wildcats found their footing in district play, as they won three of their first four games putting them into a position to finish anywhere from first to fourth in District B-3.
"It's sure a special thing," said Carnegie running back Chason Hurt. "Switching down, it's been different for everyone and trying to get a hold of that. But it's been a real good deal."
"At the first of the year, we didn't think we was in the running. Now we're in the running Now we're in the hunt. Now we've got a chance to get a home playoff berth," Carnegie coach Jim Harvey said.
Cyril's season goes beyond district standings. In Trevor Knight's second year at the helm, The Pirates started 6-0. But the competition has gotten much tougher since. They've lost two of their last three games to top ten teams. However, win or lose in Week 10, and they're in the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
"I think it's big for any program to win," Knight said. "Especially with a program that hasn't been to the playoffs, just getting to that point, and that's not our goal, but it's definitely something we wanted to check off the list."
"Knowing that, I think it just motivates us even more. I mean it pushes us even past our limits. We're just pushing to be that team," said Cyril quarterback Josh Garza.
When the Pirates look at Carnegie, they see a prolific Wildcat offense anchored by a variety of weapons, especially in the backfield.
"They do have a really, really good running back. I mean, we're going to have to shut him down. They have a pretty good receiver as well," Garza said.
"If we're not careful, one missed tackle could turn into a touchdown at any time with them," said Knight. "That's something that we've been preaching this week is tackling and just trying to fight off blocks the best we can. They're going to be bigger than us. We know that, but that's nothing that we haven't come across."
"We have to be very versatile, and when you get the ball in your hands not have turnovers. And score, and score the way we have been the last four or five games. That's what we're going to have to do," Harvey said.
Carnegie prepares to face a Cyril offense led by quarterback Josh Garza and a receiving corps that's known for making big plays.
"They know how to come back and get open in their routes. They know what they're supposed to do. They know what their responsibility is. And that's the reason why they are 7-2, and they lost to two quality teams. We're going to have to play well," said Harvey.
"Anytime we see single coverage with one of them, we're like hey they have the advantage every time. I mean, it makes it a lot easier as a play-caller when you have playmakers that you know will come down with the ball," Knight said.
The regular season finale for these two schools is set for 7:00 Friday night in Carnegie.