By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Southwest Covenant has a chance to add to their list of accomplishments in sports this week.
For the first time since Southwest Covenant joined the OSSAA, the Patriot football team will play for a district title.
No. 4 ranked SWCS hosts No. 2 ranked Tipton for the C-2 title at 7 p.m. Thursday at Patriot Field.
The Patriots enter the game with a 7-1 overall record and a 3-0 district mark. Tipton is also 7-1 and 3-0 in the district. The Tigers routed Grandfield 52-0 last week and only one team (Carnegie, a 46-12 THS win) has not been mercy-ruled.
Tipton’s lone loss came in the season opener to class B No. 5 ranked Laverne, who is 7-0 on the season.
SWCS has not beaten Tipton in their three previous meetings and the games have not been close. Tipton won 59-14 last year and 52-16 the last time the teams played on the Patriots’ home field.
But, the Patriots have their most experience team since the one that won the OCSAA state title (before joining the OSSAA) and are looking to pull the upset and claim their first ever district title.
“It’s a big game, for all the marbles,” SWCS head coach Trey Cloud said. “This one is for the district title and even if win this week and lose the following, we would be tied for first and would have the tiebreaker. But, the thing is, we have to beat Tipton first and then worry about the following week.
“The kids are excited about playing for a district title,” he added. “It is the first time that has happened for our football program. They will be breaking new ground.
“Tipton is good again, they always have a good team,” he said. ‘They have some new kids that moved into their school district. They are not as big as they have in the past, but they are quick. And, they have that tradition of being a good football team and their players believe in it.”
The Tigers have rolled up 444 points (an average of 54 point a game) and scored 84 in a win over Destiny Christian two weeks ago.
The Tigers have a trio of runningbacks, Semaj McBride, Gavin Jones and Dillon Schmidt that carry the load on offense. Hunter Elliott (6-4, 225) anchors the offensive line.
The defense has allowed less than two touchdowns a game and havw shutout three of their last five opponents.
“Tipton has a very good offense, they like to run the ball and they run it well,” Cloud said. “They will run it 80 percent of the time and they will come at you with like 23 different formations. And, they are just so fast.”
The Patriots also have an offense that is explosive. SWCS averages 39 points a game and just over 20 on defense.
SWCS will look to come out with a wide open attack. Quarterback Sam Webb can throw the ball all over the field and has the receivers in Trevor Kelly, Nathan Hagan. Bryce Brown and Cade Shaw. Hagan and Kelly have balanced the running game as well.
“We will have to spread it out and can run and throw out of that, or we may have to pack it in and try to run the power game.” Cloud said. “We will just take what they give us. We know we can run the ball and Sam has thrown the ball well all season. We haven’t had to throw the ball that much in recent weeks, but I know he is ready to put the ball in the air when we need him to.
“We have to play solid defense,” he said. “They will run around 23 different formations, so we have had a lot to prepare for, knowing what they will run out of those formations and trying to stop them.
“It is going to be exciting,” Cloud said. “We are in a position we have not been in before in playing for a district title. We have told the kids they have to embrace it and they have. We have to go in with the confidence we can win. If we thing we are beat before we step on the field, it will be a long night.”