Bishop McGuinness coach Justin Jones felt his team might have been flying under the radar in Class 5A, despite being undefeated and ranked No. 3 after eight weeks of football.
The coach doesn't have to worry about that anymore.
Anyone questioning whether the Irish could compete with the best teams in Class 5A got their answer Friday night in a dominating 32-0 victory over top-ranked Guthrie at Pribil Stadium.
“This win puts us where we thought we were,” Jones said. “A lot of people in the state have let us fly under the radar a little bit. Coming up from 4A, a lot of people didn't understand that we were young last year.
“We knew when we came into 5A this year that we wouldn't be able to back down from teams like this.”
Opposing offenses are 0-for-October against the Irish after they logged their fourth consecutive shutout. But Friday's performance was far more impressive than the previous three goose-eggs they posted against Western Heights, Guymon and Northwest Classen.
Before Friday, Guthrie had been shut out only once since the 2001 playoffs, and came in having scored at least 36 points in seven of eight games this year.
“I think we prepare more than any team in the state,” said senior Cody Chancellor, who had two of McGuinness' three interceptions, along with a 41-yard touchdown catch. “We've been watching the routes they run. We felt like every time they came out, we knew what routes they like to go to out of that formation, and that helped us throughout the whole game.”
McGuinness intercepted three passes, recovered one fumble and got two onside kicks, limiting Guthrie to only 40 offensive plays.
The Irish defensive front kept the run game contained as well, allowing only six yards on 20 attempts.
“These guys (Guthrie) can put up the points,” linebacker Danny Krenger said. “Our front four, they played their butts off. It was a team effort.”
Krenger intercepted a pass at the goal line early that boosted the McGuinness momentum. He also had 25- and 83-yard touchdown receptions, spurring an impressive offensive showing by McGuinness that was only overshadowed by the defense.
Quarterback Jacob Lewis rushed 35 times for 166 yards and two second-half touchdowns, and he threw for 260 yards and a pair of scores as the Irish outgained Guthrie 479-86.
McGuinness (9-0, 6-0) can clinch the District 5A-2 championship with a win against visiting Deer Creek next week, though a loss would put them in a three-way tie with the Antlers and Guthrie to be broken by district points.
Jones simply hopes his team can maintain the focus it had in preparing for Friday night's win.
“We knew if we were gonna be where we want to be ultimately, we've got a six-week playoff starting here tonight,” the coach said. “The opponents will never get easier. Every game's gonna get bigger and every game's gonna get tougher.
“We've got to do a good job of prepping for a very good football team, and then see where we're at in the playoffs.”