Each team has won a state championship. Each advanced to last year's title game. Each lost its star running back to graduation.
But Ringling and Wynnewood are not the same.
Yet here we sit, eight months after the two teams met in the 2012 Class A state championship game, with both favored to return to the title game.
The 15 weeks of football isn't easy for anyone, especially a group of young boys. Yet both Ringling coach Tracy Gandy and Wynnewood coach Brad O'Steen saw those extra five weeks change their program.
Those five weeks of playoffs taught their boys what it means to fight week after week, to be at the top of their form, to go all out for a state title.
One raised the trophy. The other came up short, but Gandy put it best: “We had a great season last year, had a great football team, but now our football team this year is not anything yet.”
They all start even in Week 1, so why are Ringling and Wynnewood favored? Well, on top of being two of Class A's best programs, they did have those extra five weeks, almost another half of a season of experience.
Yet to Gandy, talent and experience doesn't amount to a trip straight back to the final game.
“Last year, our team learned confidence,” he said. “The difference between getting beat early in the playoffs versus making the last game usually comes down to execution and the little bitty things that you do. Most years when a team gets beat, it's because of execution. It's usually not just strictly a talent thing.
“We preach to our kids that there's only one important play and one important game and it's the next one.”
O'Steen tells his boys something similar but focuses more on the next opportunity.
“Our kids' attitude is we're going to do everything we can, the best we can, all the time and see where things fall this time,” O'Steen said.
O'Steen sees a change in his team from that playoff run. He said four years ago, when he took over the program, the players didn't believe in themselves.
“That's the first thing they have to do is believe in themselves and the coaching staff,” he said. “That attitude and believing and experience came from just being able to play five extra games.”
Both coaches talked about the grind of the playoffs. Both recognized the strengths of their opponent and both expressed hope in returning to the title game.
Gandy looks as the preseason No. 1 ranking as a nice thing for the fans and the kids but knows his team's true makeup will be determined Weeks 1 through 15.
O'Steen looks as the state title loss as a chance to be better.
Yet while both talked about last year's state championship game and both mentioned their hope of returning to the title game, neither coach would talk about an easy road back to the finals, even though Wynnewood lost fewer players to graduation than Ringling.
“Our main focus is worrying about us getting better and proving ourselves,” O'Steen said. “And not looking too far ahead.”
In Class A, between two programs with so many similarities, putting on the state blinders seems to be the biggest comparison of all.