MUSTANG — When he lines up at his safety position Friday night, Mustang senior Tanner Robertson knows he'll look across the ball and see something familiar.
The two men who built Mustang into a well-respected football program, along with the coordinator who ran the Broncos' defense last year, will be calling plays for Choctaw, which visits Bronco Stadium at 7 Friday.
Todd Dilbeck is Choctaw's head coach, with Ty Prestidge as his offensive coordinator. The two men held the same positions at Mustang for three years, until Dilbeck left. Then Prestidge coached the Broncos the next seven seasons, with defensive coordinator Mark Ryan joining him for 2012.
“It's gonna be special going against our old coaches,” Robertson said. “I grew close to Coach Ryan last year, so it's gonna be different. But it's gonna be fun, though. We're excited.”
New Mustang coach Jeremy Dombek knows there will be some added emotion for his players going against their former coaches. He doesn't try to act like it isn't there, but he also knows he has to prepare his team for an important game in District 6A-4.
“I understand how the kids feel about a certain situation, and I'm not gonna try and mask that or downplay a situation,” Dombek said. “Same with homecoming or rivalry games. There's always a storyline involved. We haven't talked about that, but if it's something we can use to our advantage for motivation or whatever, we'll try to find a way to do that. Because in the end, it's all about trying to get a win.”
In 6A-4, easily the deepest district in the class, wins are at a premium. With so many good teams, the standings shuffle every week, and will again after Week 8, when Southmoore plays Edmond Memorial and Norman faces Edmond Santa Fe.
At 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the district, Mustang is tied for fourth place with Southmoore in the standings, so every win is valuable.
“Everyone's beating each other,” Robertson said. “We have to win. The playoffs, that's our aiming point right now. So we've got to take it one game at a time.”
For Choctaw, at 1-3 in district play, a win at Mustang could vault the Yellowjackets back into playoff contention, though Southmoore and Edmond Santa Fe await in the final two weeks of the season.
Mustang, coming off a 63-20 win over Putnam City West, is trying to get back to the postseason for the first time since the current seniors were freshmen.
Bronco senior Frankie Edwards is finding his groove in the offense, though he rarely plays the same position from game to game or series to series. Last week, he rushed 12 times for 208 yards and four touchdowns.
The team's starting quarterback when the year started, he has played a significant number of snaps at quarterback, running back and receiver over the last month.
“It's actually been a really fun senior year, experiencing new stuff,” Edwards said. “Receiver or running back is what I'll probably be playing in college, so it's getting me prepared for that.”
Edwards has his mind set on getting to the playoffs, and handing his old coaches a loss along the way would be nice, too.
“Just to show them they left behind a pretty good group,” he said with a smile. “We want to show them what they're missing. It's gonna be fun. We can't wait.”