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Class A: Confidence, execution can trump talent

Little things mean a lot. And they can be the difference in winning or losing.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: August 25, 2013
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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.”

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