KINGFISHER â€” You don't just replace a stud like Rhett Blundell. The former Kingfisher linebacker had 220 tackles last season.
But if that was the only key piece the Yellowjackets had to replace, they would have been OK. It wasn't, though. Kingfisher lost its top five tacklers from last year and Jordan Woods, who was superb with 10 interceptions.
Between the five seniors, Kingfisher was trying to find answers and replacements for 607 tackles.
It didn't come easy. A program that has prided itself on its defense really wasn't the powerhouse the rest of the state had been accustomed to.
It culminated with a 42-14 loss at Heritage Hall in the final game of the regular season. Kingfisher was 6-3, finished fourth in 3A-3 and was limping into the playoffs.
That's when it all changed.
â€œAfter the Heritage Hall game where we just did nothing right, us as coaches just challenged them,â€ coach Jeff Myers said. â€œWe didn't think they were playing to their potential. We were a little complacent.â€
Myers said it was actually a situation where tradition became a problem. The tradition is so rich for Kingfisher that some of the younger players thought all they had to do was put on the jersey and good things would happen, Myers said.
KINGFISHER (9-3) VS. METRO CHRISTIAN (10-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Putnam City Stadium
The story: Not many people had these two teams surviving into the semifinals. Both have been impressive in their playoff runs. Metro Christian gave Anadarko its first loss of the season, while Kingfisher played its best first half of the season in routing Beggs.
Key matchup: Metro Christian QB Andrew Hearon vs. Kingfisher defense. Hearon has come alive in the playoffs, posting monster numbers. The Kingfisher defense has a strong tradition. And after rough patches in the regular season, the young kids have matured and the defense has found its groove.