Millwood has plenty of flash on the offensive side of the ball.
Division I talent, loads of speed and big-play threats all over the field.
But for the last six weeks, the top-ranked Falcons have been living just as much on their defense, which has pitched three shutouts and allowed just 26 total points since the last week of October.
And for a Millwood team searching for its first state title since 2006, the defense needs to keep it up for a couple more weeks.
On Saturday night, Millwood will make its fourth Class 2A semifinal appearance in the last five years when it takes on No. 8 Hartshorne at East Central University in Ada.
Defense was crucial last Friday night, when Millwood survived with a 14-6 win at No. 6 Meeker.
“Our linemen is where it starts,” linebacker Larry Lambeth said. “The offensive linemen have to block them, and that keeps the linemen off us, so the linebackers can go straight to the quarterback or to the running back.
“And a lot of times, they're getting to the ball before us.”
The Falcons have a lot of experience on the defensive line, which includes players like Josh Little, Alex Hammon, Emmanuel Cole and Quincy Dotson, who is returning this week after a one-game suspension for violating team rules.
Particularly for the seniors, who have never reached the title game, the gold ball pursuit is the only thing on their minds.
“We're just trying to stay focused,” senior defensive tackle Kameron Lyons said. “Anything can happen and we can lose. We're all after that one goal of getting a state championship, because last year, we didn't get this far.”
Hartshorne is averaging nearly 40 points per game, including four games of 50-plus. But the Miners have also been held below 20 twice in the last five games. So there's an opportunity for a defense to strike.
“They're in the semifinals for a reason,” Lyons said. “We won't take anybody lightly at all. They have that same goal. We have to stick to our assignments and play hard.”
Class 2A semifinals: No. 1 Millwood (13-0) vs. No. 8 Hartshorne (11-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: East Central University, Ada
Noteworthy: Hartshorne is coming off a 32-25 overtime victory against Oklahoma Christian in which Hartshorne trailed 25-12 before scoring the final three touchdowns of the game, including the game-winner in OT. OCS is the only common opponent of the two teams, each defeating the Saints by a touchdown. Millwood beat OCS 42-35 in Week 6.