Southmoore said all the right things last week before playing Lawton Eisenhower. Despite being a heavy favorite over the Eagles, players and coaches let it be known there would be no overlooking underdog Ike.

But actions, or the lack of them, speak louder than words. After squeaking by the Eagles 34-32, the SaberCats know they're lucky to still be playing.

"It was pretty tough," senior Nyko Symonds said. "They came out here and battled. We knew they would, but we all lolligagged. It was the first round and we were already thinking about the next round with Owasso or Bartlesville."

The Eagles came out and punched No. 4 Southmoore in the mouth early, scoring on their opening drive. From that point forward, the Cats were playing Ike's game.

Even when Southmoore took a 31-17 lead into the fourth quarter, it never really appeared in control of the action.

Ike made it 31-24 before the Cats gambled, going for it on fourth-and-1 on their own side of the 50. The gamble failed when Kendal Thompson was stopped on a quarterback sneak. The Eagles then drove the ball 38 yards for a touchdown, went for two and made it and stood on the cusp of a playoff shocker.

If not for some last minute offensive heroics and a clutch field goal from Sam York, Southmoore would be looking forward to basketball season.

"This is the first time we had to come from behind," Southmoore coach Chris Jensen said. "I don't think we had been in that situation. Against P.C. North, the only loss we have, they scored on the last play of the game so we didn't have an opportunity to put the offense back on the field ... So this was important. It was a character building experience for our football team."

Many say playoff football is about experience. Last week, the SaberCats didn't have much in the postseason. They have a lot more now.

"It was a close game and we experienced what it's like in the playoffs," senior Julian Wilson said. "It's way better than any regular season game. This game was real close and came down to the wire. We fought through and that should help us in the long run."

The coaching staff believes it was a matter of experience. Southmoore's 12 penalties for 105 yards was one indication the SaberCats' minds were elsewhere.

"I think it starts with preparation," Jensen said. "I don't think we had the best week of preparation we had all year long. That's good for our guys to understand how important practice is at this time of the year. We can't waste one or two (practices) at the beginning of the week, then try to come back strong. We need to prepare every single time we go out there."

Southmoore is spending this week getting ready for No. 7 Bartlesville (9-2) Friday at Moore Stadium in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs. The Bruins knocked off Owasso 14-7, and their only losses have come to No. 1 Jenks and No. 3 Broken Arrow.

If they come out like they came out last week, the SaberCats know, they're probably done.

"I think it woke us up a little bit," Symonds said. "Coach Jensen, the first thing he said was 'Are you guys awake yet?' If that doesn't wake us up, I don't know what will. I lost last year in the quarterfinals. I am not going to let it happen again. I'm going to get this team ready. We are going to practice hard all week and we are going to get ready for Bartlesville."

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