EDMOND, Oklahoma – Edmond Santa Fe and Edmond North both easily rolled through the first round of the playoffs into the quarterfinals, but both will now face tough Tulsa powerhouses this week.
Santa Fe saw a huge turnaround this season. After a 4-16 record in their last two seasons combined, the Wolves now stand at 10-1 under first-year head coach Lance Manning.
"[We're] not really surprised," quarterback Justice Hansen said. "We've been excited about this year, and that just makes us work that much harder."
The Wolves' resurgence will allow them to host a second-round playoff game this week. The problem is they will host Jenks, but being at home will give them a leg up.
"It's a big help, because we have new players, so it's not like we're going to see that marvel of Jenks," wide receiver Tre Kelley said. "They're just like we are. They're 17- and 18-year-old kids just like us, except for the ‘Jenks' on their helmet and jersey."
Either Jenks or Union has won every 6A state title since 1996. While Santa Fe takes on Jenks this week, Edmond North will try to dethrone Union.
The Edmond North-Union showdown will be a rematch of last year's quarterfinal round, when Union crushed the Huskies 55-17 on its way to its third consecutive championship.
"Last year, there was kind of an awe factor being in Union," tight end Troy Davis said. "But this year, we know what it's going to take to get the job done."
Linebacker Bryden Pitzer said this year's team has a chance to upset Union because the Huskies have grown and improved since the blowout last season.
"We're a lot better team this year than we were last year," Pitzer said. "We're a lot better leaders this year, too. I don't think we have a different mindset because we've been there before; I think we have a different mindset because we're a different team."