As the Oklahoma high school football playoffs push forward, Edmond Santa Fe has an opportunity to achieve its deepest playoff run in nearly two decades.
The Wolves made their only state championship game appearance in 2003, but they have an opportunity to make it back when they face Union in the 6A-I semifinals at Owasso this Saturday.
Oklahoma Christian School is also in action this week. OCS will be hosting Community Christian in a third-round matchup.
OCS versus CCS kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, while Santa Fe and Union kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Santa Fe (9-2) is making its first semifinal appearance since 2015. After an 0-2 start, the Wolves have won every game, all but two by multiple scores.
Union (6-4) played one of the toughest schedules in the state, starting 0-4 after consecutive road games against Bixby, Broken Arrow, Jenks and Owasso. All but Broken Arrow are state semifinalists. Union has blown out most opponents since.
Union got revenge against Broken Arrow by defeating the Tigers last week 26-14.
Santa Fe coach Kyle White said this game will be decided by the schools’ rushing attacks.
“They’re very sound, very well coached,” White said. “We’re going to have to be able to stop the run. We’re going to have to be able to run the ball ourselves. You get this far in the playoffs, it’s hard to win if you can’t run the ball and can’t stop the run.”
Santa Fe and Union have only ever met in the playoffs, with Union winning all four games. This will be the second meeting between the two in the semifinals. Union defeated Santa Fe 20-0 in 2004.
White said it will be important for the Wolves to remain focused.
“(We have to) continue to play, to get better,” White said. “To play fast, play physical, and control what we can control and not get wrapped up in the fact we’re playing Tulsa Union. It’s just another football game.”
Back in Edmond, the Saints (9-0) are seeking their first trip to the 2A quarterfinals since 2017.
The Royals (9-2) finished second in 2A-3 with losses to Perry and district champ Washington. They defeated Davis 35-7 last week. Like OCS, CCS received a first-round bye.
The two have only met once in 1999, when OCS defeated CCS 35-8.
OCS coach Brooks Stephenson said the Saints and Royals scrimmaged in the preseason and said the Royals are a good team with weapons at every position.
“They fly around on defense,” Stephenson said. “They are a really fast bunch. On offense… CCS definitely likes to spread it out a little bit more, still like to run the football, but spread it out a little more than Kellyville did.”
Playing Thanksgiving weekend poses potential challenges to a team when it comes to staying focused on preparing for a playoff game. White said the irregularities of this season make it less of a challenge this year. Stephenson said the OCS community has made it easy to navigate the challenge.
“When you have a community like ours that is so flexible, so adaptable and just really wants the best for these boys, really everything we’ve done has been super easy,” Stephenson said. “We try to give our guys the majority of the day on Thursday, so we’ll bring them early in the morning to go through our walkthrough and everything as opposed to an afternoon practice… Your family is more important than football.”