Barnsdall takes week off, prepares for playoffs

Mike Tupa

Barnsdall High School head football coach Kylee Sweeney enjoyed a rare relaxing fall Friday — so to speak.

With his Panthers team on a bye week, Sweeney and his coaches focused throughout last week — and on game night for almost everyone else — on getting ready for the playoffs.

The only slight uncertainty was who Barnsdall might be playing in the Class A postseason opening round this coming Friday.

That mystery was solved when Hominy beat Tonkawa — which meant Barnsdall (7-3) will take on Commerce (7-3), at Commerce.

“We kind of thought Hominy would win their game,” Sweeney revealed. “We prepped this past week expecting to play Commerce.”

Commerce features a star tailback in Caden Pickard, who rushed for 942 yards and 16 touchdowns in eight games.

Several different players threw passes for the run-oriented Tigers. E. Cunningham was the most prolific, making nearly 40 completions for more than 500 yards; only one Tiger player accumulated more than 100 yards receiving.

“I think they’re very well coached,” Sweeney said.

But, Barnsdall doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone when it comes to athletic potential and top-notch leadership.

The Panthers achieved a 7-3 record for the third time in the past four years of the Sweeney era.

“I feel like we’ve had a lot of things clicking for us at the end of the season,” Sweeney said. “Offensively, we’ve definitely gotten a little better. … I think this group is hungry.”

The Panthers also are on the prowl to devour some history. Barnsdall hasn’t won a football playoff same since early 1990s.

“We definitely have a chance to make a little run,” Sweeney said.

He noted how the Panthers finished just 56 seconds shy of knocking off the unbeaten Pawnee Black Bears.