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Cardinals vs. Hornets: Rivals Clash for 5A Crown

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Originally Published: Dec 2, 2010 10:19 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

TULSA, Oklahoma – On a considerably smaller scale, Saturday’s 5A state title game between the East Central Cardinals and Booker T. Washington Hornets is very similar to the early-90s Super Bowl matchups between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.

The Hornets, assuming the Cowboys parallel, have dominated the Cardinals, the unfortunate Bills comparison, in recent memory. Dallas beat Buffalo in three-straight Super Bowls. BTW has won 4 of last 5 over its cross-town rivals, including 27-24 road win back in Week 3.

“They grew up together,” said Hornets head coach Darrell Hall. “If you’re going to beat someone, you’d rather beat your friend than your enemy.”

The players may be friends off the field, but on it they are hated enemies.

In their earlier meeting this season, the Cardinals trailed by just three points at halftime. They scored two touchdowns in the second half, but turned the ball over too many times. The Hornets intercepted Cards quarterback John McDavid three times in the game. Tyler Lockett, Tre Jones and Dante Barnett all tallied interceptions.

“There was some good defense played at the end,” said Hall. “I’ll say, the two teams are completely different now than they were at Week 3.”

Hall won a 4A state title a year ago as the coach of the Star Spencer Bobcats. He’s worn his championship ring every day this season, despite pleading from Hornets players to take it off.

“Earn me one and I will,” he’d joke with them. “If we win Saturday night, then I’ll have one from Booker T. and replace the one from Star Spencer.”

The East Central – BTW rivalry is extra heated because of how one-sided it’s been lately. Nobody wearing Cardinals’ black and red has ever beaten the Hornets. The Cardinals have beaten the Hornets just once since 2004, and have been outscored them 165-118 in the past five meetings.

“[We can’t] come out the first half and give it all we’ve got and then come out the second half and, you know, wimp out,” said Cardinals’ senior linebacker Marcus Dees. “We’ve got to keep it 100 percent the whole time.”

East Central won a gold ball in 2005. Booker T. won one in 2008. Saturday’s winner will have another trophy, and Tulsa bragging rights.

“Now that you’re here, you’re either going to be 12-2 and everybody’s going to say ‘congratulations’, or you’re going to be 13-1 and have a chance to say you’re champions,” said East Central head coach Travis Hill. “Now, the idea is to go win it.”

Booker T. agrees.

“You’ve got to put everything into it,” said Hornets senior wide out Tyler Lockett. “This is the last time I’m going to be a Hornet, so I’ve got to put everything I’ve got into this game.”

Kickoff from Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
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