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High School Football: Skiatook Preview

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SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - The Class 5A state championship game is Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. between Skiatook and Lawton Mac

It's been 40 years since the Bulldogs last won state. "There was a time when there wasn't hardly any fans, just the support of parents," said Skiatook running back Kyle McLaughlin.

Skiatook was on a 13 game losing streak last year when they were going into Game 4 of regular season. "Losing is addictive, but so is winning," stated McLaughlin.

The Bulldogs journey to the state championship is one of the better turnarounds in high school football. After that 13 game losing streak, things had to change. Vance Miller had been the coach from 2008 to the beginning of 2013. "We taught them that we're going to outwork people, and it started with us coaches. I fired myself, and hired [an] offensive coordinator. Those guys have done a lot for us, and things exploded," Miller stated.

The change led to a 12-1 record this year, led by McLaughlin. "To be number one you have to train like you're number two," said the running back. The training has paid off. He averages over 25 carries a game, and has rushed for over 2,400 yards. "Well he's like a small box of dynamite. He's real strong, great endurance, and he works really hard," stated Miller.

The last time Skiatook took home the state title was 40 years ago in 1974. Some of the members of that 1974 squad came back to talk to some of this year's team, and they're very impressed with what they see. There was one player that said, “You all play a lot harder, and have way more heart than we did.” McLaughlin said, "We stay in contact. He called me the other day just to congratulate me, and talk about the similarities of this team and their team."

One thing is for certain, they're showing up and the community is proud of their Bulldogs.

"Any high school kids dream [is] to say you're part of something that's going to be talked about for 50 years. It's something to say I was proud to play for this team, and proud to play for this town,” stated McLaughlin.

Lawton Mac is the only thing that stands in the way to the team's first championship in 40 years.

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