By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
UNDATED -- Amid Cascia Hall's bustling bus ride back from its semi-final win against Tuttle, the sentiment set in that its state title opponent would be a Claremore-Sequoyah team they defeated by more than 20 points during the regular season.
Thoughts of that startling score were quickly served by a reminder.
"One of our linebackers stood up and said, ‘remember guys our first touchdown came off a one yard drive and our second touchdown came off of an eight yard drive," said Commandos coach Joe Medina of Cascia's 34-6 win over the Eagles on Oct. 31. "The kids know it's not going to be the same game as it was back in October."
Cascia Hall and Claremore-Sequoyah's clash in the 3A state title game is a tale of two teams that have taken two totally different paths to reach the pinnacle of the high school football season.
The Commandos have won 27 consecutive games dating back to last season's undefeated 2A state championship. Sequoyah started the 2008 season stumbling by losing two out of its first three games.
"The coaches left practice one time and we called a meeting," said Sequoyah junior Taylor Inman about the team's early season troubles. "We stayed out there and talked for about 20 minutes and we decided to step it up and play. Now we're back in the state championship."
Since a Sept. 18 loss to Oologah, the Eagles have won nine of its last 10 games by an average margin of nearly 24 points per game.
"I tell this team all the time: it's amazing what can happen when nobody cares who gets the credit," said Sequoyah coach Jody Iams. "All we ask of them is just come to work every day, practice hard and play hard. It's an amazing feeling."
Sequoyah is looking for its first title since its undefeated 2006 season, while Cascia is trying to win back-to-back titles for the first time in school history.
Commandos quarterback Sam Clancy is trying to be the first senior QB to lead a Cascia team to a state championship. Its previous three titles have come under junior signal-callers.
"A lot's at stake in this game," Medina said. "I'm sure our kids will respond."
Sequoyah quarterback Cody Richardson's brother, Levi, was the signal-caller for the '06 championship team...The last 10 seasons, a Cascia player that began playing as a freshman has been involved in at least one state championship game...Sequoyah and Cascia each took down district one schools en route to Saturday's state final. The Eagles defeated Clinton 34-31, while Cascia won over Tuttle 13-10.