By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
CLAREMORE, OK -- When it comes time to compare Claremore-Sequoyah's 2006 championship team to this season's squad, it'll be the contrasts in the '08 Eagles that makes its conquest for the gold ball that much more miraculous.
"This year we were expected to fail," said Sequoyah running back Jake Rhine. "Nobody really believed in us a whole lot. We had some people that did, but in '06 we had a great team it was expected of us. It feels like a great accomplishment to have made it this far."
It's hard to change the mind-set of a team mid-season, but Claremore-Sequoyah did just that. After losing two out of its first three ballgames, a players only meeting was held, propelling the Eagles to where they are right now: one win away from the gold ball.
"That next day we just came back to practice it was a whole new team. It was like we changed overnight," said Sequoyah junior Taylor Inman. "We just came back and everything was better and we started playing better."
"I tell the team this 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 and practice hard, play hard. It's an amazing feeling."
The Eagles' only other loss since week three was on Halloween for the district three title against Cascia Hall, who also happens to be Sequoyah's opponent on Saturday.
"I think we'd rather be the underdog right now than be in Cascia's spot," Rhine said. "We believe we can do it. We can win."
"I'm sure there's quite a few that doubted us at the beginning of the year," said Eagles quarterback Cody Richardson. "We dug down and knew we could get here. We've worked really hard."