The result of Friday night’s regular season finale at Wildcat Stadium set for a 7 p.m. kickoff between Piedmont and second-ranked Bishop McGuinness likely won’t have any bearing on either team’s playoff destinations.
Because of its stranglehold on the district points lead, McGuinness (8-1, 6-0) holds the potential tiebreaker over Piedmont and Carl Albert and thus has already locked up a district title, while Piedmont (6-3, 5-1) will be the third seed unless it wins Friday and Woodward pulls an unlikely upset of Carl Albert.
Despite all that, Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen says that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important game.
“It’s all about momentum,” he said. “You think about any level of football, the champion is not necessarily the team that at the beginning of the season impressed everyone, it’s the team that gets hot at the right at time and that’s really what our goal is right now.”
Piedmont built a good deal of momentum heading into last week’s game at third-ranked Carl Albert, but suffered its first loss since Sept. 16 at Noble, so the importance of regaining whatever momentum it lost as it nears the postseason, where it’ll face either Lawton MacArthur or Ardmore next Friday, can’t be overstated.
“It’s a matter for us of getting better everyday,” Gossen said. “This week, a win would give us a huge swing of momentum going into the playoffs.”
It might also prove that the Wildcats can compete with anyone in the state, because McGuinness is as solid as they come. Earlier this season, the Irish beat Carl Albert 38-10.
“All of their skill positions are solid and their line is big,” Gossen said. “Defensively, they’re just solid. They’re disciplined and they want to make you drive the field on them. They don’t allow big plays.”
Piedmont has played close games with McGuinness in each of the last two seasons, falling to the Irish 19-7 in 2014 and 35-20 a season ago. That should give the Wildcats confidence against a McGuinness team that has won each of its last seven games by at least three touchdowns and hasn’t allowed more than 15 points since the first week of the season. Its last loss came in that opening week game against Del City, 28-13.
“It does help that we’ve played them well the last two years,” Gossen said. “Knowing that we have the ability to play well against these guys is going to give us confidence as we go into this.”