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Cashion preps for talented QB, trek to Barnsdall in quarterfinal pairing

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  • Cashion preps for talented QB, trek to Barnsdall in quarterfi nal pairing
    SENIOR ALEX NABAVI had a huge game against Texhoma as he scored rushing and receiving TDs for the Wildcats. [Photo by Brad Stone/ ]

Entering this postseason, Barnsdall hadn’t won a playoff game since 1992.

The string of 12 consecutive first-round losses stretched back long before any of the current Panthers were born.

That streak ended Nov. 11 when Barnsdall went on the road to knock off Commerce 33-7.

The Panthers then continued their good fortunes last Friday with a 29-26 victory at Gore.

That landed Barnsdall in the Class A quarterfi nals for the first time since 1979.

Their reward?

No. 1 Cashion is coming to town.

Cashion got rid of its own hex last week by knocking off Texhoma 45-6 in the second round. The Wildcats will try to advance to the semifi nals for the first time since 2015 when they make the trip north and east Friday night.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The winner will move into the semifinals against the Pawnee-Mangum winner the following week.

Both Cashion head coach Lynn Shackelford and defensive coordinator Tony Wood brought up the abilities of Barnsdall quarterback Joe Cole when discussing the Panthers.

“He’s got the ability to run and throw it well,” Wood said. Or, as Shackelford summed him up: “He’s pretty good.” Cole has thrown for 2,397 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding another 940 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.

He’s a big reason the Panthers are 9-3.

Those three losses came in a four-week stretch. After opening the season 4-0, Barnsdall dropped games to Pawhuska (60-12), Morrison (24-22) and Pawnee (24-20). Pawnee and Pawhuska are still alive in the playoffs.

Since that span, the Panthers have rattled off four straight wins.

Behind Cole, the Panthers average 35.2 points a game. “They’re big up front, plus their running back has good speed,” Wood said.

That running back is Michael Martin, who’s run for 1,446 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Heath Moles has proven to be Cole’s favorite target as he’s hauled in 50 catches for 1,083 yards and 12 scores.

The Panthers surrender just over 19 points a contest. Half of their opponents have been limited to single digits.

Cashion, meanwhile at 11-0, will be the most complete team the Panthers have seen.

Two weeks ago, QB Ben Harman threw for six touchdowns and nearly 400 yards. Last week, the Wildcats ran for more than 400 yards.

“I like to think we make it difficult for teams to prepare for us,” Shackelford said.

Cashion averages 45.8 points a game, including 45 in each of the two playoff wins.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats have given up just 99 points all season, or 9.0 per game.

Seven of their 11 foes have scored eight points or less.