The Muldrow Bulldogs will play their final home game of the 2023 high school football season as they welcome the Locust Grove Pirates to town tonight for a 7 p. m. District 3A- 3 game at Marty Rogers Field. The game also will be Senior Night, where the seniors will be recognized prior to the game.
“ It’s always an exciting time when your seniors go out there and play on their home field for the last time, wrapping up their careers as Muldrow football players,” Muldrow coach Logan Coatney said. “ The kids are excited. The community and the school are excited to celebrate these young men and what they’ve been able to accomplish. I know it’s not been the year that we expected or prepped for, but we’ve taken things as they’ve come. We’re excited about getting out here on our home field again, go compete and leave it all out there.”
Coatney said winning tonight will be so big in so many ways for the Bulldogs ( 1- 7 overall, 0- 4 in district play), who will try to snap a six- game losing streak.
“ It will be tough to put it into words,” he said. “ The kids have worked their tails off all season. We’ve just been unfortunate that some of the games haven’t fell our way. We’ve had some close games that we’ve just ended up being on the short end of the stick on. To come out there in the home finale for the last time these kids ( seniors) play on this field and win this game, it would mean more to them than what any of us can imagine. We’re excited for the opportunity. We’re looking forward to going out there and playing and competing. The scoreboard will take care of itself.”
The Pirates ( 1- 6, 0- 3) have lost four in a row — the last three in district play as they lost 71- 30 to Stigler, 48- 6 to Berryhill and 42- 24 last week to Checotah. The losing streak started with a non- district 49- 8 loss to Sequoyah- Claremore. Locust Grove’s lone win this season came Sept. 7 in a 60- 46 road win over Adair. The Pirates opened the season with backto- back losses to Pryor ( 45- 14) and Salina ( 22- 6).
“ Their quarterback is a pretty good athlete,” Coatney said. “ I think it’s ( Locust Grove) coach ( Paul) Hix’s son ( Titan Hix). They have athletes. They have big lineman. They’re a lot like us. They’re going to try to run the ball. They’re a run- first team.”
The ’ Dogs will need to play well in all facets to have a chance at not only beating the Pirates but getting their first district win as well as ending the six- game losing streak.
“ We’ve got to go execute offensively and defensively,” Coatney said. “ We have to limit the pre- and post- snap mistakes — like I’ve preached on all year. We need to go execute and do the best we can to set ourselves up for success. We’ll let the scoreboard take care of itself.”
The Bulldogs have been eliminated from Class 3A playoff contention.
“ The way the season has gone, there’s a clear top four ( teams in District 3A- 3) going into Week 8,” Coatney said. “ It’s unfortunate wth the way the season has gone for us, but there won’t be a Week 11 game for the Muldrow Bulldogs this year.”
So, tonight’s game and next week’s regular- season finale against Lincoln Christian in Tulsa will be the final two games for the ’ Dogs, so they’re treating these last two games as like their postseason parade and finish strong with a pair of wins.
“ It’s always the goal to end the season on a high note,” Coatney said. “ You never want to end the season on a loss. All but one team in each class each year does end their season with a loss. We actually will get an opportunity to not end our season on a loss, which will be big for us as young as we are. We’re going to return nine to 10 players back on both sides of the ball next year. Continuing to compete in practice and continuing to get better, our kids have bought in on continuing to practice at a high level as the days progress. We’re really looking forward to playing this week and giving ourselves an opportunity to be in it — and the same thing next week ( with a road game against Lincoln Christian). We have a good enough ball club that we can be in any game — and win any ball game — but it’s all about if we execute and how well we play. Our kids have bought in that this is building for the next couple of years. This year has not been what we expected or wanted it to be. We knew we were going to have our challenges just being a younger team. Our kids are still here, and that’s the most exciting thing for me.”