For the fourth straight season, the Spearville Royal Lancers will take on the Claflin-Central Plains Oilers in the quarterfinals of the 8 Man Division I state playoffs.
Spearville is 2-1 in the previous three meetings, and has won the last two. Claflin beat Spearville in 2014 42-40. They went on to win the state championship that year. it was the only game the Oilers won by less than 10 that season.
“They’re a marquee, name-brand program,” Royal Lancers head coach Matt Fowler said. “They’ve been at the highest level for a long time.”
The Lancers are coming off a 42-20 win over St. Francis, the team they lost to in the 2016 playoffs in a game Fowler said afterward one of the best defensive performances the team had played in a long time.
This week, Fowler said the team focused on taking the positives from last week’s performance and carrying them over into this week.
“Defensively, Central-Plains poses a little different challenge than St. Francis,” Fowler said.
The Oilers, he said, run, punish and basically try to out-muscle opponents, whereas St. Francis tends to run lots of different formations.
“You don’t have to prepare for a whole lot of formations, but you have to prepare for a whole lot of smash-mouth football, and that poses a challenge all in itself,” Fowler said.
The Royal Lancers take on the Oilers at 7 p.m. tonight in the Spearville High School football stadium in Spearville, Kansas.