Quick, name the regular-season record for the Edmond Santa Fe football team during the 2003 season?

Okay, now guess how far the Wolves made it in the playoffs that year?

Rabid Santa Fe fans could probably tell you their team went 9-1, losing only to rival Edmond North in a double-overtime thriller that season. But you certainly don’t have to be painted green and white to know the Wolves made the Class 6A state finals that season.

It’s the difference, they say, between apples and oranges — what a team does during the regular season, compared to what they do in the postseason.

So went the dilemma for Santa Fe this week, as it was getting prepared to play host to Lawton in a first-round playoff contest tonight. For the first time in a storied school history, the Wolves were able to go a pefect 10-0 through the regular season, winning the city championship, the district championship and everything else in between.

But if they come out and spew a big L tonight against Lawton, you know where they’ll be in the annals of school history? Yeah, somewhere between coulda, shoulda and woulda.

“Our record doesn’t really mean anything to us,” lineman Jessie Miles said. “We’re proud of it, but this is a whole other season. We know it’s going to be a lot more difficult.”

Whether it be against west power Norman or multitalented Putnam City North, in a nailbiter or a rout, somehow the Wolves managed to get it done every time out this season. Their sparkling record with that fetching 0 at the end of it was enough to launch them into the top three in the final Class 6A poll.

Still, the doubters reign supreme throughout the state. They can be heard in whispers or seen boldly on internet message boards. They all proclaim the same thing — Santa Fe is overrated.

In fact, more than a handful believe the Wolves to be an upset victim tonight, first shot out of the box.

“A lot of people are saying that. They don’t believe in us,” wide receiver Kendall Kelley said. “But we can’t think about the past, we’ve got to block it out and try to forget their negative mentality.”

Fortunately, Santa Fe has plenty of practice at silenting the mouthy majority. All year long, many a prep fan in this state waited for the Wolves to stumble, confident there would be no life after you know who — Reggie Smith, Steve Day, Steve Ihekona, Dane Miller, etc., etc., etc.

“We’ve dealt with that all year, people saying we’re no good because we lost certain players,” Miles said. “We know what we’re capable of. We’re not going to let people bring us down.”

One factor the naysayers may be overlooking is the fact that Santa Fe can play each of its first two playoff games on its home field. Since Cocannouer arrived in Edmond five years ago, the Wolves have won five playoffs games at Wantland Stadium and lost exactly none.

So everyone who thinks Santa Fe’s 10-0 record doesn’t mean squat should stop and think. That record is what has the Wolves replanted at home.

“It makes a big difference, too. We haven’t lost in the playoffs at home in a long time,” Kelley said. “Being there, on our field, with our home crowd, that’s a big advantage.”

(Ryan Piersol is the sports editor at The Edmond Sun. He can be reached at rpiersol@edmondsun.com.)


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