A lot can be said about experience, especially in the postseason.
For the Otis-Bison High School football team, experience comes in abundance.
The Cougars (8-1 overall) have played in the Eight-Man Division-II state playoffs each of the last four years, including losing to B&B Baileyville in the state championship game two seasons ago.
“The first time you get into it, you don’t know what to expect,” Otis-Bison head coach Travis Starr said. “After that, you kind of learn what you have to do. You go over a lot of film.
“You try to keep kids in a routine. You try not to put too much in on a short week.”
The experience has benefits for the players as well.
“There’s a lot of nerves that kick in,” Starr said. “These guys were freshmen four years ago, so they’ve been here before. They know what to expect.”
Among those playoff runs, Otis-Bison finished runner-up in 2010.
Now, the Cougars host Rolla (7-2) in a bi-district state playoff game tonight at 6.
Otis-Bison has been riding the back of senior tailback Dylan Wissman. He’s rushed for 1,674 yards and 36 touchdowns on 217 carries this season.
Starr said that he’s trying to work in option plays on offense.
“We’ve done some different things the last couple of weeks,” Starr said. “Jordan Hoffman has been coming along well lately. He’s been running the ball well. He ran for a touchdown, returned an interception for a touchdown and caught a pass for a touchdown on Thursday.
“Kole (Urban) completed two passes for 96 yards, so hopefully, teams will have to key on them a little more.”
Hoffman has rushed for 285 yards and five TDs on 37 carries.
Quarterback Urban has only attempted 51 passes this season, completing 22 for 376 yards and four scores.
Rolla has a driving force for its offense in junior running back Kyler Telford, who has rushed for 1,526 yards and 25 scores.
“They have a good running back,” Starr said. “He’s been averaging nearly 170 yards per game. We’re going to have to key in on him. We have to tackle well.
“On defense, he’s their middle linebacker. They bring multiple guys from multiple positions. We have to pick up the blitzers, and we’ll need to get somebody on him.”