After thinning out the herd in the Eight-Man Division-II state football playoffs, you can find teams who have a lot of history.
Or at least some recent history.
Such is the case for Otis-Bison High School, which hosts Thunder Ridge on Saturday at 2 p.m. for a second-round game.
Thunder Ridge is the team that kept the Cougars out of the state championship game last season.
The Longhorns were the only two losses on Otis-Bison’s 10-2 record last year. Thunder Ridge beat the Cougars 44-18 in the regular season, and 54-26 in a state semifinal game.
The losses don’t mean much to Cougars head coach Travis Starr, though.
“Yeah they beat us twice last year,” Starr said. “They won state. They were a good team. We’ve graduated seven kids from last year. They graduated a group of players from their team, so these are two entirely different teams.
“It’s always in the back of your minds. I know the kids know what happened last year, so they’ll want some payback. But this time of year, I don’t think you can look too hard at what happened last year.”
The Longhorns beat B&B Baileyville 46-14 for a state title.
This season, Thunder Ridge averages 52.6 points per game, while allowing a measly 12.8.
“They’re going to have a power run game,” Starr said. “They have a great fullback, and a shifty tailback.
“They graduated a lot of kids from both their offense and their defense, but they reloaded.”
The Cougars have a power run game as well, bolstered by senior tailback Dylan Wissman, who has rushed for 1,798 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Quarterback Kole Urban has rushed for 441 yards and six TDs on 82 carries.
The winner of the game will advance to a semifinal matchup against the winner of the Fowler-Sharon Springs game.