The No. 1 Wildcats have been here before. This is Cashion’s seventh appearance in the state finals, winning titles in 1977, 1979, and 1981. But those were from when the Wildcats were still playing 8-man football.
Since moving to 11-man, the Wildcats have been to the state title game two different times. In 2014, Cashion lost to Thomas 28-0. The Wildcats returned to the state title game the following year, but were not quite the same team as in 2014, losing to Stratford 67-28.
It’s been four years since Cashion has reached the title game, and it’s been 38 years since they’ve hoisted a gold ball. Today, the Wildcats will look to make school history and claim the first ever 11-man title.
To do so, Cashion will have to go through No. 5 Ringling. There is some familiarity between the two teams, as the Wildcats beat Ringling in 2015 in the state semifinals 32-6. That’s where Cashion Head Coach Lynn Shackelford says the familiarity between the two stops.
“We say at the beginning of every year that every team is so much different than the last,” Shackelford said. “This team has no ties to that 2015 team that we had. It’s always a new journey and the journey is what’s awesome about it. When we go to UCO on Saturday at 1 o’clock we are going to give it our best shot and if we’re the best team, then we’ll hoist the gold ball.”
To be crowned champions, the Wildcats will have to go through its toughest test, yet. The Ringling defense is only surrendering 5.1 points per game and will test the Wildcats unlike any team they have faced this season. But Ringling will also have to face an offense unlike any other it has faced, too.
The Cashion offense is led by a dynamic tandem in the backfield with TJ Roberts and Caden Harrell running the ball, and an unflappable first-year starting quarterback with weapons at his disposal in Brexten Green and Alex Nabavi.
“We have some kids that are really good when the ball is in their hands,” Shackelford said after the Texhoma game. “Brexten is one of them, Alex is one of them, Caden is one of them, TJ is one of them. We have guys that have matured and played a whole lot of football to where the moment hopefully wont get too big for them. We’ll see as we continue to go forward.
The Wildcats will see if they can come through in the biggest of moments today as they hope to secure a gold ball.