Asking around the athletic department, Buffalo administrators and coaches had similar reactions to hosting a district playoff game.
“We’ve not been in this situation before, so we’re kind of going,” Head Coach Ed Phillips said. “We’re just going to go play and have fun and see what happens.”
The program has done a 180 under Phillips, in his second season as head coach. The Bison won seven games in the regular season, the same number they won in the previous five seasons combined.
“Our community is really fired up and ready to go and our boys are, also,” he said.
Sophomore quarterback Jamen Smith has helped take Buffalo to uncharted territory. This is the program’s first seven-win season since 1992, earning the right to host their first district game in almost 20 years.
“We’ve all played together since we’ve grown up, and we know we have what it takes to win,” Jamen Smith said. “A lot of pride comes from this winning season. It’s been a while since we’ve had that.”
“Hosting” a playoff game is not quite the right word. The school wants its new track ready for spring, so contractors began tearing up the footblal field after Week 5. Southwest Baptist is the home of the Bison for these playoffs.
“Obviously, we’d rather play here, but it’s not too far,” senior Ethan Smith said. “We still should have most of the crowd there, so it shouldn’t be too bad.”
It’s a home away from home, but expect the Bison to find the purple-painted endzones. They have a shot at their first district title in 18 years.
“They’ve had a great season, but we want to make sure they can go out maybe and make a run at this and see where it goes,” Phillips said.
“I think if we’re focused, then we can beat anybody,” Ethan Smith said. “I think we can play with any team in the state.”