Eisenhower head coach Boone Copeland couldn't have assessed his squad's chances of a playoff berth any simpler: Any hopes of a playoff berth rest on winning the final two games, and that can't happen unless the Eagles take care of business tonight.
The Eagles, who still have a mathematical shot at reaching the playoffs, slim though it may be, host Putnam City North in a District 6A-3 matchup tonight in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Cameron Stadium.
"For us to have any kind of chance we have to win the last two," Copeland said. "That's pretty must how I access in a nutshell, and we can't win the last two without winning this game this week. That's where we are. I know if we lose another game our playoffs hopes are over."
The Eagles, coming off 70-0 spanking of Oklahoma City U.S. Grant last week in a game which snapped a five-game losing streak, head into tonight's game with a 1-4 district record and a 2-6 overall mark. The Panthers are currently in third place in the district at 3-2 and 5-3 overall.
"We're at a point where our focus is on right now, this week," Copeland said. "It's been like a playoff scenario for us for quite a while. I haven't looked at what all needs to happen. I'm sure a lot of crazy things would have to happen for us, but I know the one thing that's going to have to happen on top of everything and that's we have to win the last two."
The Eagles have handled the Panthers in their last two meetings. Last year they posted a 42-26 win over the Panthers and two years ago they escaped Putnam City Stadium with a 41-21 decision. Both those win were against under classed Panther squads. Tonight will be far different with PCN starting eight seniors on offense and seven on defense.
"I think we have had pretty even teams the last couple of years," said Copeland. "We had the good fortune to have a 260-yard rushing game by an individual (Tae Douglas, 262 yards, 3 TDs) and almost rushed the ball for almost 400 yards against them last year. That was the difference, that we were able to run the ball."
Ike's ground game has come into question throughout the season.Notwithstanding a 323-yard game last week against the Generals, the Eagles have averaged a paltry 63 yards rushing against district teams.