In a playoff preview, 7-1 Lawton Mac and unbeaten Chickasha mixed it up at Hampton Field Friday night. Mac got out with a tough 3-2 win and Chickasha's Riley Winham went down with an ankle injury.

Chick coach Dave Kunitz described the Highlanders as the team to beat on the west side and the match was very well played on both ends. The sides matched up extremely well and the level of play was over the top.

Mac scored first at the 31 minute mark on a through ball from Brandt Hennessee to Justin Cleland. Cleland struck it left-footed to the far post from just inside the eighteen.

Chickasha got the equalizer on a flurry of activity in front of the Mac net with seven minutes left in the half. Four short shots were hammered in and rejected before Drew Parr found an opening and slid the ball in from the back side.

Two minutes later Mac went back up on a cross from Joel Riffel to Ron Todd on the back door and the score held through the break.

Winham got the equalizer with a tremendous individual effort halfway into the second half. The junior split the defense, juked the final defender and took a hit. Keeper Tyler Chouinard came out and deflected the ball over his head and to the corner post with Winham in pursuit. The ball hung for what seemed like an eternity as the Mac defense reacted but it came down just in time for Winham to bury it before the defense could recover.

Three minutes later, though, the Chicks' leading scorer got his feet tangled up with a Mac defender fighting for a loose ball and both crashed to the ground. Winham didn't get up. His cleat had stuck in the grass and the Highlander player fell on his leg with his ankle bent the wrong way. After a quick check, Kunitz carried his guy off the field and ice was applied.

The match continued and Lawton got the eventual winner on a run by Cleland two minutes later. Cleland threaded his way past two defenders and got a point-blank shot off on keeper Jacob Hibbard before the weak-side defense could slide over and pick him up.

The Chicks tried to rally for the equalizer but the Mac defense held them off for the important district win.

The Highlanders showed class and respect when most of them came over to the Chick sideline after the match and wished the fallen Winham well.

“We'll see you in the playoffs,” they said. “We hope you're okay.” You could tell they were sincere.

Lawton's win locks them in at 8-1 with Chickasha as the battle for the top spot heats up.

It doesn't get any easier. The Chicks travel to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for another big district match. The Redskins went into Friday's action also at 8-1 and are very much in the mix. This match should be very similar to the tournament win over Guymon, another team that plays small and very quick. More than likely, Winham won't be available that quickly, even if the injury proves to be minor.

Thursday, Chickasha will be on the road again to Altus.

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