Gridiron elsewhere

Tigers prepare for competition in new district


Kaitlyn Rogers

Senior wide receiver Myles Washington attempts to break away from a Kilgore defender. The Tigers play the John Tyler Lions tonight at Tiger Stadium at 7 p.m.

Story by John Morgan, sports editor

161. 155. 171. These numbers may seem random, but for the football team, they will play an important role in determining the course of their season.

Each number represents the mileage of the Tigers’ three remaining away games as they prepare to tackle their new district. With tougher opposition and potentially grueling travel, the rest of the season will pose challenges both on and off the field.

Led by 6A dropdown John Tyler, strong contenders in McKinney North, Mesquite Poteet and West Mesquite, along with Sherman and Wylie East, the Tigers will have their hands full in this new alignment. Many of these teams possess unique talent and have garnered experience from playing in the Dallas area.

The Tigers are used to rolling over their competition on their way to a playoff spot, but this season, each game will wind up as a battle that could go down to the last minute.

“Being more physical is the most important thing,” senior linebacker Nick Graves said. “As far as execution, we just need to stay focused and start making tackles.”

The Tigers have had an up and down start to their season as they opened with big losses to 6A program Pflugerville Hendrickson and 4A Kilgore but garnered crosstown victories over Arkansas High and Liberty Eylau.

“It’s all about momentum,” senior running back Chris Sutton said. “We’ve got some games under our wing now. It will be important to get better week by week.”

The offense has begun to find their rhythm as senior quarterback Coltin Clack and Sutton have established themselves as viable weapons. A more consistent rushing attack has allowed for the passing game to open up in the secondary.

“Recently, we have benefitted off of our defense,” Sutton said. “When they force three-and-outs, we can rally off that [on offense].”

The defense has their fair share of initial struggles as early on, they were prone to let up big plays to fast-paced offenses. However, they have begun to tighten up these holes and look to continue progressing as district play approaches.

“We just need to quit with a lot of the silly mistakes we’ve made,” Graves said. “We played pretty smart against Arkansas High and Liberty Eylau, but we just missed too many tackles.”

The Tigers look to start strong in their new district as they face off against John Tyler at Tiger Stadium on Friday night at 7 p.m.