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Tigers finesse game before season opener

By Melissa McCaghren

Slatonite GM

The Slaton Tiger football team honed the skills they learned from practice and their first scrimmage last Thursday (Aug. 22) as they played the Snyder Tigers in Slaton.

Head Football Coach Jeff Caffey said he saw “a lot of pluses” come out of the second scrimmage.

One of these was through the players. “The kids were excited to be there, and that made things really good,” he said. “They rose to the challenge that week after facing Abernathy, and it’s a good sight to see. That shows good things going into our first ball game this week.”

Caffey said there were a lot of highlights during the game as well, especially playing against Snyder’s Varsity team.

“I think we gave up maybe three first downs and scored quite a bit, everything was clicking on the same page  on across the board,” he said of both scrimmages. “I saw a lot of pluses, but there are things that we need to get better at to ensure a week one victory.”

That first challenge starts with the Sanford-Fritch Eagles on Friday.

“They’re a Panhandle team and if you know South Plains Panhandle football, you know north of Tulia things get tough,” said Caffey. “Last year they were very scrappy, very physical, it was more of a dog fight than our kids realized.

“So playing them for the second time they remember what that was like and that’s something early in the season we need to see,” Caffey added. “We need somebody who’s going to fight to the bitter end, that way we get better.”

He is looking forward to seeing how the team plays this week and what they’ve learned.  “We need to eliminate week one mistakes,” said Caffey.

“It was obvious in both scrimmages we improved in a lot of areas, but also Slaton can’t beat Slaton this week,” he added, referring to penalties, turnovers and missed assignments the team made in the first two scrimmages.

In addition to learning from mistakes, Caffey said he was wanting to see another improvement on the team.

“For me it’s consistency. The more consistent we are, the more likely we are to put it to them,” he said.

He is appreciative of the support this year.

“Going into this (season), we’ve had great support from our school and our town, and we hope to put a good product on the field so everybody wants to be there and attend and be loud and be excited,” he said.

“I think it’s a good week to keep that tradition open and have everybody at Tiger Alley on Friday Night.”

Last Thursday was also Pride Night, where they announced the Varsity team for the 2019-20 season. The athletes had dinner and listened to speakers Carlos Bentancourt, President of the School Board, and Oscar Solis, who shared their time at Slaton High School and experiences.

Caffey, who chatted at the Lions Club meeting Monday afternoon (Aug. 26) about the day said there was a good response from players during the event, and the responses shared felt more heartfelt than before. “They’ve grown together, he said.

The Slaton Tigers Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Tickets are general admission, $4 adults, $2 students. Non-school age kids ages 4 and younger are free.

Reserve tickets are $5 and are available for purchase at the business office.

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