By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tigers had a tough challenge Friday (Sept. 13) when they faced the defending Class 2A Division I State Runner-up New Deal Lions.
The Tigers lost 21-14 in the match, but Head Coach Jeff Caffey still saw a lot to be proud of.
“I thought our kids played hard,” he said. “I thought it was a good clean game. I didn’t see anything or experience anything bad from either side.
“You know when you’re in tight ball games against traditional powers for the area, they’re going to be tight, and so you’ve got to find a way to win a tight ball game. I think we learned some lessons that will contribute to that down the line in district play.”
New Deal struck first, scoring in the second quarter on a two yard run.
The Lions would follow that up in the third with a 15-yard pass for a touchdown.
Slaton however, was not going to concede defeat.
Laz Galindo scored in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run into the end zone.
The Lions responded with another touchdown in the quarter on a 12-yard pass.
Again, the Tigers were not deterred from trying to overcome the Lions.
Quevon McDaniel received the ball in the following kick off, running it back for 79 yards for a touchdown.
Caffey said that moment was powerful for the team.
“That was a momentum changer when Quevon returned that kick off (return) for a touchdown. Momentum was on our side, and I thought that was (a) game changing moment, and he’s done well in the past three ball games,” said Caffey.
“He’s stepped up and made things happen, not just for him but others around him and that change of momentum of a game.
“We had our opportunities after that, we just didn’t capitalize on them.”
The Tigers rushed 35 times for 159 yards, and made eight of 14 passes with no interceptions. They also received for 117 yards and punted three times for 32 yards.
Caffey said this Friday’s (Sept. 20) road game against the Coahoma Bulldogs will be a good test for the team.
“Coahoma is a pretty good team. They’re 3-0. I think for our first road game it’s going to be a good challenge. They’re a well coached, well disciplined team and last year when we played them I thought they were just as disciplined,” he said.
“But I think they do some things that we can take advantage of and our kids will see it pretty quick and when stuff like that happens, it can be a good thing and I think it’s a good first road challenge.”
Practice has also changed slightly to try to help the team.
“This week we’ve decided to change up our practice plan a little bit, not just after school but during the period trying to give them a different change of pace,” Caffey added.
“We’re going to stick with what we do best because that’s the only way you’re going to get better, but at the same time if you can change a few things up and I think the change in routine a little bit will help.
“Other than that we’ve just got to get a little bit better every day on some fundamental stuff and we’ll be all right.
The Tigers continue their season against Coahoma at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Coahoma High School, located at 606 N. Main St. in Coahoma. Tickets at the stadium are $5 for adults and $3 for children.