By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tigers’ game against the Coahoma Bulldogs Sept. 20 could be summed up in one sentence.
“It was a battle,” said Head Coach Jeff Caffey.
In the end however, the Slaton Tigers came out on top 28-26 against the Coahoma Bulldogs during the Tigers’ first away game this season.
Caffey said it was a physical battle the first half. “When you go to someone’s place you’ve never been before, it’s going to be more of a battle than what you think, and no matter what you tell the kids, they have in their head a preconceived idea,” he said. “But our kids played hard. They faced some adversity two weeks in a row and we continue to grow, and that’s going to be helpful to us going into District play.”
The Bulldogs struck first, scoring on a 42 yard pass in the first quarter, then allowed it up with a 10 yard run in the second.
Slaton answered back in the second when Kevondrick Gober caught a 35 yard pass from Laz Galindo, followed up by an extra point by Tae Thompson to make the game 14-7 at the half.
Then, things turned around for the Tigers.
Gober again scored a touchdown on a 49 yard run. Zephron Ortiz ran the ball in for a two-point conversion, making the game 15-14 at the end of the third.
“(Kevondrick had) his best game of the year. He was that spark right there at the end of the second quarter that got us points on the board,” said Caffey. “After that, everybody’s tempo kind of picked up and the rest kind of fell on him and Zephron Ortiz. Both of them made some plays that allowed things to open up.”
Ortiz would score in the fourth on a 21-yard run.
Gober added to his total in the fourth, running the ball in to make the score 28-14.
Coahoma would score two more runs, but did not make the extra point and failed the two-point conversion attempt in either score, sealing the win for the Tigers.
Part of the win also could be attributed to good defense, which Caffey said they have been playing rather well. “We played good defense all year long. Sometimes our defense is on the field too long, but when you’re playing tough teams that tends to happen,” said Caffey. “So considering what they did offensively with the size they have I thought we played rather well, and that’s a good thing for us moving forward.”
On the night, The Tigers ran 37 times for 238 yards and completed 7 of 12 passes with no interceptions.
Receiving, the team had 124 yards and punted five times averaging 32.2 yards.
This week is the “War on 84,” when the Tigers take on rivals the Post Antelopes.
“I know it’s big for both communities. Last year we beat them for the first time in seven years, and just the pride and everything that comes with it for both communities and towns is unreal,” Caffey said, adding it now feels more for the townspeople than team.
“Yeah, it’s Post, they want to get up and they want to play but where in the past the players weren’t friends, the towns weren’t friends… Now it’s big for the communities, and the kids know it and they respond well to it, but it’s going to be every bit of a big ball game and so I’m kind of interested to see how our kids respond.”
He hopes the game isn’t dramatic either way. “I think it’s going to be every bit of what it should be, and it’s going to be a close ball game, hard fought ball game because neither one wants to lose for their town and their people there to support them,” said Caffey.
The Tigers continue their game Friday in Post at Antelope Field. Tickets are for $4 for adults and $2 for students.