By Melissa McCaghren
It may have been fall break and a bye week for the Slaton Tigers, but Monday afternoon the team was out on the field for practice.
Their goal? To get ready for their District opener against Bushland on Friday (Oct. 11) in Bushland.
The Tigers (3-2) will have a tough challenge facing the undefeated Falcons.
Football Head Coach Jeff Caffey said the team has been preparing to vie for a chance to compete for playoffs.
That started with practice during bye week.
“Last week we went back to working on some fundamentals to help get better,” he said.
“We’ve upped our ante, we’ve pushed them in conditioning. We’ve pushed them in the weight room. We’ve tried to challenge them and see if they’d meet the challenge,” Caffey added. :I would say that we have, the amount of improvement we saw after the Post game was good. It was a good sign to see, and I think they’re ready.”
Now, the stakes are higher as they enter District 2-3A play.
This holds true with their upcoming game against powerhouse Bushland.
“Bushland has lots of tradition. They’re very well coached,” said Caffey, referring to Bushland’s Head Coach Jimmy Thomas.
“Offensively they can be explosive, but you’ve got to make sure you’re playing fits what they do and execute it, the second you don’t execute it is the second they can hurt you. Defensively they like to put a lot of pressure up front.”
But the team is ready for the challenge to accomplish their dreams and goals.
“The second season has started and our kids have set their goals not only to making the playoffs but trying to win the District title,” Caffey said, adding they have advanced to playoffs the past two years. “We had a good week, they took those steps, now they have to go apply it and show everybody they’ve gotten better.
“To me that’s the biggest deal is improvement going in to District play. That’s a whole different world, there’s a lot on the line, and our kids recognize that and they don’t want to be the group to let that go.”
Caffey admitted it would be a challenge to win the District title, but said the team is quite able to achieve their goals.
“To win this District title, in District 2, you’ve got to beat some people that normally we don’t beat and these are the games that we have to learn how to win,” he said.
“When we learn how to win the big ones like Bushland and Shallowater, that’s when we’ve earned ourselves a place at the table and it’s time to show them we’re capable of doing that.”
Area school Roosevelt will also play its District opener this week, while Wilson and Southland continue their season. All four teams will be away this week.
Southland will face Patton Springs for their home opener at 7:30 p.m. in Patton Springs.
Wilson will open its season against Rule at 7:30 p.m. in Rule.
Roosevelt will open its season against Colorado City at 7:30 p.m. in Colorado City.
The Tigers will be playing in Bushland at Falcon Stadium, 999 FM 2381 in Bushland. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students.