By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tiger football team (3-3, 0-1) knew they were facing a tough match against Bushland on Friday evening (Oct. 11) to open up District.
In the end, they fell short 58-14 against the undefeated Falcons.
“When you look at it, our last four games, our opponents are a combined 23-1,” said Head Coach Jeff Caffey. Of the four teams – New Deal, Coahoma, Post and Bushland, only Coahoma has a loss, which was against the Tigers.
The struggle showed in the first part of the game.
“We didn’t play a very good first half. We had too many miscues, too many blown assignments, and they were good enough to make us pay for it. Where some teams that have been on schedule, their make us pay for it was 10-15 (yards). Their make us pay for it was a touchdown,” he added. “Once we kind of got it down, it took us a half, but once we got it down we played a better half, and going into this week I think it’s going to be a good thing.”
The Tigers’ two touchdowns were on long yard runs. Kevondrick Gober scored on a 70 yard run, with Zephron Ortiz running it in for the two point conversion. Quevon McDaniel added to it with a 75-yard run, but the extra point missed.
“They showed heart the entire game offensively, even though at times they were getting hit in the backfield, and they didn’t let their emotions get the best of them. They kept trying to plug away and do what was asked,” said Caffey.
“We had some offensive linemen (play well) – as a unit it’s hard to point out any certain one – that showed much improvement which is good for us. We had a few defensive backs take their job a step further.”
Bushland had a total of eight touchdowns and one field goal in their win.
On the night, the Tigers rushed 33 times for 232 yards, made two of six passes with no interceptions and had 17 yards receiving. They also punted seven times for an average of 32.4 yards.
This week, the Tigers return home to face the River Road Wildcats.
“They’ve had a complete philosophy change offensively. They were a spread team last year, and this year they’re 80 percent run off the wing T, and you don’t see that kind of change very often. But because of that they’re allowing less points defensively and they’re scoring a few more points offensively so they’ve got some confidence right now that they haven’t had in the last three years,” said Caffey.
“So when you face teams like that, when they have a little bit of that extra in them they’ve never had … you’ve got to stand up to them and say no, not tonight.”
Caffey’s looking forward to the match – and the rest of the season.
“I feel encouraged going into the next four district ball games, and I think our kids have a great opportunity to finishing in a higher spot than we were last year as long as we do what we’re coached to do and compete at a high level I think we’re in good shape,” he said.
The Tigers will play Friday (Oct. 18) at Tiger Stadium. The game starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students.