By Melissa McCaghren
Slaton faced a tough opponent in the Littlefield Wildcats Friday (Oct. 25) at Wildcat Stadium.
In the end, the Tigers (1-2 in District) came up painfully short, 40-38.
“It was everything we advertised it to be,” said Head Football Coach Jeff Caffey about the game. “We knew it was going to be a war on both sides of the ball, and it showed in the score.”
That said, he added the team never gave up, not even at the end.
“They fought and they fought and they fought. We just had a few mistakes in there that cost us right there at the end,” he added. “But you know, those are the things that happen in big ball games – either you rise to the occasion or someone else is going to rise for you and we just had a few miscues from beginning to end that caught up with us.”
The team had a rough start in the first quarter, when Littlefield scored twice, on a 32-yard run and one-yard run.
Slaton however responded in the second when Kevondrick Gober scored on an 11-yard run, with Zephron Ortiz helping with the two-point conversion.
The Wildcats would return the favor with two more scores – a one-yard run and 26-yard run.
But, the scoring wasn’t over yet. Matt Vigil scored a TD on a pass from Laz Galindo, and Ortiz scored on a one-yard run in the second inning. Tae Thompson scored the extra point for both touchdowns.
The Tigers further added to their scoring when a Littlefield player, on receiving the kickoff in the field of play, ran into their endzone and kneeled, which gave Slaton a safety.
In the third, both teams scored a touchdown, the Wildcats on a 22-yard run and Ortiz with a 42-yard run.
Galindo would score in the fourth on a two-yard run and Littlefield would make the final score on a 63-yard pass.
Overall, Caffey said there in spite of the loss, there were a lot of positives from the game. “We had some good offensive line plays as a unit,” said Caffey, adding Hudson Sackett also stood out in the ball game with his receiving. He received four times for 42 yards.
“We didn’t have many turnovers, which is always a plus, and that’s an area of improvement from last year,” Caffey added. “The second half our defense as a unit played better. Now we slowed them down, made them punt and all that other, so I was proud of the way we responded.”
On the night, the team rushed 35 times for 183 yards. Galindo made 13 of 19 passes with one interception.
The team had 187 yards receiving and punted only twice for an average of 36 yards.
This week is against the Muleshoe Mules, and the last home game for the season.
That said, Caffey and the team are focused on the game. “In the heat of District play, all games are big. This is our senior night at home, and I think it’s going to be a good one,” he said. “You win this one you’re in and you put yourself in a spot to potentially be in a three way tie for second.
He doesn’t underestimate the Mules either, who are currently 0-3 in District.
“It’s a big ball game, and they’ve not had much success, but we know we’re going to get everybody’s A game because they don’t want to lose to us.”
Caffey encouraged the community to come out and support the team Friday. “We need all the positive we can get. We love fans in the stands, and y’all play a bigger role in this than what you understand,” he said, adding this included fans, band, cheer and others.
“We appreciate all the support, but this is one we need you.”
Slaton will host its final home game of the season Friday (Nov. 1) at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for children.