Straughn’s Chase Short hands off to Nigel Byrd during the Tigers’ win over W.S. Neal in week two. | File photo

One game at a time

Published 12:03am Thursday, October 11, 2012

Straughn starts important 3-game run tomorrow

From here on out, especially for the next three games, the Straughn Tigers are taking it “one game at a time.”

SHS head football coach Trent Taylor said beginning with this week’s homecoming game against Excel, his team is going to boggle down and focus on the task at hand — getting better every game — from a fundamental and physical standpoint.

For more than a week and a half, the Tigers have battled an illness that swept through the team, where three players were playing sick or just getting over it in their 27-17 loss to Bayside Academy last week.

Taylor said his team’s health is his top concern right now.

SHS (4-2, 3-1 in Class 3A, Region 1) is playing a Panthers team who is 1-5 overall this season.

“Obviously, you’d love to have a non-region game for a homecoming game, but with the way the region is set up that’s pretty difficult to do now-a-days,” Taylor said. “Our kids know what they’ve got to do the next three weeks (against Excel, T.R. Miller and Opp). We’re not guaranteed anything. Yet, we still control our own destiny. That’s a much better place to be at where we were a year ago.”

A year ago, the Tigers had to rely on other teams to scoot into the state playoffs when they were in Class 4A.

According to current statewide region standings, SHS is in a three-way tie at 3-1 with W.S. Neal — who they beat in week two — and Bayside Academy, who’s only region loss came to T.R. Miller in week four. Opp is at 2-2 in the region and will likely be a contender for a spot.

“It’s still a very, very tough region,” Taylor said. “We’ve got three tough ones coming up.

“Excel, from a record standpoint, has not achieved what they want to achieve,” he said. “But, golly, to be honest, they’ve got good-looking kids. They’re big on both sides of the ball. Their running back is a good-looking, bigger-than-average-sized running back. We can’t get too caught up in the fan fare (of homecoming). We’ve got a job to do Friday night. I think our kids understand that.”

Taylor said despite the loss to the Admirals last week, the team had a good practice on Monday, usually a light day for the Tigers.

“It was probably the best Monday practice we’ve had,” he said. “There seemed to be a lot more focus there. Hopefully, they’ll continue throughout this week.”

And focus has been a topic of importance for SHS, something Taylor said he noticed the team lacked in the second half of last week’s loss.

“We played well for a half and we dind’t play so well for a half,” Taylor said. “A team like Bayside and with these next three, we can’t do that (play good one half and bad the other). We have to play four quarters — be focused during the week at practice and be focused on Friday night.

“Some of the mistakes we made last Friday night were proabably because we weren’t as focused as we needed to be at practice,” he said.

When asked if he thinks the learning curve heightens after a loss, Taylor said the players are more attuned to accept what can be improved on the field.

“We’ve lost two football games this year,” he said. “I think in both situations (the 16-14 loss to rival Andalusia and last week’s loss to the Admirals), we have reevaluated some things. The old saying goes is that you learn a whole lot more from a loss than a win.There’s a lot to be said. I think you do. I don’t want to garner anymore losses.”

Unfortunately though, when it comes to the playoffs, there will be one quality team packing up their bags and heading home after the end of the regular season, Taylor said.

“We just don’t want to be that one team,” he said.

Kick off tomorrow night at Straughn Tigers Stadium is at 7.

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