Tigers out to cage Eagles

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2002

A trip to East Brewton is on the schedule for the Straughn Tigers this Friday as the Class 3A, Region 1 squads square off in an important game with playoff implications. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The No. 4-ranked Straughn Tigers enter the game with a perfect 7-0 record overall and a 5-0 record against region opponents. The W.S. Neal Blue Eagles enter the game fresh off a win versus Calhoun with a 4-3 record overall and a 3-2 mark against region opponents.

Straughn Head Coach Trent Taylor reported no injuries to any of his players as the Tigers hope to remain perfect on the 2002 season.

Taylor said the Tigers must play well Friday night in East Brewton in the Blue Eagles' brand new stadium to remain undefeated. He said the 2002 edition of the Blue Eagles is not unlike the usual W.S. Neal team with talented players at the skill positions and a ton of speed.

"The key will be stopping their tailback, Alphonso Gross," Taylor said. "He can go. Their quarterback is a senior this year and he has been starting since he was a 9th-grader."

Taylor also said he was proud of the way his squad played last week against Elba. He said the 7-0 score was not a true barometer of the way the game was played.

"I think we're getting better offensively," Taylor said. "We had some mistakes last week against Elba. All three mistakes came when we were about to score and that made the score look closer."

The offense will have to avoid mistakes this week against the Blue Eagles because W.S. Neal needs a win on Friday.

"To be honest with you, W.S. Neal has a lot to play for because they are on the bubble," Taylor said. "Neal has to know Clarke County has Calhoun this week and will get a win."

The Tigers, however, also have a reason to be motivated.

"The motivation for us is if we win we know we are at home for the first round of the playoffs," Taylor said.

The Straughn coach also said he does not expect his players to look ahead to next Friday night's big game against the currently undefeated Pike County Bulldogs.

"Not this bunch," Taylor said when asked if was worried about his players looking ahead. "This group just has a real business-like approach."