Tigers complete season with high expectations

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Straughn’s end to the 2011 season went a lot better than expected, Tigers head football coach Trent Taylor said.

The Tigers lost to second-ranked Dadeville 34-14 in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs, but Taylor said that the team played better late in the season when it needed to.

“We performed a whole lot better than we even anticipated,” he said. “It was obvious that we did show some improvements. We think our kids were finally getting the grasp of it — even some older players as first-time players on the field.”

The Tigers finished their season 6-5 overall. Straughn earned a berth in the playoffs when the Tigers beat Ashford 25-8 in week nine, and Alabama Christian Academy — who the Tigers beat earlier in th season — beat Hillcrest-Evergreen the same week.

Straughn opened the season with a victory over Geneva, and then fell to St. James the next week to start region play. The Tigers then went on to beat Alabama Christian Academy 34-7, fell to Hillcrest-Evergreen 27-26 in over time, and then went on to claim wins over Opp and Bullock County in weeks five and six before falling to rival Andalusia 37-3.

The Tigers lost the next two games, beat Ashford in week eight, and then finished the regular season with a 41-27 victory over Daleville at home on senior night.

Taylor said this year’s group of players would tell you that they accomplished something special this year.

“While we didn’t break any records far into playoffs, as a whole I think they overachieved and they would tell you where we underachieved,” he said. “I still attribute that to being (a) young (team), and a lot of those guys will be back (next year). We’re excited.”

The Tigers went back to work last Tuesday on their off-season program, and its start went real well.

“They responded,” Taylor said. “We’re doing things a little different this year. We divided the team into eight different teams, and having them be responsible for one another.

“They picked teams last Monday, and since that time, we really like the direction we’re headed,” he said. “We’ll reward winning teams once every five weeks, and before football starts in August (2012), there will be one composite winner.”

As of right now, the Tigers will have in upward of 10 seniors on next year’s football team.

Taylor said if there is one certainty about next year’s team is that it will have the experience to play well each Friday night.