Tigers eying league championship

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Straughn Middle School Tigers ready to face Daleville in the league title match. Courtesy Photo

The Straughn Middle School Tigers ready to face Daleville in the league title match.
Courtesy Photo

The Straughn Middle School Tigers have had strong season as they look to cap it off with a league championship when they travel to Daleville on Thursday.

“This has honestly been one of the most fun teams that I’ve ever coached,” Straughn Middle School football head coach Bradley Stephens said. “The season has been amazing. This is a great group of boys that really play well together and they play unselfish.”

The Straughn Middle School Tigers rolled through the regular season with their only loss coming to Daleville 14-12 in overtime.

“We had some chances to beat them the first time we played,” Stephens said. “We came up just short on our two-point conversion, but we also had a chance to win the game in regulation.”

Stephens said that a lot of the team’s success come from how well his boys play together.

“There aren’t many teams that playing together as one unit like this team does,” Stephens said. “ A lot of teams rely on, at most three players, but with this team I know I can count on all eleven that are on the field. One of them is going to make a play to change the game.”

This season on offense, Stephens said the young Tigers have been running a system similar to the one in place at Straughn High School.

“We run a lot of the same stuff that the high school runs,” Stephens said. “On offense, we can do a lot of different things. Our run game has been really good and that has allowed us to be successful on with our play action passes.”

The Tigers have been led by Chandler Mitchell at quarterback.

At running back are, Trey Strickland, Demetric Toney, Logan Olhawa and Bryant Harper.

Tucker Livings has been the tight end and Mason Turner has been the Tigers’ wide receiver.

“When you have the type of players that I have, it makes my job coaching really easy,” Stephens said. “We have been a pretty balanced team this year, and that’s not something you see very often in middle school football. We have really been able to do what have needed to do to win some games.”

The Tigers’ defense come on strong over the past two games.

“These past two weeks our defense has really been strong,” Stephens said. “They haven’t given up a touchdown in the past two games. Against Slocomb, we gave up a little bit on special teams, but the defense didn’t allow them to score.”

Last week, the Tigers shutout Ashford 7-0 in the semi-finals to earn a chance for a rematch with Daleville in the championship game.

“The boys are excited to get another chance at Daleville,” Stephens said. “I don’t think Daleville is going to look at us as a surprise after the we played them tough the first time.”

Stephens said that groups oneness would be the key to the championship game.

“These group is so willing to work together to accomplish what they set out to,” Stephens said. “They have met every challenge that I’ve put in front of them. They are very willing to step up when they need to meet a challenge.”

As for Daleville, Stephens said the Tigers must contain Daleville’s speedy running back.

“They have a very fast running back,” Stephens said. “They are going to try and get him to the outside. We have to play disciplined and we have to play contain. That has been something that we have been really working on this week in practice. We can’t let them beat us to the outside. We have to force them back inside where our linebackers can make play.”

Stephens said the his team will continue to do what got them into the championship game.

“We are going to prepare for more of the same,” Stephens said. “We will add a few wrinkles in our side just to try and give them a little trouble.”

The championship game between Straughn and Daleville will be at 6 p.m., in Daleville.