November 21, 2013

Tigers face old enemy in Plainview playoff rematch

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


This is what playoffs are all about.

On their individual paths to greatness, high school football teams face hurdles that just don't exist in the regular season, and there's a good reason for that. A winning season takes all the effort, but a state title takes even more. Tuttle and Plainview will be asked to give even more when they face-off in a rematch that has many high school football fans in the state foaming at the mouth with excitement.

Opening night saw the Indians come out on top 19-14. A touchdown with minutes to go sealed the Tigers' fate. Now in the postseason, head coach Phil Koons and his Tuttle players have the opportunity to exact a revenge of epic proportions.

"Hopefully we're a little stronger and more aggressive," Koons said. "I think we have gotten better. We've got a few kids in different positions to help shore things up."

The Tigers know Plainview's game. Quarterback Taber Jordan and running back Austin Carrera will share the load of an option running game. Jordan did throw for more than 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns last year, but the focus has gone more toward the ground game this season. Of all the adjustments they could make, Koons said he's still not crazy about the idea of his team having the advantage.

"I don't really buy into there being an advantage," he said. "I hope we perform better, but they're undefeated so they're obviously doing something right. They've got a good one-two punch with their quarterback and their tailback."

That's not new to Tuttle. They knew that would be the case when the teams met back on Sept. 7, much like Bethany knew Tuttle would bring a running game centered around Jesse Gregory last week but failed to keep the Tigers from scoring enough.

"We knew what they were going to do," Koons said. "The fourth quarter, they just ran over us. We were in a position to make plays, but didn't make a tackle or didn't get off a block. We need to play harder and play more sound."

Either way, it's a match up that's expected to be one of the best on the night. Perhaps the only thing that could ruin such an occasion is the weather. Freezing rain and a potential wintry mix are supposed to plague the area by Friday morning, and how long that will stay around and on the ground is up for speculation. Ardmore is just out of the range of the wintry weather according to forecasts, and Koons is optimistic the game will go ahead.

"We'll play in sleet, snow," he said. "I don't like coming back for Saturday games. Short of lightning, I think it'll go ahead."