Tahlequah coaches and players exited their locker room in Sallisaw last week in silence. The general appearance was shell-shocked following a 45-28 loss at Perry F. Lattimore Stadium.
The Tigers, though, didn’t let it carry over into practice this week, head coach Brad Gilbert said.
“We’ve had a really good week of practice,” he said. “This week presents the beginning to the road to the playoffs.”
That excursion gets kick-started tonight against Grove at Ridgerunner Stadium at 7 p.m.
Goal No. 1 for the Tigers is shutting down Grove quarterback Jake Spychalski.
“He’s the key to their offensive game,” Gilbert said. “Our philosophy is to slow him down, and that should limit their offense.”
To counter Grove’s offensive attack, the Tigers will have to conjure up one of their own. Luckily, they have a quartet of weapons to choose from now.
Against Sallisaw last week, the Tigers racked up 444 yards of total offense, thanks to quarterback David Dick and running back Brandon Conrad, who combined for 294 yards on the ground.
“We do have kids that can make plays,” Gilbert said. “David and Brandon both had really good games last week.”
Both Dick and Conrad had touchdown runs of more than 65 yards.
Toss in running back Colton Wright and wide receiver Kourt McMillan, and Tahlequah presents a challenge for opposing teams the rest of the year.
“We think we have guys who can create things when the ball is in their hands,” Gilbert said.