COWETA - Tahlequah's defense shined brightly when it had to Friday against Coweta in the Tigers' first road game.
Sloppy play from the offense forced the defense to rise to the challenge and they did just that in a 9-7 win.
"Defensively, we played great," Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said. "We gave up the one big play, but other than that they played a really good game. That defensive staff and the preparation they made for this game tonight was fantastic. The young men went out there and executed at a high level and it was great to see."
Two turnovers, numerous penalties and drops by receivers put stress on the Tahlequah defense throughout.
"Adversity was there throughout the night and our guys continued to make plays and do what they needed to to walk away with a victory," Gilbert said. "Offensively, obviously we have a lot to clean up. When things aren't going well offensively you've got to figure out something. We've got to do a better job as a staff and we've got to do a better job of getting these young men prepared."
The Tigers (2-0) got all nine of their points in the opening quarter. Quarterback Simeon Armstrong capped a 43-yard scoring drive on Tahlequah's first offensive possession with a 3-yard touchdown run.
The other points came from the special teams when Qua'shon Leathers tackled Coweta punter in the end zone for a safety at the 4:18 mark.
Tahlequah's only flaw defensively came when Coweta running back Piper Pennington ran 72 yards for a touchdown with 2:41 left before halftime.
One move Tahlequah made was moving defensive end Travis Davis to the inside to take advantage of his quickness.
"It was just a big team effort," Tahlequah defensive coordinator Keith Wilson said. "The offense carried us last week and the defense carried us tonight. It's nice to be able to do that. It all started last Sunday with preparation, guys watching film, guys practicing and being focused on everything. We had one bust and that was my fault, but overall it was a great performance."
Led by senior defensive end Blake Corn and senior linebacker Dylan Parish, the Tigers forced seven punts and limited Coweta to just 70 total yards of offense, outside the Pennington burst.
"It was just hard fought effort," Corn said. "Defensive players were flying around. We just kept playing our game. We got more aggressive after talks in the locker room. We kept flying around and manned up in this one."
"The big run was a bust and that was my fault for not communicating well," Parish said. "I think we did great tonight as a defensive unit. We covered well, we stopped the run and we stopped a running quarterback who we were worried about going into the game."
Coweta quarterback Gage Hamm threw for 47 yards and was held to minus-1 yard rushing on 12 carries.
Tahlequah senior quarterback Tate Christian completed 21 of 32 passes for 150 yards and threw his first interception of the season.
Dae Dae Leathers, coming off a 266-yard performance last week against Fort Gibson, finished with 143 yards on 27 carries.
Kobey Baker had nine catches for 69 yards to lead all Tahlequah receivers. Tristan King followed with six receptions for 39 yards.
Tahlequah closed with 312 total yards.
The Tigers will remain on the road in their final non-district game against Sallisaw.