Things did not go as planned for the Oakville Senior High School varsity football team in its season opener Friday night, as the Tigers fell 10-6 to the Parkway South Patriots.
All things considered, though, the Tigers fared pretty well after having to change their game plan dramatically, according to head coach Arlee Conners.
A few hours before the game, Conners learned the Tigers’ quarterback was unavailable to play.
“It was definitely a unique situation for us … He wasn’t able to play, so we had to improvise,” the coach said. “We made our receiver our quarterback and it was just one of those deals where, you know, we just had to do the best with what we had.
“And I thought our guys battled big time, but I think that in the situation that we were in … there were just too many mistakes that came from that and it was just too much to overcome.”
Arsante´ Conners, usually a receiver and middle linebacker on defense, was given the job of quarterback Friday.
“He is a go-to receiver for us, and without a true quarterback, we had to use the best guy we knew that could run our offense and he did the best he could,” the Oakville coach said of Arsante´ Conners. “You know, we didn’t expect a whole lot, but he did go in there and battle …
“He ran the ball well and we did have some bad snaps that didn’t help our cause. But like I said, the overall effort from the team was still good … This was a whole unique situation for all of them.”
Parkway South scored early in the first quarter, around the 10-minute mark, but after the Patriots’ initial drive, Oakville’s defense wouldn’t allow them to see the inside of the end zone again, stopping them twice from within the 5-yard line and giving up just a field goal late in the second quarter.
“The defense was outstanding. They were put in a tough situation all night long,” Arlee Conners said.
The Tigers came back from halftime ready to take the game back, and they started to with a touchdown by Arsante´ Conners midway through the third quarter, narrowing the score to its final number. Things almost went the other way when D’Juan Reaves found the end zone in the fourth quarter, but the touchdown was called back.
“It was a tough one, but those guys really battled and they were one call away from winning the game,” Arlee Con-ners said. “We scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but we were stuck with a high-low call … The ball just didn’t bounce our way.”
Oakville is spending the week preparing for its conference rival Eureka, which has had the Tigers’ number in recent years. Arlee Conners said the Tigers will definitely adjust their game plan.
“We need to continue the effort that we had tonight for sure. That was definitely a winning effort,” he said. “We need to clean up some of the mistakes.
“Now that we have the opportunity to know what we are working with, we’ll get a chance to find out what we can truly do with it …We’ll get some opportunities to practice it. So it won’t be just in a game situation where we have to do it and that will help us, too. So I expect a better showing for sure next week.”