Football Tigers hope to clip Flyers’ wings in matchup for district title

By Jeff Stalhut

With a 24-13 win over the Parkway South Patriots Friday night, the Oakville Tigers football team is in a great position to advance out of its district and move to the Class 6 quarterfinals.

Oakville, 6-3 overall and 2-0 in districts, only needs to defeat the defending Class 6 runners-up Lindbergh and the Tigers would be in the playoffs.

While that might be easier said than done, it should be noted that the Tigers could advance even if they lose to Lindbergh so long as they keep the margin to 10 points or less — and Northwest loses to Parkway South. Tigers Coach Jerry Maulin knows the situation, but would prefer not to worry about tiebreakers.

“Lindbergh is a tough opponent,” he said. “We understand that, but we’ve got to go in trying to win the game. We’re not even considering the points.”

If the Tigers can play the way they did Friday against South, they may not have to worry about the points at all. In that game, they were dominating — especially on defense, where they forced five Parkway South turnovers.

“Our defense was able to pressure them, and our defensive backs did a great job,” Maulin said. “We were hustling and I think did an outstanding job.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers were paced by their tandem backfield of Reggie Ward and Dan Graham, who combined for 130 yards rushing. In total, Oakville had five ball carriers combine to rush for 192 yards led by Graham, who ran for 79. Ward, meanwhile, tacked on 51 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 6 and 16 yards.

“Reggie and Dan complement each other very well,” Maulin said of his two backs. “They run hard and do a good job. They’ve been very steady.”

Now the Tigers must focus on the Flyers, who are just as pleased that Oakville won as are the Tigers. Without the Oakville win over South, the Flyers would have been done for the year. Now that Oakville has given Lindbergh life, the Tigers must go out and finish the job. The Tigers, while excited that they are in a good position to win, are not looking ahead.

“There is some cautious optimism,” Maulin said. “But we’re handling this well. The kids have both feet on the ground and know that they’ve to go play a good team.”

Despite Northwest and Parkway South both having been eliminated, their game does have some meaning — if Lindbergh defeats Oakville.

Should the Tigers win, they advance, and if Lindbergh wins by 11 or more, the Flyers advance. Those two scenarios are simple and the most likely, but if by chance Northwest should upset South, Lindbergh can advance with a win of any kind against the Tigers — by any margin.

Lindbergh and Oakville will play for the district championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.