Football Tigers knock off SLUH 27-20

Oakville to host Mehlville Friday night

By Robert Chalupny

Fan optimism is high and all signs point to a successful postseason run for the Oakville Senior High School varsity football team.

The Tigers knocked off SLUH 27-20 Friday night in a come-from-behind win to defeat a team that has got the best of them the last few seasons.

The win was the fourth straight and the 6-3 Tigers have plenty of momentum as they prepare to make their postseason run when they host Mehlville Friday night. Earlier this season, the Tigers prevailed over the Panthers 35-23.

Against SLUH, the Tigers fell behind early in the contest, giving up 14 points in the first quarter. But they started to wage their comeback in the second quarter and beyond, eventually putting up 21 unanswered points.

Oakville head coach Arlee Conners told the Call that fighting through adversity is nothing new for his squad.

“I think our kids again found a way to persevere and dig it out again at the end, something they’ve been doing all year long … When your back is against the wall, you got to come out swinging,” he said.

SLUH beat the Tigers by more than 30 points last year and also ended their playoff run in 2011, so the Tigers wanted to get a little revenge.

“It was a good win, especially when we have a lot of our kids that like to transfer from our middle school and go to high school at SLUH. And it’s good to go out there and have a good game against those guys,” Conners said. “Because those guys know that Oakville is a good place to play and a good place to go to school. But more than anything, I think it was just us trying to make sure we take care of our own business.”

The Tigers are poised to continue their winning streak and Conners said his team has been building itself up all season long.

“I think it’s definitely good to go into the playoff situation on a winning note, you know, the guys have confidence in what they are doing,” the Oakville coach said. “They feel like what they’re doing is the right thing and producing wins.

“I think as far as team improvement, I think we’ve fought all year long. I think our effort has always been very good. I think now we are just fine-tuning our execution. I think … the difference going down the stretch is being able to execute and minimize the mistakes.”

The Tigers will need to focus on not turning over the ball deep in the opposition’s territory, according to Conners.

“We get some bad bounces sometimes … Some of those games we turn the ball over deep in the opponents’ territory, giving them an opportunity to score without having to work for it,” he said of the recent come-from-behind wins. “But we just need to focus on what we are doing and executing, and, like I said, minimizing those mistakes and turnovers …

“We just have to take care of our business and force teams to beat us and play solid football.”