The Stanfield Tiger football teams postseason hopes come down to one game. For all the ranking hoopla the OSAA uses to determine playoff brackets in other sports and classification, its quite simple for the Tigers.
Win, and theyre in.
Stanfield faces the Enterprise Outlaws Friday night in Stanfield in a game where the winner will advance to the playoffs while the loser will have to watch from the stands. The once-undefeated Tigers have lost three consecutive games to drop their record to 5-3 and put themselves in this position.
Stanfield head coach Steve Sheller said the morale on his squad is high despite the losses.
Our guys are feeling confident, he said. Weve run into some good teams these past few weeks. We havent been able to execute some of the things we needed to in order to win.
Sheller said the Tigers effort has been good, and he wants that to continue as they attempt to earn a playoff berth.
Our focus is always on attitude and effort, Sheller said. If we take care of those things, the outcome usually takes care of itself.
The Tigers best effort will be needed Friday as the last two meetings between the Enterprise and Stanfield have been decided by a total of two points, with Stanfield winning last years contest, 35-34.
Its always a great battle when Stanfield and Enterprise match up, Sheller said. I expect more of the same Friday, given everything that will be at stake.
Sheller said the Outlaws offensive attack starts with the running game. Stopping it will be critical for the Tigers.
Weve struggled at times on the defensive side of the football this season, but our run defense has been a bright spot, he said. We need to control the line of scrimmage against their running attack if we want to win.
The Outlaws havent shown much in the passing game this season, but Sheller said he knows Enterprise is capable of a strong passing night.
Last season, they hardly showed any passing all season, Sheller said. Then they came out and threw it well against us. We have to be ready for them to do that to us again Friday.
In response to a potential Outlaw passing attack, Sheller said the focus this week in practice will be in the defensive secondary.
We need to become more disciplined in the secondary, he said. We havent executed our defensive game plan very well this season. Thatll need to change this week.
The Tigers are coming off a tough 66-29 loss to the Grant Union Prospectors Friday night.
The Prospectors jumped out to an early 16-0 first-quarter lead before the Tigers climbed back into it with two scores of their own to make the score 16-14 Prospectors at the end of the first quarter. The game remained close throughout the first half with the Prospectors holding a slim advantage at halftime.
I think we kind of shocked ourselves, Sheller said. Im not sure we totally believed we could compete with them. We were a little wide-eyed out there.
The Prospectors turned it on in the second half and ended up winning the game by 37 points.
Sheller said the score wasnt indicative of his teams performance, and he saw a lot of positives from his club.
We had a good night offensively, he said. Grant Union has only given up 88 points all season. Twenty-nine of them were to us.
Sheller said he his team needs to play with more confidence in its ability.
We need to have more confidence when we play good opponents, he said. We are a good team. Now its about stepping off the bus knowing that we can compete with anybody whos lined up against us.
The Tigers will look to end their three-game skid when they play host to the Outlaws, 7 p.m. Friday in Stanfield.