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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Tigers' offense finding its groove

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  • The Ardmore Tigers embark on the longest road trip of the season tonight to take on District 1-5A foe Altus. Friday's trip away from Noble Stadium is the third of the season. “I've been on one trip this long, that was to Pryor, and we won the game,” Ardmore coach Doug Wendel said. “That was the second round of the playoffs. This is only our third road trip of the year. It doesn't matter where or who we're playing. We've got to line up and be ready play at 7:30 p.m.” Altus is 2-6 overall and 2-3 in district play, but Wendel said the Bulldogs' record doesn't tell the whole story. “We need to win the physical battle up front at the line of scrimmage, both offensively and defensively,” Wendel said. “I think they're a lot better than what their record shows.” Sophomore running back Taven Birdow is dangerous out of the backfield with 1,387 yards on 169 carries for eight touchdowns. Birdow has attracted the attention of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. “I think they have the best running back in the district,” Wendel said. “They're tougher at home than they are away. We're in for a big challenge. They haven't seemed to put four quarters together. But, I think they're a very dangerous team.” The triple option offense led by Birdow, and a stout defense should make for a tough challenge for the Tigers. “Their offense is hard to stop and the defense flies around a little bit,” Wendel said. “They've hurt themselves with some turnovers. But, they play some good special teams. They've returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. It's going to be a challenge. We're looking forward to seeing if we can overcome that.” Ardmore's defense has played well over the past few games. The Tigers snagged five interceptions against Capitol Hill and, statistically, are the best defense in Class 5A. “We're not going to give up very many points and we have a lot of speed out there,” Wendel said. “I have no doubt that our defense will be ready to play.” Offensively, the Tigers will have Jarred Hall under center for the third straight game. Wendel said the offense has improved in each game with the freshman at quarterback and expects the unit to start clicking like the defense as the regular season comes to a close. A win on Friday puts the Tigers in the driver's seat for the district title. Lawton McArthur heads to Ardmore next week with one loss in district play. But, win or lose, the final game of the regular season will decide the district title. “We've done everything we can to keep the kids focused on Altus,” Wendel said. “I don't think we'll overlook them because that back is pretty good. He's a specimen.”
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