After weeks of preparation and multiple days enduring the sweltering Oklahoma heat, the beginning of the 2018 football season is finally here for the Ardmore Tigers.
Ardmore will begin its quest for a sixth state title in program history at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Noble Stadium when the Tigers host the Ada Cougars for their annual rivalry game.
Neither of these teams participated in week zero, and will be taking the field for the first time this season Friday night.
“It’s always good to start the year off with Ada,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “They have a rich tradition and went to the Class 4A finals last year with a tremendous coaching staff. I’ve seen a very good offensive scheme from them. They use a lot of motion, which is what you expect from a two-back offense. We need to be ready.”
The last time these two teams met was in the opening game of the 2017 season, when the Tigers marched onto the campus of East Central University and handed the Cougars a 37-14 defeat.
Ardmore held a 34-0 advantage and even led 37-0 early in the fourth quarter last season.
Ada would begin the season with two straight losses, while Ardmore would win eight of its next nine games before dropping the season finale against Lawton MacArthur.
There aren’t many fond memories for the Cougars from their last visit to Noble Stadium in Sept. of 2016 when the Tigers crushed Ada 40-7.
In fact, one would have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last time the Cougars won against Ardmore, with the victory happening on Aug. 31 of that year in Ardmore.
The Tigers will be looking for production out of running back Eean Ross, who torched the Cougars to the tune of 13 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown last season.
As a team, the Tigers totalled 61 carries for 452 yards, and didn’t pass the ball one time against Ada.
Ardmore will find itself on the road the next two weeks following their home debut against Durant (Sept. 7) and McAlester (Sept. 14).
The next home game for the Tigers will be the district opener against Lawton MacArthur on Sept. 21.
“We had two good scrimmages against Shawnee and Lawton,” Newby said. “But there’s always things we’re trying to improve on. Our kids know this game could give us some momentum. We know Ada is going to be well prepared so we need to match that intensity.”