When the Ardmore Tigers took on the Durant Lions last season, the start was anything but great for Ardmore.
Durant jumped out to a 17-0 advantage in the first half, which shocked the Tigers fans at Noble Stadium.
Ardmore would eventually storm back for a blowout 48-17 victory, but Tigers coach Josh Newby will not be hoping for a similar start at 7:30 p.m. Friday night when these two teams meet at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant.
“Durant has a great senior quarterback (Cade Buchanan), and he was the reason why we were down 17-0 last year,” Newby said. “He’s really got a lot of poise in the pocket and has been delivering the ball down the field well again this season. The mature teams over the years at Ardmore High School have gotten off the bus and gotten after it. We’re going to have to get off the bus Friday night and get after Durant, because there’s no re-tries this week.”
Last season at Noble Stadium, Buchanan finished 17-of-29 passing for 149 yards against the Tigers.
One big difference for Ardmore this year will be they won’t have their leading rusher from last seasons contest against Durant in Chantz Scurry, who torched the Lions for 126 yards on nine carries with four touchdowns.
Instead the Tigers will be relying on the current crop of seniors which include Tero Roberts. Eean Ross and Jadrein Monroe, who all had solid games last week in the opener against Ada.
Roberts finished last week with six carries for 38 yards while going 3-for-5 passing for 25 yards. Ross totaled nine carries for 52 yards, while Monroe had 10 carries for 51 yards with one touchdown.
However, the Durant Lions had anything but a solid opening to the season last week against Class 4A Poteau.
Pirates senior quarterback Jett Pitchford torched the Lions to the tune of 17-of-27 passing for 400 yards and six touchdowns as Poteau won 51-6. Junior running back Easton Francis also made life difficult for Durant as he totaled 111 yards on 16 carries.
Perhaps Ardmore’s second biggest opponent last week was mental fatigue as cramping began to take its toll during the second half against the Cougars.
Coach Newby said that he and his staff have been emphasizing to their players how important hydration and the proper preparation is this week on the road.
“We were sloppy late in the second and third quarters last week,” he said. “We’ve addressed those issues and gone over with our players about what they need to eat this week and what they need to be hydrating themselves with. We want to see how our kids handle certain situations with life on the road, and I think we’ll see an improvement from last week this week.”
The last time a Tigers team made its way to Durant was in 2016, when Ardmore came away with a comfortable 28-0 victory.
Durant’s last win in this series came in 2013 in Durant when the Lions won a low-scoring 9-7 contest.