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Tigers on the hunt and ready to pounce in 2020

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

Most squads would be happy with six wins and a trip to the playoffs, but others feel that isn’t enough. That is the case for the Ardmore High School football team, as it knows that the sky is the limit and a state championship is the ultimate goal. 

“I think every coach in the state of Oklahoma is never satisfied and that’s the way we go about it here,” said Tigers head coach Josh Newby. “Our philosophy is we’re never satisfied. We’re going to push to become better coaches and become a better program every year.” 

Ardmore didn’t necessarily have a bad season a year ago with a 6-4 overall record and a 5-2 mark in Class 5A, District 1, but that was only good enough for a top-three finish. 

“Third was a good accomplishment, but we want to do better than that,” Newby said. “Our kids are always pushing to do better.” 

And what helps accomplish that goal is a solid program. That starts with the seniors and the Tigers know it’s best to start molding for the future at a young age. 

“Every time you have a good senior class, it provides leadership,” Newby said. “And if you can sustain that every year, then your program stays in good shape. We’re looking to build that from the seventh grade up.” 

But what matters now is who steps on the field for Ardmore this season and Newby expects a great year from senior Donald May along with juniors Dakaree Scott and Jalen Reed. 

“We’re seeing a lot of good things offensively out of these kids,” Newby said. “Our offensive line is going to be a good unit. We just have to execute when the ball is snapped.” 

And the Tigers already have a good idea of who will be under center when the ball is snapped. 

“I’m very excited about Cal Swanson — he’s an incredible sophomore for us,” Newby said. “He has a good football IQ, so he’s going to allow us to do some different things offensively.” 

Swanson will also have an experienced offensive line to block for him as Newby said most of them played solid minutes a season ago. 

That, combined with an extra week of preparation, should help Ardmore when it opens the 2020 campaign a week later than many teams at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 at home against Ada. 

But when it comes to a contest that the Tigers are circling this season, Newby wouldn’t commit to one. 

“I don’t like circling one because every opponent in this district can beat you on any given night,” Newby said. “So you better have your ducks in a row against our district because Class 5A, District 1, to me, is one of the toughest in Oklahoma.” 

The district features Southeast, Altus, Duncan, Capitol Hill, El Reno, Noble and MacArthur. Ardmore will play the squads in that order, with four of the games on the road.