Tigers on the hunt during road trip to Noble

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

The 2020 season hasn’t done any favors for the Ardmore High School football team as a number of games have been canceled due to COVID-19 or other issues.

That would normally be too much for a squad to overcome, but don’t tell that to the Tigers. They’re still in the playoff hunt and need a win at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 on the road against Noble.

“Our kids are very aware of the scenario — there’s three teams vying for two spots,” said Ardmore head coach Josh Newby. “Ardmore, Noble and Lawton MacArthur are vying for third or fourth. Whoever finishes out the season the best gets that third spot and then the fourth spot.”

The Tigers are currently fourth in District 5A-1 with a 3-2 overall record and 2-2 district mark. Noble is right behind them at 3-5 overall and 2-3 in district. The winner Friday night gives itself the best chance for higher playoff seed.

However, either one could host a playoff game due to OSSAA’s playoff structure this season.

“This year with the play-in round, if you finish first, second, third or fourth, you’ll host a game,” Newby said. “We’d like to do that for our kids and our fans. We’re excited. We just have to finish out the season properly. But I like the attitudes of the kids.”

That attitude was on display last week when Ardmore battled El Reno. The Tigers fell short 34-16, but they put up a valiant effort.

“I think El Reno has one of the best clubs they’ve had since I’ve been in Ardmore and that’s 22 years,” Newby said. “They play really well. They’re very physical at the line of scrimmage. Their quarterback is a difference maker. But I liked the way our kids scraped and played, especially in the second half when we were down. We shortened their lead and then it got away from us right there at the end. But I was proud of the way our kids played.”

Ardmore hopes to carry that effort over to Friday night against a team that has a strong passing attack. Noble showed that last week in a 54-7 win over Southeast.

“I’m very impressed watching Noble on film,” Newby said. “They threw the ball 44 times versus Lawton MacArthur and threw it well. They’re passing game is amazing. We’re going to have to be where we’re supposed to be on defense and do a really good job.”

Only time will tell how the Tigers fare against Noble, but they’ve overcome adversity all season and Newby doesn’t expect that to change.

“This is our first back-to-back game of the season,” Newby said. “The kids have handled it well. We have our best practice of the season Monday. I like the direction we’re headed. We just have to improve and do things right.”