Tigers looking to iron out mistakes ahead of first round playoffs

Nov. 7—Often in sports people think that the team on the other side is the reason you are going to lose. Tahlequah Football Head Coach Brad Gilbert heard recently that teams are more likely to be the reason they lose than they are to win.

With a first-round playoff game on the horizon, Gilbert has been using this mindset to lead his Tigers against Putnam City. So far this season the Tigers have had some situations where they have shot themselves in the foot and let games slip away from them.

"Make it a point of emphasis, point out what we can't do and what we have to do. there are things we must do and must not do to be successful," Gilbert said. "If you look at some early games, it was a clean game it made it competitive and we won some of those. I heard a coach say 'Teams lose more games than they win,' just because of the little things that they don't do correctly."

In the regular season finale, the Tigers fell down early to Bartlesville and weren't able to get back on track. Going into the playoffs, Gilbert knows that the Tigers will need to iron out those early mistakes.

"Our focus is ourselves and continuing to iron out those things. We know if we play a clean game not only will it be competitive we will have a chance," Gilbert said.

Going into the showdown with PCHS, the Tigers are in a similar position. For the last couple of years, the Tigers have gone into the playoffs with a 3-7 record and this year is no different.

Coming into the playoffs with the same record gives Gilbert and the Tigers some experience in the task at hand.

"We are in a better position this year with a better district record," Gilbert said. "When you win you are a confident team and when you don't you aren't. We need some things to happen for us early and that is something we are focusing on to give them the belief."

By clinching a berth in the playoffs, the Tigers have now clinched a spot in the State Tournament for the past 10 years. Despite this, the Tigers are still looking to reach new heights. This year's squad is looking to become the 12th to win a playoff game and the seventh to make the quarterfinals.

"Experience is a great component to all teams the more you have the better you will be," Gilbert said. "We have some things in front of us that have not been done often. There are some added incentives ahead of you. A win Friday gives you another game, but it also gives you more time to practice with your young players and that is very valuable."

The Tigers and PCHS kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 at PCHS.

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