The Smith-Cotton football team is 0-1 following a 22-7 loss at Republic last week, but head coach Ryan Boyer said there were still positives in the way the Tigers played.
“We were really proud of our kids’ commitment to the gameplan,” he said. “We came out a little bit flat and gave up some quick scores, but nobody gave up. They kept working. We told them, you’re down 13-0 early in the first, they could have rolled over and it could have been a long game, but they stuck together and played our style of ball offensively and defensively and did a lot of things.”
Boyer said the Tigers still need to eliminate mistakes, from penalties to taking plays off.
“It’s little things that are fixable things,” Boyer said. “As a coach, that’s encouraging to see.”
Smith-Cotton will stick with the multi-player rushing attack. The Tigers lost running back Josh Hartman for the season after he suffered his second concussion in less that 365 days. According to MSHSAA rules, he will not return this season. The Tigers now look to other rushing options.
“I thought all of them brought something to the table,” Boyer said. “I was sorry to see Josh Hartman go down with an injury, but the other guys stepped up. We don’t need a 100-yard rusher every game. If we have one, it doesn’t matter who it is.”
Smith-Cotton opens the home portion of the 2014 season Friday against Marshall. It will be the first time the Owls and Tigers have met since 2009.
The Owls fell week one 14-6 at Chillicothe, but Boyer said that is not indicative of the kind of offense Marshall has.
”They did a good job of moving the ball through that whole game,” Boyer said. “There were two or three times they were inside the 10 and just couldn’t put it in. They could have easily been on the winning side of that ballgame.”
While the Owls offense struggled to finish drives, the defense kept them in the game.
“On defense, they played downhill and they played physical,” Boyer said. “They fired out. Their D-line did a pretty good job of firing out and staying low. When your D-line can do that, it frees up space for your linebackers.”