Smith-Cotton got its first taste of football in Tiger Stadium with a four-team jamboree Friday.
“It was wonderful,” said coach Ryan Boyer. “Getting all of these people out here. It’s kind of our trial run, our dry run. I think it went great. I haven’t talked to all the behind the scenes (people), but if we can get us and three other teams out here and it all go smooth, hopefully whenever we just have one out here it’ll be great.”
The Tigers defense was dominant at times and it helped Smith-Cotton beat Mexico 6-0, Osage 12-0 and tie Eldon 6-6.
“Defense played pretty well,” said linebacker Ricky Warren. “We tried a lot of different people out there. Everyone got to play, which was good.”
Warren recovered a fumble against Mexico for the Tigers’ first forced turnover. Eli Kemp picked off a pass against Osage.
“Defensively, we always stress to fly around and get there with a purpose and those guys were flying around all night,” Boyer said.
Mexico wasn’t able to get into the red zone against the Tigers. Osage was able to get a pass interference call on its first play, but failed to reach the 20-yard line as well.
The defensive hiccups came in the third game against Eldon, when the Mustangs used the running attack to gain yards and got Smith-Cotton defenders out of position on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Eldon’s quarterback scrambled to the right and threw all the way back to the left to create enough open space for the receiver to run to the end zone.
“That’s a learning point we can build off of,” Boyer said. “You’ve got to stay at home and you never know when it’s going to be coming your way like that.”
The offense was able to be balanced in the run and pass games during the three matchups.
Caleb Reed completed a 15-yard pass to Blake Jackson against Mexico and Noah Aziere had a 17-yard run during the drive. Warren capped it off with a 1-yard score for the only points of the game.
“The line did really good,” Warren said. “The line always does good. I think our blocking schemes are really good.”
Against Osage in the second game, Reed connected for a nine-yard completion to Jackson and scrambled around for a 19-yard touchdown run.
Backup quarterback Jaden Kendrick found Brice Pannier in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass to end the game.
Aziere tied the game at 6-6 against Eldon with a six-yard touchdown run.
After a solid start to the season, the Tigers will still see where they can improve before they host Republic next week.
“Right now we can perfect our plays more,” Warren said. “You can still hustle and you can always go harder. I think perfecting the plays and fixing the little things are the main things.”
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.