Tiger Football’s Postseason Outlook
1. Home Field Advantage
The Tigers will have the possibility of playing at Br. Thomas More Stadium through the first three rounds of the playoffs after winning the district for the first time since 2009. It is notable to point out the Tigers are 4-0 at home this season, and have won by an average of 25.5 points per game.
When the districts were realigned, the district of St.X, Male, Manual, PRP, and Butler was quickly named the “Super District”. This year, District 3 boasts three teams in the Top 10 per the Litkenhous Ratings (oddly enough, Male is still ranked ahead of us) and PRP has jumped back and forth from the group. So winning the district and securing home field advantage is a pretty huge momentum boost and tell of the team’s ability.
2. The Ground Game
The rushing attack has been the focal point of the offense from the first game, seen by Sam Taylor’s 260 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Lexington Catholic. Since then, Taylor has gone on to eclipse 1,000 yards for the season and could very well pass 1,500 yards by the time it’s all said and done. Factor in quarterback Desmond Ridder and now the Tigers very well could have two 1,000 yard rushers on the season. To round out the backfield, fullback Mack Blincoe has been silently had a great year as well. However, the running game starts in the trenches, and luckily, the Tigers have one of the best offensive lines in the state. Led by senior Joe Lyons (who just returned from a knee injury) and junior Wyatt Smock, they have been a force up front and have helped lead a rushing attack that averages well over 200 yards per game.
Coming into the season, Coach Wolford and Co. knew they would have a very strong senior class and a lot of returning starters from the previous season. In all, the Tigers had 13 returning starters and others who had seen the field fairly often. Many of these players have gone through the emotions of the playoffs, and all of them will tell you the gut-wrenching feeling they got last year. None plan on having it again. Minus Blake Roshkowski and kicker Sam McDonogh, experience will be a huge advantage for the Tigers as they hit the main stage.
4. Defense Wins Championships
The Tigers’ Defense has performed at a high level all year and there are a few games, specifically the Male game, that didn’t look so good for the Tigers had the Defense not stepped up. The defensive line stands out as the arguably the best position group on the team. The likes of seniors Max Willinger, Kyle Robinson, and Ryan Adams have wreaked havoc on opposing linemen all year. Junior Andrew Uhls has also provided valuable depth for the core of the defense.
Rounding out the rest of the front seven, outside linebacker Braidon Washburn has stepped up into a huge role this year. He’s the guy you’d want to go to war with and is tough as nails. Last game against Cincinnati St.X he was playing through an illness. He responded by nearly returning a fumble recovery for a touchdown and making some players look silly. Lastly, the Tiger Secondary has been vastly underrated this year. They held a Male passing attack, supposedly the most lethal in the state, in check. They have also constantly made their presence felt as run stoppers, delivering some of the biggest hits in every game.
5. It’s Just About Damn Time
Since the Tigers won their first state championship in football in 1956, they have not gone longer than eight years in between another state title. Well, it’s the seventh year without another state title, and if history is a good indicator, then the Tigers look pretty set to win it all.