• 79°

Tigers whip Opp 35-12 to open Waggoner era

Brad Waggoner's ceremonial baptism by Gatorade was about as surprising as Luverne's 35-12 whipping of the Opp Bobcats, according to the first-year head coach.

"And it was cold, too," said Waggoner, following his celebratory bath by Tiger players.

It was an unexpected night, said Waggoner. The offensive line, a big question mark coming into the season said Waggoner, gelled and dominated the Bobcats to the tune of 242 yards on the ground. Junior tailback Fred Hawkins consistently found holes and finished with 138 yards on 16 carries, scoring on touchdown runs of four and 15-yards.

"They played a lot better than I thought they would," said Waggoner of his offensive line. "They played well. I'm excited for the kids. It was nice to come into somebody else's place and win. I'm sure we made a lot of mistakes, but we played with intensity throughout the game."

Another surprise? The Luverne defense. The Tigers held the Bobcats to six first half points and a long touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Hawkins and Rometrius Harris each had six tackles and Cory Oliver added five tackles.

Harris also had an interception for the Tigers' defense.

Luverne led 22-6 at halftime.

"Defensively, we played with nine guys who'd never stepped on the field," said Waggoner. "But they played all four quarters."

And senior quarterback Ryan Brown played like a senior, said Waggoner. Brown was 5-of-8 for 101 yards, all to receiver Rod Rutledge, who also had a touchdown pass from Brown.

"We knew coming in that Ryan's play was going to be one of our keys on offense," said Waggoner.

Brown also scored a pair of touchdowns himself, from five-yards out and on a 1-yard quarterback sneak midway through the third quarter.

Prior to Friday night's game, the Tigers had lost three straight to Opp, including last season's 19-16 overtime loss.

Luverne's first region game is Friday night against Marbury.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.