Tigers look to rebound after stinging loss

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Brad Waggoner's goal as Luverne head coach this week?

Get his Tigers to focus on first-round playoff foe Vincent and not last Friday night's 19-14 loss to Brantley.

&#8220They hurt. Like they should,” said Waggoner. &#8220But I think these kids are smart enough to realize that if they don't rebound against Vincent then they'll be sitting at home next Friday night.”

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Waggoner, coaching in his first Brantley-Luverne contest, said the atmosphere at Glen Daniel Stadium on Friday night was unbelievable.

&#8220It was a good game and a great atmosphere, which is what you expect when two good teams play each other,” he said. &#8220It all came down to who made the plays.”

The Tigers were up 14-13 at halftime, but the Bulldogs responded with a 12-play drive that consumed much of the third quarter and ended with James Pittman's 1-yard touchdown plunge. That proved to be the game winner for Brantley.

&#8220Our defense played well in the fourth quarter,” said Waggoner. &#8220We forced a turnover and had about three chances to score. You have to give Brantley credit for stopping us. When you have a chance to score, you have to do it and we didn't get it done.”

Waggoner's initial thoughts on Brantley going into Friday night's game was that the Bulldogs would be the best team Luverne had seen this year.

He hasn't changed that conclusion.

&#8220There's no question,” he said. &#8220They are the best we've played so far and well-coached.”

However, the first-year head coach feels the Tigers will face a significant test against Vincent. The Yellow Jackets were able to forge a three-way tie for the Class 2A, Region 4 title last weekend, beating Calera 20-16.

&#8220I really think we really received an unlucky draw,” said Waggoner. &#8220They had a three-way tie and came in third, but honestly, I think Vincent was the best team out of that region.”

Waggoner said the Yellow Jackets remind him of Highland Home, a team that beat Luverne earlier this year.

&#8220They've got a quarterback who is real athletic and runs the ball out of the shotgun a lot,” said Waggoner of Vincent's Steven Adams. &#8220Plus, he's a senior and experienced. We'll have to play our best game to win.”