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Tigers fall to powerful Cordova

The Luverne Tigers fell from the ranks of the championship race last Friday night in Glenn Daniel Stadium as Cordova defeated the Tigers 34 to 7.

The Tigers just came up on a very good football team, but give the devil his due– the Tigers are a good team also. It was just one of those any-given nights, and it wasn’t the Tigers’ night. The Tigers’ lone score came in the fourth quarter as they dodged a shut-out as Ryan McGhee scored on a 9-yard run and Cody Chrzastek added the PAT. The score ended a 5-play drive that covered 76 yards.

The Cordova Blue Devils racked up 454 total yards offense, while Luverne managed 223. The leading rusher for the Tigers was Ryan McGhee with 172 yards and 1 TD.

On defense, Ryan Waters and Cody Smith had 8 tackles each.

“We didn’t get off to a very good start and pretty much dug a hole for ourselves,” LHS head coach Les Sanders said. “ Playing a good team like that, you just can’t dig a hole and get out–they were just better than we were Friday night.”

“Our kids played as hard as they could, and that’s all you can ask,” Sanders said.

The Tigers went further in the playoffs this year than anyone had given them a chance to. They were written off that first night in Brundidge, but most didn’t know the power of the Red Cats and their determination.

But Luverne’s drive started a long time ago in August, as they worked for a dream. On the night of the first game, part of that dream was fulfilled as they knocked off arch rival Brantley in a game that was not as close as the score showed. LHS rolled off six more wins before hard times hit and they lost three in a row. But on the night of the tenth game, the Tigers seemed to come together in the second half against county rival Highland Home. They went on to win that game, and claim their first county championship in seven years.

The Tigers then claimed three more wins in the playoffs as they defeated unbeaten Pike County, then once-beaten T. R. Miller, and then the number one team in the state, the unbeaten Trinity Wildcats. Then came Cordova and the dream came to an end, but not without its rewards.

The Tigers enjoyed an overall 10-4 season record this year. The Tigers’ last chance at the state championship title came in 2003 when they lost to Randolph County and claimed the AHSAA Class 2A State Runner up title.

“I’m real pleased with how we finished up,” Coach Sanders said. “There was one point in the season where the kids had a chance to give up whenever we had three straight losses, but they didn’t give up—they persevered, and look how far it took us.”

“I really want to thank the Luverne faculty, staff, the administration, and all our fans because they played a big part in supporting our kids and helping them to get as far as they did,” he added.

“We’ll be losing 15 seniors for next year—those young men had a lot to do with the success of this season,” Sanders said.

These Luverne Tigers played their last game in Tiger Red last Friday night: Tevin White, Ryan McGhee, Brandon McGhee, Seth Wood, Adam Foster, Evan Richardson, Monterio May, Lance Brooks, Devin McGhee, Dranarris Lovejoy, Lenny Brooks, Michael Norman, Cody Smith, Paul Lesley, and Isaac Sanders.

They went out on a sad note with Friday night’s loss, but they can say for the rest of their lives, “We beat Brantley our senior year.” Congratulations to the Crenshaw County Champions of 2009.