11-0 junior Tigers vie for state championship
Published 11:45 pm Friday, November 11, 2016
It’s been 11 games and 11 victories for the Greenville peewee 11-12-year-old football team, who now preps for a championship game tonight at 7 p.m.
Better still, according to head coach Adam Simmons, is that the Tigers have been challenged along the way by not only opponents, but themselves, as well.
“We haven’t lost a game, but we have been behind in a game,” Simmons said. “The only game we were behind was against the team we’re playing for the championship, the East Montgomery Longhorns. From start to finish, getting better each week was our goal. Winning was not the focus for this year—my goal was to get them ready for middle school, and preparing them for the next step.”
To that end, the team has implemented the same offense and terminology as the middle school team, and even runs a condensed version of the same high school Tigers scheme.
With this method, popularized by other successful programs across the state, such as Prattville, Simmons is playing the long game.
“So when they do get to the middle school, they’re just fine-tuning their fundamentals,” Simmons added. “If the kids already have the same terminology and they’re used to it, then that just puts them a step closer to the ultimate goal; for me, that’s winning a state championship in high school.”
The Longhorns will prove the final, and also possibly the toughest, obstacle in the Tigers’ path to a championship.
Though the Tigers proved victorious in the teams’ previous meeting, they did so while overcoming some degree of adversity. A few starters were benched for a quarter due to disciplinary reasons in the classroom, which led to the Tigers heading into the locker rooms at the half trailing.
“Things are going to go wrong in a football game, just like in life,” Simmons said. “How do you react? Do you lay down, or get back up and fight again?
“We learned more about ourselves as team in that game than in any other this season.”
The Longhorns are a changed team, as well, as they overcame a No. 2 seed Wetumpka team to claim their spot in the championship game.
Though the Tigers are similarly playing their best football of the season, coming off of a 27-0 shutout over the Millbrook Mustangs.
Regardless, Simmons and the Tigers know that it takes more than talent to win a football game.
“Anybody can lose on any given day,” Simmons said.
“We’re not going to be able to show up and just win football games. We’re going to have to work hard as a team, and ultimately I think we’ll be successful if we do those things.”
The Tigers and the Longhorns will square off at Prattville High School’s stadium tonight at 7 p.m.