Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

November 9, 2012

Fort Gibson hosts Oologah in long awaited home playoff game

FORT GIBSON — Tonight when the Fort Gibson Tigers take the field tonight at Leo Donahue-Tiger Stadium, it will mark the first home playoff game for the Tigers in 13 years.

The last time the program hosted a playoff game was in 1999 when Fort Gibson defeated Grove 35-29 in the Class 4A quarterfinals. Tonight’s opponent will be the Oologah Mustangs in the first round of the 4A playoffs.

“We scrimmaged them before the season started so we know a little about them from that,” said Tigers’ coach James Singleton. “Brandon Craig (Oologah coach) does a great job with that team. They finished third in Wagoner’s division  (4A-3) and they’re not a typical third-place district type team.”

The Tigers (9-1) enter the game coming off a 49-42 win over Sallisaw in which Fort Gibson trailed the Black Diamonds 21-0 after the first quarter. Oologah (6-4) closed the regular season with a win over Catoosa 44-34, a team the Tigers beat 35-32 in the third game of the year.

“They’re big and physical up front,” Singleton said. “They’re balanced on offense and run a lot of play-action passes and they don’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Both the Tigers and Mustangs prefer to move the football on the ground. Fort Gibson averages 278 yards rushing while the Mustangs are at 175. Through the air the Tigers are averaging 93 yards per contest while Oologah 81 yards per game.

“We’ve been trying to preach to the guys that this is just a game,” said Fort Gibson offensive coordinator Greg Whiteley. “We can’t get the guys too hyped up.

“We’re thrilled to be here, don’t get me wrong. We’re one of 16 teams that didn’t have to check in their gear last Monday. Those teams would love to swap positions with us.”

Last Friday against Sallisaw, Jake Gandara set a school rushing record with 397 yards. Earlier this season, Wagoner’s Lawrence Evitt ran for 408 yards with six touchdowns against the Mustangs and Whiteley said that’s like comparing apples to apples.

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