Tigers use strong defense play to pitch shutout in opener

By Austin Bishop
Winston County Journal

While openly admitting there were some things his Tigers could have done a little better in their season-opening 28-0 win over J.Z. George on Friday night, Noxapater head football coach Casey Orr said he likes the improvement he saw in his team.

“We had some good spots and some bad spots,” Orr said. “I was impressed with how we played defensively. We came out expecting one thing from then offensively and they gave us something totally different, but we did a good job of making the adjustments we needed to make.”

Orr said his Tigers broke some big runs at times, but looking at film he said the offensive line needed to make some positive strides before Noxapater plays host to East Webster on Friday night at 7.

Noxapater huddles up.

Noxapater huddles up.

“I still think we have a long way to go on the offensive line,” Orr said. “We have some good skill guys and when you are watching the game they can make your O-line look good. Then once you watch the film you realize it was a lot more because of your backs than the blocking,”

Noxapater’s first score of the night in the road win over JZG was set up by a punt by Keonte Daniels that was downed on the 1-yard line. On the ensuing play Jalen Eichelberger, Tyreekus Maul, and Vonta Woods combined to make a tackle in the end zone for a safety.

Noxapater got good field position following the free kick and Woods scored on a 31-yard run to put the winners up 8-0. Woods finished the night with 52 yards rushing, while Daniels had 75 and LaPatrick Maul recorded 65.

The Tigers, now 1-0 on the season after starting the 2014 campaign 0-2, stretched their lead out to 15-0 in Friday’s road win on a 25-yard touchdown pass from James Hunter Stalcup to Donovan Hickman, who had a big game for Noxapater with with four receptions for 100 yards.

“He is a bigger bodied receiver,” Orr said of Hickman. “He gives us a dimension we didn’t have last year.”

The last two Noxapater touchdowns came on a 4-yard run by Stalcup, who passed for 102 yards on the night, and a 19-yard run by LaPatrick Maul.

Austin Yates led the Noxapater defense with nine tackles, while Hickman picked up seven.

The Tigers face a tough opponent in MHSAA Class 2A foe East Webster on Friday night.

“We are aware of how good they are,” Orr said. “Our kids know that it is going to be a heck of challenge, but we want to face good teams and get better at what we do. I tell our kids not to run from anybody. We are going to see what we can do and get after it.”

East Webster opened is season last week with a 48-6 win over Vardaman.