By Whitman McGee
The Neville Tigers rolled into Minden for a rematch of last year’s quarter-final playoff on Friday night. And unfortunately for our Tiders, the result was mostly the same as The Tigers shut out MHS, 30-0.
Before the game started, Tide starting quarterback Andrew Cooper was ruled out due to what would later be revealed as a nagging shoulder injury.
Sophomore Jakobe Jackson was next up, chalking up his first career start at QB against some steep competition.
Jackson showed real promise with his composure and resolve. Many would shy away from competing against a team full of players bound to make it to the next level, but he stepped up and gave the town of Minden something to get excited for down the line.
It’s not easy to be a “glass-half-full” type of person after a 30-point loss until you dig a little deeper and realize that a bruised and battered Tide squad held one of the best teams in the state to only four scores and a safety.
It has felt at times throughout the season that Minden has beaten themselves up and lost their composure before a game could even reach its conclusion.
Things were different against Neville, Coach Spencer Heard explains. “I thought they played for each other. There was a lot of really good comradery going on; I heard a lot of positive talk and encouragement amongst players.”
Heard also noted that his group wasn’t paying attention to the scoreboard and that they gave 100 percent effort from beginning to end.
Running back Daylen Robinson continued his tear of efficient play, even against a stingy Tiger defense, tallying up 68 yards on 13 carries.
Minden recovered four fumbles and stayed away from yellow flags all contest while pressuring the Tigers into 12 penalties that cost them 115 yards.
Injuries are never a good thing, but because key players are missing time, freshmen and sophomores have gotten in reps in which they may not usually see at this point. Coach Heard says that will definitely pay off down the road.
Alluding to Andrew Cooper’s shoulder injury, Heard told The Journal, “It’s been nagging him since the Mansfield game.” Heard added, “He really wants to play and the plan is to have him back next week.”
The Tide will surely hope to have their leader back as the season fast approaches an end with the possibility of post-season play still up for grabs.
Special thanks to Mark Chreene and KASO/KBEF radio for providing The Journal with stats from the game.