Gators beat Leland to win DVC and finish perfect at 8-0
By Andy collier
Sports Editor, The Bolivar Bullet
The Northside Middle School Gators ended up finishing the football season undefeated as they triumphed over the Leland Middle School Cubs 26-12 in the Delta Valley Conference Championship game on Oct. 24 at Lit Parker Evans Field in Shelby.
The Gators finished the year with a perfect 8-0 record. Eighth grader Javarious Hickman and seventh grader Martavious Robinson led the way for Northside.
The Gators were dominant in every game they played this year as they won every contest by 14 points or greater and outscored their opponents 278-68. That translates to the team scoring 34.8 points a game, while yielding just 8.5 points a contest.
Northside Middle School Head Football Coach Ricardo Tigler was complementary of the school as a whole in laying a foundation for the players to succeed.
“One thing I can say is there’s a lot of support for academics and athletics here,” said Tigler. “The kids did a great job of buying into what we were trying to do. Me and the other assistant coaches work really well together. The kids bought into the culture that we’re trying to create here. They played with heart and did a really good job for us.”
On defense, the Gators had just two games where they gave up more than eight points.
Tigler said one thing that helped was the relationship he and the rest of the coaching staff have with Northside High School Head Football Coach Montrelli Finley.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the system Coach Finley wants to implement, and we try to run the same thing,” said Tigler. “He does a great job with the high school defense, so our defensive coordinator (Jamal Pates) just sort of follows his lead with the middle school. We were able to keep people at bay. It has a lot to do with the collaboration we have with the high school head coach and our defensive coordinator. Everybody kind of works together, and we can all coach the same thing. That really works well for us.”
Finley was excited about the work the junior high football team did this season.
“I’m so proud of Coach Tigler and those kids,” said Finley. “Watching them from the first game, I knew they had something. A lot of those kids are really physical. I’m excited about the middle school program and the direction it’s going. We had some kids that stood out. Coach Tigler and Coach Pates did a really good job of putting those guys in a position to be successful and win. They did a really good job at putting up points and stopping people.
“You can’t say enough about the job Coach Tigler has been doing with the middle school and putting the offense together and mimicking some of the things that we do on offense on the high school team. That’s big when they move up, because they won’t have much to learn. They can just step right end, because they already know what’s going on.”