The Tigers opened the season with wins in their first two non-region contests. However, six consecutive losses, including three Region 3-AAAAAA games, placed Douglas County in a decisive deficit.
The Tigers responded to the adversity with a 21-7 win over region foe East Coweta on Nov. 1, giving them the opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 with a home win over Tri-Cities this Friday if East Coweta and Westlake lose.
“We’ve made progress as a program and been in every game this season,” head coach Jason Respert said, currently in his second season with the team. “We knew this would be a developmental deal and we fought to be competitive and change the mindset of the program last year. We’re excited about where we’re going.”
Senior running back Travis Beaird had 73 yards and two touchdowns against East Coweta. He has five rushing scores this season, only trailing Juanya Smith who has seven on the season.
The coaching staff is also optimistic about the development of sophomore quarterbacks Aaron Cauthen and Malik Oliver, who have seen increased playing time.
“We’re looking forward to the younger guys getting better at different positions,” Respert said. “This is an opportunity for them to get live action, getting better by playing on Fridays and live scrimmage situations.”
The defense has improved as well -- giving up more than 30 points in its first four losses of the season but not in the last three games. The improvement has been led by senior Shayne Carey who leads the team with 59 tackles and two sacks.
“The defense has played good all year,” Respert said. “The unit hasn’t given up many total yards and that’s something to build on.”
Respert likes the overall direction of the Tigers’ program.
“Our guys are behaving well in the school building, doing better in academics and keeping their grade point averages up,” Respert said. “We have to continue those things and get better overall.”