Head coach Matt Weber said one of the best things about the 2013 high school football season’s rapid approach is getting back into a routine. And for over two decades, that routine has always included Week 1 preparation for the rival Ardmore Tigers.
Ardmore visits Norris Field on Friday for a matchup pitting the 5A No. 9 Tigers versus the 4A No. 4 Cougars, according to the first Associated Press Oklahoma high school football poll of the year. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“It’s exciting that we’re going to start keeping score now. The tough thing is, we’re playing a very good Ardmore team, a team that has most of their kids back from last year. They’re a year older and bigger and stronger and faster,” Weber said from his office inside the Craig McBroom Football Complex on Wednesday. “We’re excited to be back in game week preparation. Being very routine-oriented, it’s nice to get back where our kids know what’s going to happen every day even before they get here.”
During last year’s trip to Ardmore, the Cougars found themselves involved in a 7-7 tie at halftime before taking advantage of the turnover-plagued Tigers over the final two quarters. The Cougars pulled away for a 35-14 victory.
“They’re a better football team than they were at this time last year, so we’ll have our hands full,” Weber said.
Weber said turnovers and kicking game performance will likely decide the outcome again this year.
“It’s the same thing we would have said last year at this time — winning the kicking game and not turning the ball over. That’s probably the same thing (Ardmore) coach (Doug) Wendel would say,” he said.
“Last year, it came down to turnovers. To me, that was the difference in the game,” Weber recalled. “It was nip-and-tuck. They had a couple promising drives, and we ended up taking the football away from them.”