By Chuck Williams
Corsicana Daily Sun
Three things showed up at the regular season finale at Tiger Stadium on Friday night: character, special teams and an aerial threat.
Needing some momentum heading into the playoffs, the Tigers closed their beautiful stadium’s seventh season with a victory over playoff-bound Jacksonville.
Helping to seal the deal was junior kicker Ryan Condley. Condley hit Tiger field goals No. 1 and No. 2 of the season and they came at a fitting time.
Facing a menacing wind, Phil Castles called on Condley to kick a 36-yard field goal into the wind with: 01 left on the first half clock. A tall order for Condley, but his kick crawled over the cross bar to give the Tigers an 18-17 lead at halftime and momentum heading into the locker room.
Condley’s second kick almost didn’t happen. In the fourth quarter, the Tigers needed to finish off a drive with something to show for it. Again, Castles called Condley’s number.
This time the wind wasn’t the issue, but getting the snap off almost was. With time running down on the play clock and holder/quarterback Zach Rash pounding the turf so hard to call the snap that I thought he was going to damage his throwing hand, long snapper Cedric Weaver snapped the ball with: 01 on the clock.
“We had a delayed snap called,” Weaver said. “But I didn’t know there was only one second on the clock when I snapped it.”
Condley nailed the kick and the Tigers clung to a 28-25 lead.
“The first one gave me some confidence,” Condley said. “I just had to focus on the next one and hope we got the snap off.”
The Tigers were put in the position to allow Condley to come through in part because of the arm of Rash. Rash had his best game of the season, and continued to master the art of throwing the fade in the end zone. Rash hit Ashton Newsome in the left corner of the south end zone for a critical third quarter touchdown.
On the night Rash was an efficient 11 of 18 for 138 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions.
What shouldn’t get lost is the effectiveness of the big fellas up front that allow for all the good offensive things to happen. If I were giving out an award for MVP of the season, I’d hand it to the offensive line. The group up front is incredible.
Following the game, Castles thanked the kids on the field for their character and for the ability to tough it out during a season filled with adversity.
“To all of you sitting here, your character has showed all season, and your character showed up tonight in the fourth quarter,” Castles said. “I’m proud of the kids that fought through the adversity and stuck it out this season.”