Ardmore's football players are getting used to riding the bus. For the third time in four weeks, the Tigers will hit the road to play a game.
This week, Ardmore will travel to Arab to face off against the Arabian Knights in a Class 5A, Region 8 matchup.
“We're the road warriors,” Ardmore coach P.J. Wright said. “Just like we knew we were going to be at the start of the year. We're used to it. We're 2-0 on the road and 0-1 at home, so hopefully the road success will continue.”
Ardmore started its season 2-0, but struggled mightily in its region opener against Scottsboro last Friday. The Tigers were down 41-6 at halftime before making a comeback in the second half and falling 41-27.
Wright said Scottsboro came into Ardmore's stadium with a chip on its shoulder after suffering a 42-7 loss to Fort Payne the previous week.
“I can tell you it wasn't so much us as it was them,” Wright said. “They played angry. They played more physical, and played like a team that had gotten beat the week before and did not like it. They hit us in the mouth and we didn't respond every well.”
Wright hopes his team can have that same attitude when it faces off against Arab. Ardmore defeated Arab 33-24 last season, but the Arabian Knights are a much different team with a new coaching staff in place after struggling to a 1-9 record last year.
“It would not be a bad idea to come back and show (our players) the Scottsboro film,” Wright said. “I'd like to see us play the way they played against us. We need to have that same chip on our shoulder. We need to be upset and really play angry and play violently, the way Scottsboro played against us.”
Wright said this week of practice has been a tough one as the coaches and players are trying to get the bitter taste of last week's loss out of their mouths.
“The kids are embarrassed by the way they played, as well as the coaches,” Wright said. “We coach hard every week, but the last couple of days we've coached them especially hard and the kids have responded well.”
While Scottsboro dominated Ardmore with its strong offensive and defensive lines, Arab doesn't possess the size and strength along the lines of scrimmage, which might bode well for the Tigers.
However, Wright said his defense will have to watch out for Arab's quarterback and receivers, who have played well in their first three games.
Arab is 2-1 on the season, with a 28-21 win over Boaz and a 49-35 win over West Point in nonregion games before opening up region play with a 29-21 loss to Brewer last Friday.
“They are not the same as last year because their coaches have changed,” Wright said. “They spread it out a little more, but still feature a downhill running attack. We've got to fit correctly up front and defend in the secondary. If we do that, we'll be in good shape.”