Tigers Earning, Enjoying Every Down of Playoffs - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/06/2007 - Arp

Tigers Earning, Enjoying Every Down of Playoffs

It was back to work Thursday for the Arp Tigers, who spent the day getting ready for a game Friday night, just as they've done every week for the past three months.

"It's been pretty crazy," senior lineman Chris Taliaferro admitted. "Everyone's patting us on the back, but we've got to keep going, keep trying to get that ring."

Last year, no postseason. This year, for just the fourth time ever and first in recent memory, the Arp Tigers are alive in the fourth round of the playoffs and the team written off by some is one of only twelve teams still playing in class 2A.

"People thought we weren't going to go this far," receiver Trumaine Jones said.  "Coach just said ‘don't worry about other people, just concentrate on the team.'"

"We had to grow up real fast," Talaiferro said, "especially the last four games of district because if we hadn't won those, we wouldn't have made the playoffs."

"That's how we looked at it," Arp coach Dale Irwin said. "We had Troup and Tatum and Elysian Fields (last year's playoff teams) first, and we knew those three would help us for later in the district."

"After the Elysian Fields game, we said we've got five playoff games left, and I think that's helped us."

The Tigers are on a seven-game winning streak and face a district rematch with Elysian Fields next, and for this team every week's success has been hard-earned and appreciated.

"It's been so special," Taliaferro said. "It's something we've worked hard for ever since we were in the seventh grade. Especially for the seniors, it feels like a good gift for us and we want to carry the tradition."

Reid Kerr can be reached at rkerr@kltv.com.

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