By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Lillian Bear, Taylor Sparks and the rest of the Fort Gibson High School girls soccer team don’t want to leave anything to chance tonight.
A win in the 5 p.m. game at home against the Keys Lady Cougars allows the Lady Tigers to clinch the District 4A-6 championship, their third in the last four seasons. If coach Jamie Snyder’s squad loses, it still has a chance to claim the district title if Keys beats Westville in the regular season finale next week and the Lady Tigers could have the highest point differential in a tiebreaker.
But the only scenario on the Lady Tigers’ mind is a win against the district’s third-place team.
“We don’t want to go in the playoffs through the backdoor,” Bear, a senior midfielder, said. “We rather win district and take care of business now. It’ll give us a more secure feeling as a team if we do it this way and not worry about anything else.”
Ranked fourth in the Okrankings.com poll, the Lady Tigers sit atop the district at 4-0 in league play and 7-1 overall. The Lady Cougars are 3-1 and in third place in the district along with a 7-2 overall record.
If Fort Gibson needed any more motivation, it’s also Senior Night.
“We don’t want to give Keys any hope of winning on our field,” Sparks, also a senior midfielder, said. “We want to do this right and let everybody know we’re the district champs.”
A win tonight and the Lady Tigers also garner their first back-to-back district titles in the history of the program. The other league championship came in 2010.
Snyder, in her second season as head coach after replacing Gabe Ellis, isn’t worried about her team coasting through tonight’s game.
“If we give the same effort that we have all year, we’ll be fine,” she said. “I don’t have a cocky confidence about this game. I know we’ll play our game.”
Following the girls game, the Fort Gibson boys (6-2, 2-1) play winless Hugo at 7 p.m. Coach Todd Friend’s squad enters the game ranked No. 2 in this week’s poll with a shootout loss against No. 1 Poteau as its only league blemish.