By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
It was about 10:30 p.m. Friday night when the thoughts of Fort Gibson’s coaches and players changed.
The game against Muldrow was a distant memory when Thursday’s game versus Cascia Hall became the foremost thing in Tigerland. It’s not every day when the state’s No. 1 Class 4A team comes to town.
“Anytime you have two undefeated teams playing for a possible district championship on the line, it’s a big game,” coach James Singleton said. “Our kids were already talking about it as soon as our game (against Muldrow) was over.
“I know a lot of people here have had it circled on their calendars. It’s one of those can’t miss type of games. Our kids are excited for the challenge. It’s a great opportunity to see where we are as a team and program.”
Both teams are 7-0 for the season and 4-0 in District 4A-4. And for fans who like to see an aerial circus could be a little disappointed as both squads rely on the running attack.
Jake Gandara leads Fort Gibson, No. 7 in Class 4A, with 1,030 yards on 114 carries and 17 touchdowns after last Friday’s 56-28 win against Muldrow. Abrm McQuarters, a cousin of former Oklahoma State standout defensive back R.W. McQuarters, has 1,081 yards on 109 carries and 14 TDs after the Commandos’ 24-3 victory against Poteau last Friday.
That puts a little of the focus on Jake Farmer, a senior lineman for the Tigers.
“Cascia Hall has pretty good ability to run the ball,” Farmer said. “They don’t pass it very much as they grind it out and do what they need to do. We’re good at that, too. They’ve played pretty good teams this year and nobody’s beaten them. That makes them pretty good. If we execute, I think we’ll be 8-0.
“Everybody has been talking about this game. It’s not happened for a long time that Fort Gibson has been this good.”
The Tigers are 7-0 for the first time since the 1999 when they advanced to the Class 4A finals.
“This has been a great experience and I’m finally glad it’s happening now in my senior year,” he said. “But we’ve got to keep working hard and doing our thing.”
Singleton, in his second season at Fort Gibson, fully expects the Commandos to do their thing.
“Coach (Joe) Medina has an outstanding program,” he said. “You can tell by their kids that they have a great strength and conditioning program. They’re doing things right.
“They’ll be the most physical team we’ll play all year. They’re very aggressive and attacking. Cascia Hall doesn’t do anything to trick you.”
Singleton knows his team will be up to the challenge.
“We’ve got some guys with dings and bruises from playing for seven weeks,” he said. “We’re in great shape. Jake (Gandara) is back to 100 percent. The back end of our defense is getting their coverages down. Our offensive line and quarterback are doing things right.
“We’ve got everything going in the direction we want to be going. We’re really excited about playing this game.”