By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
Going into tonight’s regular season finale against Sallisaw, Fort Gibson coach James Singleton knows if his starting quarterback goes down, he has a very capable backup.
Last Friday against Stilwell, sophomore Jordon London was inserted into the starting spot because of a hip pointer suffered by J.R. Singleton, the coach’s son, London had the coaches’ minds at ease as he guided the Tigers to a 42-14 win over the Indians that kept Fort Gibson in second place in District 4A-4 with one game left before the playoffs.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking but it was fun,” London said about starting his first varsity game. “It was really relaxing how the game started.”
London was referring to Stilwell’s attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of senior Jake Gandara on the opening kickoff. After two attempts went out of bounds, the Fort Gibson coach made the Indians kick it again and Gandara returned it 78 yards to put the Tigers up 7-0.
One other person that was at ease was the head coach, even though his full-time starter was ready to go in a pinch.
“Jordon did a fantastic job,” the elder Singleton said. “He threw for one touchdown and rushed for two more. J.R. could have suited up last Friday but (injury) was still a little tender so we wanted to give him the extra rest.”
Gandara was never worried about how London would handle the responsibilities of starting.
“Jordon’s a coach’s kid,” said Gandara, who finished the game with 200 yards rushing on 21 carries. “He already has that poised attitude. He’s a good athlete and is always confident when he plays, even though he’s young.”
London’s dad is Chuck London, a football assistant and also an assistant with the two-time state finalist girls basketball team that won state in 2011.
Coach Singleton is also aware that should the need arise again, he has a very capable backup.
“The mental side of being that relief pitcher type is very beneficial,” James said. “Being able to run our offense, having that calmness in the huddle helps everyone out. We played Jordon some against Cascia Hall this year and as a freshman, he got to play against Broken Bow. We’re not worried about our quarterbacks, J.R. or Jordon.”
Having one game under his belt under center as a starter, London feels that should the need arise, he can step in and keep the offense moving as if there had never been a change.
And he is highly anticipating tonight’s game against the Black Diamonds.
The Tigers are looking to gain redemption over Sallisaw after last season’s heart-breaking setback. Fort Gibson trailed 20-17 with 41 seconds left in the game, and elected to go for the win. Gandara was stopped four yards short of paydirt on a fourth-and-goal.
“I can’t wait to play,” London said. “I want to beat them especially after the way last year’s game ended. We should have won that one.”
Sallisaw at Fort Gibson
Radio: KTFX 101.7 FM