, Muskogee, OK


October 21, 2013

Phoenix Player of the Week, honor roll and this week's schedule: FG Tiger leads by example

On a night when the Fort Gibson Tigers needed a win to keep pace in the District 4A-4 title chase, J.R. Singleton used his right arm and his legs to lead the Tigers to a 34-0 win over Muldrow last Thursday.

The junior quarterback completed 8 of 14 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 85 yards on 13 carries and another score to earn the Phoenix Player of the Week honor for week seven.

“Muldrow’s one of those teams that’s good enough to beat you if you don’t play your best,” Singleton said. “We really needed to come out and play a good game against them. Just not really show a lot of stuff but do what we do and win the game.

“We knew that their corners were going to start biting up on the run a lot because we  had been running a lot of toss sweeps. We knew that if we could do some play action, we could get guys open.”

Fort Gibson coach James Singleton, J.R.’s father, knew the importance of the game against Muldrow, coming off a 42-28 loss to Poteau.  Another loss could have spelled certain doom for the Tigers’ district title hopes and was proud that his signal caller stepped up.

“We wanted to get the ball down the field and stretch the field vertically,” said the Tigers’ coach. “J.R. was really, really solid. He managed our offense really well. He ran the ball when he had to. He had a couple of scramble runs in key situations instead of trying to force the ball.”

And J.R.’s game management is one thing that his dad has noticed about his son’s growth in the two-plus year’s as Fort Gibson’s starting quarterback. When J.R. has something to offer during a game, the coaches ears are open.

“He’s doing a great job of reading coverages now,” James said. “There’s a lot of suggestions he makes during a game that we end up going with. There are things he sees on the field that obviously we can’t see in certain situations.

“I think the speed of the game has really slowed down for him. He doesn’t really have happy feet in the pocket and kind of waits until the last second to make sure there’s nobody open before he takes off running.”

The Tigers (5-2, 3-1) are in a four-way tie with Poteau, Sallisaw and Cascia Hall, Fort Gibson’s foe on Friday. Cascia Hall has the advantage with a +38-point differential, followed by Poteau (+32), Fort Gibson (+31) and Sallisaw (+17), the Tigers opponent in the final game of the regular season.

J.R. is aware of what is in front of his team but knows that the most important game is the next one. That’s the attitude he and the team are taking this week.

“Preparing for a game like Cascia Hall is a lot easier,” J.R. said. “Because they’re kind of a team that they have a thing that they do and that’s what they do every game. They don’t come out with any bells and whistles and change what they do.

We know they’re probably not going to change up stuff. We just have to come out and play football.”

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