By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
Fort Gibson football coach James Singleton has impressed on his Tigers all season that no game is more important that the next one.
For the Tigers, who are 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in District 4A-4 and No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, that would be the district matchup with No. 5 Cascia Hall (6-1, 3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cascia Hall.
“It will be a big, big game,” Singleton said. “Coach Medina has done a great job. They’re fairly young but they’ve improved every week. They went down and did something. I don’t think very many people expected them to go and beat Poteau, but they did.”
Fort Gibson and Cascia Hall could be looked at as carbon copies of each other. They both want to establish the run and try to take advantage when the defense gears up to stop the ground game with an aerial assault.
The Tigers have one person that leads the ground attack and the passing game. J.R. Singleton, the coach’s son and last week’s Phoenix Player of the Week, has rushed for 635 yards on 88 carries with 12 touchdowns and has thrown the ball for 1,141 yards, completing 59 of 123 attempts, and 10 touchdowns.
When J.R. is not running with the ball, second in command is Michael Richey who has carried the football 53 times and gained 356 yards. J.R.’s main target through the air is Jordan London, who has caught 21 passes for 383 yards and seven touchdowns.
“Philosophically, offensively we’re very, very similar,” James Singleton said. “We both want to kind of be a power football teams and control the line of scrimmage. We do some spread stuff a little more than they do.”
Miguel Rosendo is Cascia’s leading rusher, having totaled 613 yards on 77 carries with six touchdowns while Camden Cecchini has amassed 341 yards on 89 carries and four touchdowns.
Michael Bloomfield is Cascia Hall’s quarterback and has completed 53 of 97 attempts for 720 yards and 10 touchdowns. Reece Lambert is Bloomfield’s main target and has hauled in 32 passes for 503 yards and seven TDs.
The Commandos are in a four-way tie with the Tigers, Poteau and Sallisaw for first place in the district standing and are coming off a 26-15 win at Poteau last Thursday. The Tigers rebounded from the previous week’s 42-28 loss to Poteau with a 34-0 blanking of Muldrow last Thursday.
“Obviously it got our attention pretty quick when Cascia Hall went down and beat Poteau which is the team that beat us,” Singleton said. “If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. They didn’t make very many mistakes and kind of ground the ball down the field.”
And keeping his team focused on its goals should not be an issue, according to the coach, heading into Friday’s tilt
“It sounds like coach talk but we need to play just one game at a time,” the coach said. “Ideally, we want to be able to host a home playoff game and it will be a stretch for us to win the district championship.
“Poteau’s kind of already run the gauntlet. The only way Cascia can win the district is to beat us and try to make it to a point system. If we win out, we’ll probably finish in second place in the district.”