HARRISON FLATS — It only took the Tigers seven plays.
Three plays to get into the endzone (plus a 2-point conversion).
Four defensive plays to force a turnover.
And now the Tigers are back in the state playoffs for the first time since 2006.
This team came into this season with a mantle of potential greatness thrust upon them and never once had head coach Stetson Spooner doubted his team’s ability to go out and play football.
It was the unpredictable nature of the Kansas Tiebreaker that had Spooner nervous prior to the teams’ meeting on Tuesday evening.
He wasn’t so much worried about his team’s ability to score, but more about getting the necessary defensive stops against Lakeside’s brute force rushing attack.
Turns out, he has a bruiser of his own and when it was all said and done, Lakeside’s choice to throw the ball instead of relying on their running game was exactly their undoing.
“Luke Trogden is a bulldozer man,” Spooner said. “When you have guys like him and Skye Gallaway moving the ball, you are going to see results.”
The Tigers went with a wildcat-type scheme in hopes that it would catch the Knights off guard and rotated both Gallaway and Trogden at the “quarterback” position.
Each time one of them took a direct snap, it turned into a first down or a touchdown.
The lone defensive possession Mullan played saw them give up nine yards before Lakeside decided to throw the ball on fourth-and-1, but Riley Trogden read the play perfectly and picked the ball off and that was the game.
The game had been moved from Monday night to Tuesday evening after tragedy struck the school with a student’s death last weekend.
Spooner didn’t know how his team would respond even with the extra day to prepare, but they came out and put on a near surgical performance despite playing with heavy hearts.
“What this meant for our school and community is immeasurable,” Spooner said. “We are all hurting in different ways, but if us getting this win helped even 10 people start to feel better or helped them heal at all, then it was worth it. Mullan needed this really badly and St. Regis came and supported us when we needed it the most. I’m so proud, we are so proud of these kids, not just the players either. Every single kid. We’re hurting, but it’s a good night to be a Tiger.”
Mullan will now be hosting Kendrick in the quarterfinals of the State 1A DII Playoffs at 1 p.m. Saturday at John Drager Field in Mullan.