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Monday, April 15, 2024

3A-1 Conference Champions Charleston Tigers Wrap-up Regular Season at Lavaca

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Note to Our Readers: Due to our photographer being in quarantine, Resident Press was unable to include photos from the Tigers game versus West Fork. We hope to have pictures this week from Charleston’s game at Lavaca. Resident Press thanks you for your patience, and thanks you for reading Resident Press.

The Charleston Tigers are the new champions of the 3A-1 conference and will be a number one seed from the conference going into the state football playoffs. Just a tremendous accomplishment for a young football team and their second year Charleston coach, Rickey May. The Tigers improved their undefeated conference record to 6-0 last Friday with a 42-21 win over West Fork at Alumni Field.

When I talked to Coach May this week, the Tigers’ coach expressed pride in his young team and how much he has enjoyed coaching them all season. Coach May commented, “We kicked off and West Fork got the ball and they drove down and scored on us. They opened up with a big pass that we didn’t expect and got the field swapped on us big time (change in field position). After that, our offense got it; I think we punted once or twice, and then we scored every time. Didn’t have any turnovers and that was big for us. We were able to get everybody else in too (substitutions into the game). We started unloading our bench one the mercy rule was in effect and that worked out good for us. Defensively, we played good at times; like I said, we gave up two big passes, but once we did that we settled down. We actually defended the option (West Fork’s flexbone offense) pretty well. We had two or three plays that played the option really well with losses behind the line of scrimmage or forcing the pitch early. Special teams have been really good this year. The biggest thing coming into this year, I was a little concerned about how our team chemistry would develop because there are a lot of younger kids playing. But man, our older kids have been great, and the younger kids have been great, and they have been kind of feeding off each other. It has just been an awesome experience from that state point. They are really good kids.”

In Charleston, winning come first over individual honors, and children who grow up in the community and eventually play for the Tigers understand that. The success of the team is more important than individual honors or playing time. This year’s Charleston football team is a combination of great character and work ethic of the players, combined with an understanding that to be a Tiger is all about the Tigers winning championships. Coach May continued, “Our kids understand that. Our sophomore quarterback (Brandon Scott) talked about that the other day. He talked about expectations from the community and not letting them down. And that is a big thing. But yet at the same time, their character, and hopefully we have helped them a little bit, is just coming together. They are coming along just fine.” When you talk to Coach May, you can hear the excitement and pride in his voice over this team and the anticipation of having them at Charleston for the next few years.

As the Tigers look to the state playoffs, I asked Coach May if he was getting a clearer idea of who Charleston may face in the first round of the playoffs. The state playoff brackets will not be finalized until Saturday after state-wide school district superintendents declare their intentions to opt-in or out of the state playoffs. The total number of “wild card” teams that opt-in to the playoffs will determine if the Tigers play their first round game on November 13 or November 20. “If the bracket doesn’t change, it will probably be Mayflower, but if they do a play-in game (with wild card teams) and Mayflower has to play somebody before they play us, our opponent could change (due to the game between Mayflower and a wild card team).”

Regardless who or when the Tigers play in the first round, Charleston would host the game at Alumni Field. The only things in doubt are the date of the game and the opponent. If you look beyond the first round and try to predict who the Tigers next opponent could be in the playoffs, it could be the loser of this Friday’s game between Glen Rose and Prescott. The second round game would also be played in Charleston.

Three wins in the state playoffs will put the Tigers in Little Rock in December to play for the Class 3A state championship. What a feat that would be with a sophomore-heavy team.

So as the conference season concludes in week ten, the games that will be played around the conference include:

Charleston at Lavaca

West Fork at Greenland

Lincoln at Cedarville

Hackett at Mansfield

Congratulations to the Charleston Tigers on their district championship! Now that Charleston has secured the top seed for the playoffs, the Tigers will have the all important home field advantage in the state playoffs, and Tigers fans, this could be a team that surprises many from outside of Charleston as a young team that could make a serious run in the state playoffs.

Stay with Resident Press as we cover the Tigers all the way through the state playoffs, and who knows, perhaps a date in Little Rock to play for a state championship!

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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