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Tigers face tough Leopards team

It’s a brand new season and a brand new opponent for Luverne as the Tigers prepare to travel to face the Mobile Christian Leopards.

The two teams have never met before, but Luverne head football coach Scott Rials doubts it will matter much.  After all, the postseason means a clean slate for every team.

“It doesn’t really affect us,” Rials said. “Even if we’d played them 20 times, this is a new team, a new year and the playoffs are actually a new season.”

With that being said, Mobile Christian’s regular season is difficult to ignore.

The Leopards finished 9-1 with a spree of region wins including a double-overtime victory over Flomaton and back-to-back shutouts with Leroy and St. Lukes.

Rials said that, based on what he’s seen on film, that’s no surprise.

“The first thing you see is that they’re very sound,” Rials said. “Offensively, they’re very balanced.  The have a good run/pass, and at least 40 percent of the time or more they’re going to throw the football. The quarterback’s real good—he’s a senior—and they’ve got some really good receivers and a good back.”

The Leopards are no slouch in the defensive department, either.  Ignoring a double-overtime shootout with Flomaton and a pair of anomalies in Sweet Water and Washington County, Mobile Christian has adeptly contained most offenses.

But the true strength of the Leopards lies in a versatile offense.

“It means you can’t stack the box or just play the pass,” Rials said. “You’ve got to be balanced on defense because it’s hard to predict whether they’re going to run or throw.  They have some tendencies that we’ve found, and we hope to use that to our benefit during the game, but everybody has those.”

The Leopards will prove just another of many tests that the Tigers have faced this season.

With a regular season schedule littered with heavy hitters such as New Brockton and Elba, Rials said that he believes the experience has prepped his players for a postseason push.

“I feel good about our players,” Rials said.

“We have been very inconsistent—in the playoffs, you’d better play your best or it’s not going to be good for you.  We just want to play as fast and as physical as we’re capable of playing.

“We’ve just got to find ourselves and put our best foot forward.  That means taking care of the football, tackling well and being solid in the kicking game.  If we do all of those things properly and the way that we coach to do, then we have a good chance to be successful.”