The Hatley Tigers faced another strong team out of Division 4-3A and dropped a 31-7 contest against the No. 1 seed Choctaw County on Friday night.

“The way we talked to our kids about it is if you want to know what four rounds of the playoffs are like, we just saw it with our division,” Hatley coach Ken Adams said. “In 3A, not many teams have to go through Aberdeen, Noxubee County, Houston and Choctaw County in their division. Aberdeen was a great game for us, and we played Noxubee well. We didn’t play well against Houston, and then against Choctaw, we had some guys step in and play some roles with some others out.”

The Tigers scored their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard Jacob Mobley run. Mobley, a freshman, was filling in for senior Nick Washington, who was out for the game.

“It hurts when you don’t have Nick because he’s our senior, our 1,000-yard rusher,” Adams said. “Jacob stepped in and played well, and Heyden Parker did as well.”

Adams praised the effort of his defense.

“They played really well,” he said, “We fumbled on the first play of the game, and they scored off that. They scored on a kick return, and our biggest thing on Friday night was that penalties killed us. You play those type of teams, you have to have a clean game. You can’t have turnovers and penalties.”

The Tigers are preparing for just their second playoff appearance in school history and first since 2014 as they travel to Amanda Elzy this Friday.

“It’s a big deal to be in the playoffs, and we know Amanda Elzy is a good team, just like the ones in our division,” Adams said. “They are athletic and have a tailback that’s right there with some of the ones we have played. He’s the heartbeat of their team, and to have a chance, we have to slow him down. We told our kids that we want to expect to be in this situation every year, preparing for the playoffs instead of packing up. We had to make a drive to beat Aberdeen and have this opportunity, and we did what we needed to do. Now we have to go do what we need to do in the playoffs.”

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