Tigers look to clinch winning season

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OZARK, Mo. — Out at Tiger Stadium, Ozark football has been taking care of business this year, currently sitting at 5-2 on the season.

“We just every week have seemed to get a little bit better, a little bit better,” Head Coach Chad Depee said. “We’ve ran into some good competition here as of late too. Getting ready to run into some more. Every weekend our conference gets tougher and tougher. The closer we get to districts, the level of play gets a little bit more intense.”

Entering week eight, Ozark has already secured the first winning regular season since the current Tiger seniors were freshmen.

The excitement for that class is made even better for these upperclassmen considering they didn’t even know if they’d get this season.

“That’s what you’re hoping for,” Senior Center Jacob Wofford said. “We were never hoping for having the season canceled. We were always expecting to play the next week. We were always focused on this week.”

“We’re very grateful,” Senior Safety Thomas Rushing said. “We’re looking forward to the playoffs, honestly. Just working harder and harder. Not taking a single game for granted. Just looking forward to the next game.”

When they look back at the improvement from last year’s 4-6 record, the players give credit to a total team effort.

“This year our offensive line has come out a lot faster,” Wofford said. “Our speed at A-back, I think they’ve gotten faster. Then our defense, they’re doing a whole lot better than they did last year. Overall, it’s just the players stepping up this year.”

“It’s just a really good locker room culture,” Rushing said. “We’ve all been able to work really hard together through the summer, through COVID. Just push each other and have good weeks of practice in and out. Just really become a close knit team.”

This week, however, that team will be put to the test yet again as the Tigers encounter their third top-two ranked team of the season in Class 5 Number two Webb City.

“Obviously, Webb is a tremendous program,” Depee said. “They’ve got great players. Their coaches just do an outstanding job. We have to do our job and do what we do to combat that. Just continue each week like we do every week: Let’s get better. Let’s get better. Let’s get better. What we do. Then show up and compete.”

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