WEST LIBERTY – The West Liberty-Salem Tigers have been road warriors this season, going undefeated away from home and learning a lot of valuable lessons along the way. That experience is what the Tigers (8-2) are riding going into Saturday’s Division VI, Region 22 playoff matchup with Cincinnati Country Day (9-1).
Once again, the Tigers are going to be on the road.
“Any time you get into the postseason, everybody feels like everyone’s 0-0,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “I think there’s a renewed level of excitement with the guys.”
Playing more than 10 games is certainly something WL-S fans and players have come to expect, with the talented Tigers racking up the wins over the years.
“We stress to the kids what a privilege playing in the postseason is,” McGill said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
The Country Day team that West Liberty-Salem faces is a strong running squad that features a pair of prominent running backs – each going for more than 1,000 yards.
“They definitely want to establish the running game,” McGill said. “It’s going to force us to really be fundamentally sound and not get drawn into some of the fakes in the backfield. We’ve got to make tackles in the second and third levels. If we don’t, they are explosive guys that can really take it the distance.”
As for West Liberty-Salem’s offense, it will likely revolve around its own talented backs and the big guys up front.
“We certainly have some very talented running backs, but they’d be the first to say that what’s allowed them to be consistent is the offensive line,” McGill said. “It’s getting a little healthier this week. That’s pretty exciting.”
And if the opposition chooses to key on the run game? Well, the Tigers have the versatile Brandon Upton at quarterback and enough talent outside to take advantage of that, too.
“I think what he does is he plays within the system. As long as he doesn’t try to do too much, he’s pretty hard to stop,” McGill said of Upton. “Anytime you have a kid that throws with the accuracy he does, you have a pretty good chance to move the chains.”
The game will be played on Saturday at 7 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m.