Playing arguably their most difficult schedule in a decade, the 2022 season isn’t going to get any easier for the Festus Tigers in Week 6. The bright side: they are at home. The downside: the perennially dangerous North County Raiders roll into town.
The Raiders, who made it all the way to the State Championship Semifinals last year, had an incredibly dominant season despite not winning the ultimate prize. They went 12-2 overall, and one of those wins was a 41-35 victory over the Tigers, so Festus will have their hands full in this matchup. For reference, the Raiders scored 550 points last year and allowed just 223. Look out.
As for this season, they’re up to their old tricks, sitting at 4-1 overall and boasting a terrifying offense to go along with a capable defense. In their wins this season they have scored 36, 36, 42 and 48 points, and their only loss is to the State-ranked Hillsboro Hawks. Festus fans may recognize that name, seeing as how it is their bitter long-term rival who bested them last week 58-21. For comparison’s sake, the Raiders fell to the Hawks 31-10 in Week 4 for their only loss.
As for the Tigers, they currently sit at 2-3 just past the midway point of the season. Both of their wins, dominant blowouts over Windsor and DeSoto, showcased the perfect execution of Head Coach AJ Ofodile’s game plan, but their losses were just as convincing on the other side of things. The Tigers were handled by Ste. Gen in Week 1, dusted by Valle Catholic in Week 2 and, well, we know what happened last week against the Hawks in the Battle for Highway A.
Festus is going to need to lean on their young Quarterback combo of Jeremiah Cunningham and Essien Smith, and those two, in turn, are going to need to lean on Uber-talented Senior Wideout Arhmad Branch. The ground game is going to be huge as well, as both QBs are adept with their legs, but the Tigers are going to need top RB Hayden Bates to step up and find some big holes against a North County defense that can be porous if exposed. As witnessed by the 44 points they allowed last week against Battle.
This could be a season-defining game for Festus, so look for Coach O’s squad to bring their A game in an attempt to get back to .500.
Good luck Tigers!