Jim Tighe describes the Spencer football team’s defense as “salty.”
That saltiness is what stands out to the Spencer head coach about this year’s team. It’s a significant reason why the Tigers are preparing for a Class 3A playoff game Friday night against Norwalk.
“This team, what makes them special I think, is we have a pretty darn good defense,” Tighe said Saturday. “I think we have as good a secondary as any team we’ve ever had.”
The Tigers’s defensive dominance showed again last Friday when they solidified their playoff spot by defeating Bishop Heelan of Sioux City, 32-14.
Friday’s win made for a fun post-game locker room environment.
“That’s a big win any time you beat them,” Tighe said. “We knew that sealed our playoff position, so it was a great locker room afterward. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. You do it to have those moments.”
The Tigers finished their regular season 7-2 overall (4-1 in District 1) and No. 11 in the state’s new RPI standings to determine playoff berths.
Now, Spencer’s attention turns to Norwalk, where it will travel 186 miles Friday to face the Warriors.
Norwalk finished its season 6-3 overall and undefeated at 5-0 in District 8. The Warriors finished the regular season at No. 15 in the RPI rankings.
Tighe said it’s nice to have a full week to prepare for a team they know very little about. Last time Spencer made the playoffs, it had to turn around and play the next Wednesday.
Spencer was just getting tape on Norwalk Saturday.
“We don’t know anything about them, really,” Tighe said. “We’re just getting the film. We’re going to start looking at it here.”
The Tigers were taking a look at their own film from the Heelan game Saturday. Once again, the defense had a good showing.
“It keeps getting better,” Tighe said of the unit. “When you watch the film, there’s always room for improvement, some missed assignments, things like that, but we’re getting better and better.”
Spencer’s progress on defense has been evident week-to-week, even keeping the Tigers in the game against district champ Sergeant Bluff-Luton. The Warriors handed Spencer its only district loss of the year, 24-20.
“We did give up yards to Sergeant Bluff, but it’s a very good team,” Tighe said. “And the thing is, we also created a lot of turnovers and our defense gave us a chance to win that game.”
While Spencer plays the Norwalk, Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Heelan square off in a rematch in Sergeant Bluff.
Sergeant Bluff won the teams’ first meeting in Sioux City, 23-9.
The winners of the two games will play on Nov. 2.
See the playoff brackets here.