Reflecting on an extremely successful 2018-19 season for Coweta Tiger and Lady Tiger sports programs I am privileged to cover, it is apparent that accomplishments achieved continue to place the Coweta Athletic Program under the direction of Athletic Director Tim Johnson in a very competitive spotlight in Oklahoma 5A athletics.
Coweta saw two 5A semi-final finishes for the Coweta Lady Tiger Volleyball and Tiger Baseball. Lady Tiger Basketball qualified for the state tournament for the second straight season. Wrestling qualified returned to the Dual State Tournament and Football reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated. Lady Tiger Softball lost in the regional finals and both Tiger and Lady Tiger Soccer squads advanced to the playoffs.
Second year Head Coach Tony Ramos’ Lady Tiger volleyball capped a super campaign with a 5A first round win over perennial power Tulsa Cascia Hall 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of the state tournament where they challenged Tulsa Kelley before losing to the 2018 State Champion Comets.
The Lady Tigers finished the season 31-11, 5-0 in Metro Lakes Conference and 5A regional champions. Over the past two seasons they are 63-19.
“Capabilities to win 30 games with the intensified schedule just didn’t seem to be there early in the season. There was a lot of doubt and with the loss of last year’s seniors they just didn’t seem to be there early in the season,” Coach Ramos said at the end of the season. “I gave them a comment to not worry about the other teams, let’s just take care of Coweta. We still have to win regionals to get to the state tournament.”
“This year set the tone and next season we are going to get after the same tough schedule. Win we like, loses we learn from! All I ask of our girls is 100% of what they have, no more, no less,” Coach Ramos commented.
A talented group of senior and juniors return to the hardwoods this fall.
With softball, first year Head Coach Desiree Booker finished 19-15, with a 7-5 district mark and a 5A regional finals finish. Coweta lost to Tahlequah 5-1, with Tahlequah losing in the opening round of the state tournament. District 5A-3 mate Pryor finished 5A runner-up to champion Midwest City Carl Albert 7-5.
“If you would have told me my girls would hit .353 as a team average, I would have possibly told you, you are crazy,” Coach Booker said. “Early we struggled to put runs on the board. My girls were able to score 205 runs with eight hitting over .300, so they definitely exceeded my original expectations.
“With multiple returners and a solid young group coming up, I look forward to the greatness that could come from my girls next year and the Coweta softball program.”
Junior High Head Coach Kaysi Wortham’s softball team had a great season last year, priming those ladies for the varsity experience.
Third year Head Coach Tim Holt, Jr.’s football Tigers battled through a tough personnel season, finishing 5-7, but put it all together late to advance to the 5A playoffs. The Tigers Tahlequah to advance to the quarterfinals before losing on the road to Ardmore.
“Bottom line is we have to get stronger and more physical! With our early injuries and other problems, we were dealt with bringing young, varsity untested players into the starting mix,” Holt said. “It takes time for them to adjust to the speed of varsity, competition and to understand how to prepare for opponents.
“Next season should be a little harder for the freshmen coming up to do the same thing that happened this season, although a few have already caught our eye.”
Lady Tiger basketball rolled through a 19-9 season as Head Coach Brad Crace guided his squad through a tough Metro Lakes Conference schedule as well as a rugged playoff run before qualifying for the 5A state tournament for the second straight season. His Lady Tigers fell to runner-up El Reno in the quarterfinals after advancing to the semi-finals in 2018 where they lost to state champion Tulsa Booker T. Washington’s Lady Hornets.
Losing only one senior starter off the last team, the Lady Tigers look ahead to a powerful attack in the coming season, going eight or nine-deep in experienced, veteran talent as well as welcoming new blood from the junior high ranks.
Wrestling Head Coach Ashton Cooper saw solid senior Talon Borror roll to his third straight individual championship, qualifying all four varsity seasons with a fourth-place medal his freshman season. The Tigers returned to the 5A Dual State Tournament after missing out last season, losing in the quarterfinals to #1 Piedmont, who went on to win the championship.
Six Tigers qualified for the State Tournament, in addition to Borror, to compete at Oklahoma City. Coweta got a runner-up performance from freshmen Brody Gee and Gage Hamm, as well as a fourth-place medal won by Caleb Phillips.
“We didn’t have the finish to the season that we had hoped for, but not all is lost. We had an amazing 5A regional tournament. We are an extremely young team both in age and experience. We returned three state qualifiers, so even our older guys, juniors and seniors, didn’t have a lot of experience at this tournament and it showed,” Coach Cooper said at the end of the season. “What we are seeing is the passing of the torch from our last incredible group that paved the way for this new young group.”
Tiger basketball, under new Head Coach Brandon Maddox, went through a reloading and learning season as the emphasis moved from predominantly a zone defensive attack to a man defense. The Tigers finished 12-12 and they return virtually the entire team with the exception of Andrew Keathley.
The Tigers finished tied for second in the Metro Lakes Conference and return a large senior class for next season. Their season ended in the 5A regionals to fellow conference mate Collinsville 47-44.
Head Coach Cody Pair guided his Tiger baseball squad through a tough season that featured three members of District 5A-3 in the eight-team state tournament. The Tigers won their opener over Duncan before falling to district mate Pryor 11-1.
Pryor defeated Midwest City Carl Albert for the championship 11-0. This was the second straight state tournament appearance for the Tigers.
They finished 24-11, with a 5A Regional Championship over defending 5A state champion Tulsa Bishop Kelley 11-5 on their home diamond to advance to the state tournament. “It is hard to move on after this season, I am so proud of this team and what they accomplished,” Coach Pair said at the end of the season. “Going into next year, we will return a very good nucleus of players and we will be a tough team next year. Our kids have worked their tails off and I know they will continue to do so this summer and fall leading into baseball season next year!”
Lady Tiger soccer’s veteran Head Coach Kris Chilcoat saw his squad advance to the playoffs for the 13th straight season before falling to Booker T. Washington in the opening round. The Lady Tigers finished 7-7 for the season and 4-3 in district play.
They will return a large senior class for the 2020 season, backed up by a strong and competitive junior class expected to help increase the striking power of the Lady Tigers.
After the playoff loss to Washington, Coach Chilcoat said, “All season we worked to get here, then we don’t show up and play. Our seniors had a great career. Our young freshmen and sophomores stood up and played hard.”
Returning to the Coweta Tiger soccer after an administrative break, Head Coach Coy Graves led his Tigers back to the 5A playoffs, losing the opener to Tulsa Booker T. Washington. They finished the season 6-10 and were 4-3 in district play, winning the final four games to qualify for the playoffs.
“I am encouraged by the turnaround this season and believe that next year there is a potential to contend. We have a lot of players coming back with significant varsity playing time,” Graves said. “We also have some players coming into the high school program that may be able to contribute right away.”
A major point of emphasis for Coweta Tiger and Lady Tiger prospects, the sophomores of 2018-19 are a very talented class and over the next two years of competition could take Coweta to new heights. They have already made their mark in each and every sport.
Add them to the seniors of 2019-20 and no telling just what might happen throughout the school year.