The Dayville/Monument Tigers had their first win of the season Friday, for homecoming, 45-20, against the Mitchell/Spray/Wheeler (Wheeler County) Rattlers in Monument.
“Sometimes you have to teach your team how to win,” said Tiger head coach Kyle Hand. “I think this is going to be a big confidence builder for us moving forward.”
He said his team’s toughness, and no turnovers in the game, contributed to their success.
“We had some false starts in the first half, but we tackled a lot better than we have in the past, and we executed our offense a lot better,” he said.
He said junior quarterback JT Hand had a “stellar” offensive effort, and the line blocked well, including DJ Howell, Wesley Adams and Tell Cox, adding that Mark Thomas set up several offensive opportunities.
“He’s our best defender by far,” coach Hand said of Thomas. “He just has an instinct to get to that ball.”
Coach Hand added that Donovan Schafer got the ball to JT Hand in the offensive effort.
Thomas said it was exciting to see his teammates work for the win.
“We had to come together as a team to get this win, and that’s something we’ve been working on for a long time,” he said. “We had to make sure we didn’t give up.”
JT Hand, who scored four touchdowns for the day, said the team’s two weeks off helped.
“We were very prepared, watched film and had a lot of conditioning,” he said.
He said they were especially strong in the second half, and he’s pleased to break their losing streak, now 1-2 on the season.
To start off the game, seventh-graders Jin Bo Ciochetti and Alexys Hull sang the national anthem.
JT Hand scored Dayville/Monument’s first touchdown on the first drive of the game.
Thomas deflected a pass when the Rattlers had possession, but the visitors scored on a fourth down, with quarterback Carter Boise connecting with Tate Holmes.
The Tigers forced a turnover when Howell recovered a Rattler fumble, which led to JT Hand’s second touchdown in the game.
At halftime, the Tigers led 18-13.
Cox made it an 11-point lead when he scored a touchdown in the opening two minutes of the second half.
Then JT Hand scored his fourth touchdown with Cox scoring the 1-point conversion.
Tiger Zachary Ferguison intercepted a Rattler pass, making a short gain.
In the fourth, Thomas scored a touchdown with Gauge Jenks making good on the 1-point conversion.
As the clock wound down, Adams scored a touchdown with Cowen Weaver adding the 1-point conversion.
Dayville/Monument will face Huntington/Harper on the road at 1 p.m. in Huntington, and the Tigers will finish the regular season on the road at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, when they face the Prairie City/Burnt River Panthers in Prairie City.
Coach Hand said his team is moving forward with confidence and some “swagger that teenage boys need sometimes, so that’s going to help us move forward for Huntington and Prairie City to help us finish the league out.”