Emotions and hopes were running high as the Stockton Tigers hit the road to face the Sarcoxie Bears on the road for the second round of district matchups the evening of Friday, Nov. 6.
Searching for their second win of the postseason, the jungle cats from Stockton started the first half fighting neck and neck with the home field Bears, forcing the home team to punt on its first possession in the first quarter.
With eight minutes left in the first quarter, Sarcoxie would draw first blood by punching in a touchdown from deep in Tiger territory. Stockton went on to answer minutes later, scoring a touchdown of its own and coming through with a successful point-after attempt, taking the lead at 7-6.
Moving into the second quarter, back-and-forth scoring led both teams to utilize momentum throughout several changes of possession, allowing Sarcoxie to take the lead for the second and third quarters.
Hard fought defensive efforts would bring Sarcoxie to 22 points with Stockton trailing by just four points at 17 at the end of three quarters.
Moving into the fourth, both teams were showed genuine offensive tenacity, scoring six points each to bring the Tigers to within five points at 28-23 with just over nine minutes left to play.
Defensive stops would see both teams punt on opposing possessions, leading to a Sarcoxie first down with just three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
With just over two minutes to go, Sarcoxie went on to lengthen its lead with a late-game touchdown and successful two-point conversion, taking a 36-23 lead over the visiting Tigers.
Though the Bears would go on to turn the ball over on downs to the Tigers with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Stockton ultimately could not take advantage of the last possession, ending the game with a final score of 36-23, in favor of Sarcoxie.
Collectively, the SHS varsity team said farewell to five graduating seniors — all of whom showed tremendous emotion and solidarity as the team left the Sarcoxie campus together.
In closing out the season, the Stockton Tigers will look to stay conditioned, further the team’s mental toughness and build throughout the offseason as they growing team settles in with new head coach Luke Rader at the helm of all things Tiger football.