Greater Athens January 2022 - Page 17

SEASON RECORD OVERALL 9-4 DISTRICT 5-0

Malakoff TIGERS

Malakoff keeps playoff tradition alive with strong season

The Malakoff Tigers continue to be one of the top teams around the Henderson County area .
When it comes to playoff seasons , the Tigers once again found themselves playing after Thanksgiving as one of the final eight teams in the state of Texas .
The Tigers finished the season at 9-4 overall and 5-0 in district play for veteran coach Jamie Driskell . They advanced to the regional round in a 14-12 loss to the West Trojans in Mesquite .
“ It kind of worked out like we thought ,” Driskell said . “ The combination of our non-district schedule was extremely tough and we were playing a lot of new faces . We stayed the course and the kids rallied together . We had a lot of people who were ready to turn it against us . We are proud of this particular team for staying together and circling the wagon .”
Driskell said even when the Tigers were 0-3 at the start of the season , the team rallied together and fought as hard as possible to turn the season around .
“ They ( senior class ) was huge because they had been in the shadow of the senior class that was ahead of them ,” Driskell said . “ They knew they would have it tough , but they were probably the best leaders that we have ever had . The way they rallied together and were really close knitted group that stood together through the tough times is why we are so proud of them . This is one of our favorite teams that we have had for sure .”
With 15 seniors saying goodbye to the Tigers this season , Driskell knows they have holes to fill when it comes to positions on his team .
With the loss of senior quarterback Judson Driskell , running back Duce Hart , linebacker DK Rose and lineman Lance Robertson , it will be interesting to see what moves are made at Tiger Nation .
When talking about Hart , Driskell said that is a player he enjoyed coaching . In his senior year , Hart finished with 206 carries for 1,699 yards and 24 touchdowns . He also had 14 receptions for 105 yards and one score .
“ Duce was one of our hardest workers that we have ever had . He is one of the most talented kids is one of the hardest workers , good things are going to happen ,” Driskell said . “ He brought his hard hat to work every day and he has some talent for sure . He is very electric and great quickness and speed . That guy played more varsity games than any other Malakoff Tiger ever . That is a pretty big accomplishment for a kid his age and we are proud of him and will miss him .”
When it comes to Rose , Driskell said he is the hardest hitter they have ever had and probably one of the hardest hitters in Henderson Count .
“ He ( Rose ) was our energizer bunny and that guy brought it for sure . He played hurt
a good part of the year and he is one of our toughest kids that we have ever had ,” the coach said . “ We are definitely going to miss him and his energy and how he played the game . He is an old school player and he doesn ’ t mind sticking his face in there and hitting somebody . He has made a name for himself around here .”
Driskell said with realignment they will be one of the smallest 3A , Division I schools , but that doesn ’ t mean they won ’ t be competitive . He knows they will have questions to answer , but it patience is key once again .
“ Hopefully we keep growing and it has been a great 13 years ,” Driskell said . “ We have holes to to fill with the loss of Duce , DK and Lance Robertson . Hopefully , we can fill them and we will be young next year . The upcoming senior class has always been a steady class with intelligent kids who work hard so we will build on that . We always have questions that need to be answered during offseason and more questions when things start back up in August but I am excited for it .”
January 2022 | Greater Athens Magazine 17