Gridiron Football Preview-Cherokee County 2022 | Page 10


Gilbert said . “ He ’ s tall and he ’ s a very smart young man . He ’ s also athletic .”
Leep and Northington are both excited and confident about the jump to 6A .
“ It ’ s just something new ,” Leep said . “ There ’ s nothing to be scared about . It ’ s new competition ”
“ I don ’ t think it will be too much different ,” Northington said . “ Everybody will just be a little better , but I think we ’ ll be able to compete and hang with most of the teams we play this year .” OFFENSE Tahlequah ’ s offense will be centered around a new signal caller after Tyler Joice piloted the Tigers the previous two seasons .
A trio of candidates — Brody Younger , Beckett Robinson and Cash McAlvain — had reps during the spring .
Younger , who will be a junior , is currently the leader of the pack . Standing at 6-foot-2 , he ’ s the most polished when it comes to game experience . As Joice ’ s backup last year , Younger completed 10 of his 21 pass attempts for 131 yards with a pair of touchdowns
10 • Fall 2022
and did not throw an interception .
“ Brody , we believe , will be the guy for us ,” Gilbert said . “ He had a really good spring , and he ’ s a guy that I thought got better throughout the course of the two weeks . Obviously , there ’ s going to be moments of growth , and a lot of times those moments aren ’ t pleasurable , but it ’ s a part of the process . He ’ s going to make mistakes . We just know that early in the season , if he continues to move in the direction that he is … we as a staff , we ’ ve got to do a good job of putting him and the team in positions of success and not putting a lot on his plate early .
“ He ’ s got all of the tools . He ’ s got the size . He ’ s got a very good arm , a very accurate arm . He can run when we need him to . There ’ s a lot of things he can do , and I think he ’ s got a high ceiling . That ceiling can only be raised based on what he chooses to do .”
Gilbert says the most important developmental stage for Younger is his leadership role .
“ What is probably more important moving forward for him is just his

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leadership and developing it … becoming stronger in those areas , those areas that a lot of people take for granted ,” Gilbert said . “ We need him to be stronger in those areas , those areas that a lot of people take for granted or may not even be aware of . It doesn ’ t mean he has to be the leader of the football team , but there comes a responsibility with that position that you ’ re going to have to handle yourself a certain way .”
Tahlequah will be without the flash it ’ s had over the last several years at running back in 2022 . But there is steadiness and experience returning with senior Josh Munoz and junior Darryn Spahr .
The duo combined to give the Tigers a solid two-three punch behind the departed Malik McMurtrey , who ’ s now at Northeastern State .
McMurtrey , like Dae Dae Leathers before him , was a game changer at the position for two seasons as a starter . He rushed for 832 yards , averaging 6.9 yards per carry , and had nine touch-
See TIGERS , page 11