downs in his final season , which was shortened due to injury . McMurtrey also had eight receptions for 128 yards with a score .
Munoz and Spahr will give the Tigers more north and south style runners , and a physical brand .
“ With those two coming back — Josh Munoz and Darryn Spahr — we kind of have an understanding of what we ’ ve got ,” Gilbert said . “ They ’ re not guys that are going to break 60 and 70 yard runs , but what they will give us is a physicaliness between the tackles .
“ Josh Munoz is 5-foot-10 , 204 and Darryn Spahr ’ s 5-10 , 197 pounds , so they ’ re going to bring a different element , more so than what we ’ ve had in the past from guys like Malik and Dae Dae .
Spahr was third on the team in rushing as a sophomore , behind McMurtrey and the also-departed Tyler Joice at quarterback . He finished with 353 yards on 64 carries ( 5.5 yards per carry ) and four touchdowns .
Sparh had his top performance with McMurtrey on the sideline when he rushed for a career-high 104 yards on 19 carries against Collinsville in the regular season finale . He also ran for 70 yards with a touchdown against Tulsa Memorial , 64 yards against Tulsa McClain , and 49 yards with a pair of touchdowns , including one from 28 yards out , against Sallisaw .
Munoz finished his junior campaign with 244 yards on 40 attempts , averaging 6.1 yards per carry . He found the end zone three times . Munoz rushed for 44 yards on 11 carries against Sallisaw .
“ Josh has some lateral movements and he ’ s got some elusiveness ,” Gilbert said . “ It ’ s just going to be a little bit different than what we ’ ve had before , and there ’ s nothing wrong with that . Josh and Darryn are bringing some elements that we haven ’ t had , so it ’ s going to be kind of nice . They ’ re both experienced to a degree . They ’ re not as experienced as what Malik was heading into last year , but that ’ s okay . It ’ s a position where they both have a good grasp and understanding of . We ’ re excited about the style they ’ re going to bring .
“ We ’ re doing some things systematically that are going to play to their strengths . We ’ ve seen a lot of teams with running backs like what we ’ ll have … chew up a lot of yards , and that ’ s what they ’ ve got to understand . They ’ re going to have to stay true to the scheme . They ’ re not trying to hit the home run where we lost two yards . They ’ ve got to stay true to what ’ s been called , but with that , if they stay patient and learn how to run within our system , they ’ re going to have opportunities there for big gains .”
The wide receiver position will be one of the stronger , if not the strongest , groups for Tahlequah in 2022 .
The Tigers return their top four receivers — Race Stopp , Jacob Morrison , Cale Matlock and Beckett Robinson — from last year . As a group , they accounted for 74.6 percent of the Tigers ’ receptions , 74.5 percent of the yardage and 65 percent of the touchdowns .
Stopp , who will be a junior , was the team ’ s leader in catches ( 40 ), yards ( 465 ) and also led with five touchdowns .
Morrison , who will also be a junior , had 27 receptions for 338 yards with
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three scores . Matlock , who will be a senior , had 19 grabs for 260 yards with four TDs , and Robinson , a sophomore , posted 11 receptions for 112 yards and had one touchdown in limited action due to injury .
“ Right now , moving into the 2022 season , the strength of our offense are those guys ,” Gilbert said . “ Only one of them ’ s a senior . You ’ ve got a mixture of different styles of receiver , too . These guys are competitors , and as a coach , you just know …. some have it and some don ’ t . With what they did last year , these guys are competitors , and that ’ s what you want out on the field . It ’ s not something that can be coached .”
Matlock has the most size , standing 6-foot-3 , and gives Tahlequah a valuable possession receiver . Matlock had a season-best five catches for 65 yards with a pair of touchdowns against Pryor as a junior .
“ You ’ ve got Cale , who ’ s a reliable guy
See TIGERS , page 12
Gridiron Preview Fall 2022 • 11