Loveland, OH - Entering the month of September, the Loveland Tigers were trending in the wrong direction. As of September 1st, the Tigers sat at 0-3 and dead last in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference. Fast forward to mid-October, the Tigers sit at 5-4 and fourth in the ECC and are one of the hottest teams in Cincinnati. As the postseason approaches, this Tiger team is looking to make a big-time run at a district and possibly a state title.
The five-game winning streak is the Tigers’ longest winning streak in eight years and was kickstarted with a 31-20 win over rival Kings on September 8th. “The Kings win was huge for our program and the school,” stated head coach Andy Cruse. “For our players, it allowed us to have such a strong belief that we could beat anyone moving forward.” Captain Max Carver (11) shared this belief, saying, “Knowing that we have a target on our back as one of the hotter teams in the area really motivates us to be the best team we can be.”
Despite the immense challenges the Tigers faced early in the season, this team is confident in their ability to make a run in the OHSAA playoffs. “During those first three games, our team definitely showed glimpses of being a good team, we just needed to be more consistent and put it together for four complete quarters,” Cruse articulated. Colton Endicott (12) agreed, stating, “We certainly had the talent, and our last five games have shown that. We just have to show we want it more than the other team.”
During the Tigers’ five-game winning streak, Endicott has averaged 161.4 yards on the ground to go along with twelve rushing touchdowns, helping contribute to the Tigers averaging 37.2 points per game over this dominant stretch. Cruse felt a difference in the team's mantra during this winning streak: "From that first game against Kings, we have developed a strong belief that we can beat anyone. Our players are playing so hard, with a deep belief, and finding ways to win. They are a confident group and have a ton of fun playing the game.” Carver again agreed, saying, “Consistency allowed us to turn this losing streak into a winning streak. People consistently come to practice wanting to get better and compete. We want to keep winning.”
As this article is being written, the Tigers are projected to play the La Salle Lancers of the Greater Catholic League in the first round of the OHSAA state playoffs, where the Tigers would hold home-field advantage. Despite the challenges that lie ahead in the postseason, the Tigers are confident they can make a run. “Obviously the goal is always to win, but this year we believe we can win districts,” Carver states. “We have continued to grow every week and the mindset of winning has flooded our program and changed us for the better.”
“We have talked since last December about playing and winning postseason games,” Cruse continued. “All season we have talked about Week 11 and beyond and what we have to do to win those games.”
Be sure to continue to support Tiger Football and be in attendance for Week 1 of the playoffs on October 27th! Go Tigers!