The Tigers Football team came into the season with a goal of improving on its low-win record from last year, and did so by finishing with a 5-3 year-end record.
The team had a goal of reaching the A-Side bracket of the playoffs, and they've done so.
And now NACI is heading into next week's semi-finals as the North Division's second seed with the goal of defeating the RMFL's South Division's first-place team from Souris.
“We're cautiously optimistic,” coach Dave Clark explained.We're not looking at doing anything different, we're basically just preparing to stick to our game plan and use what we've done all year. There's just a few little adjustments that we're prepared to make.”
The Tigers, who came into the season as a underdog to even make the A-Side semi-finals, will also embrace an underdog role these playoffs. NACI will have to top the always strong Souris side this week to make the finals and, if that goal is reached, likely have an even tougher mountain to climb in facing the defending champions from Dauphin.
However, the Tigers coach believes his squad is able to beat any team if they take it play-by-play, and head into the game with the right mentality.
“Our goal is to be playing the following Sunday,” Clark added. “I don't think there's any team in this league we can't beat; if the stars align, any team can be beaten.”
This past Thursday, the Tigers finished their season with an emphatic 58-0 win over the Virden Golden Bears.
In a lopsided affair, NACI totaled 432 yards offense, as well as 43 tackles, one interception, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Lynden Middleton led the offense with three rushing touchdowns and 295 yards total off 15 carries, while Brady Plett ran once for a 55-yard touchdown, and Linden Baker used the quarterback sneak for a one-yard touchdown run.
Baker also completed three passes for 47 yards, including a 20-yard reception to Jeremy Roe for a touchdown.
Wyatt Salmon added a 65-yard special teams runback for a touchdown, while Middleton scored his fourth touchdown off an 85-yard run back.
Ashton Penner led the defense with six tackles and a fumble recovery, while Salmon had 12 tackle and three sacks.