AREA FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Natoma Sets High Bar for 2021
The 2020 season saw the Natoma Tigers qualify for postseason for the first time in 13 years and for the first time since the school dropped down to 6-Man Football in 2016.
In a campaign against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic that saw two games get cancelled and another rescheduled with a new opponent at the last minute, Natoma raced out to a 3-0 start as they shut out Northern Valley, Weskan and Pawnee Heights all in a row. Reality set in some when the Tigers lost their regular season finale at home to eventual 6-Man State Champion Cheylin and to runner-up Moscow in the first round of the playoffs.
Even with the tough ending, excitement is rampant in Natoma with the arrival of new Head Coach Robert Cox from Deerfield and despite many of the town's residents having to deal with an unexpected flood in mid-May which caused damage to several homes.
One of the first things that impressed Cox was the way Natoma's residents came together in reaction to the flooding and his new players also made a strong first impression.
Cox says the success of the 2020 season motivated the Tiger players led by seniors Derek George and Kayden Martinez to strive for more in 2021 which made his job easier as he took over the reins of the program.
While the spotlight is definitely on the returning players, Cox encourages Tiger fans to keep an eye on one of the newest members of the team.
Natoma opens the 2021 season at home on September 3 against Cox's former team, the Deerfield Spartans. Cox is assisted by former Tiger Football standout Tyler Masters who returns for his fourth season.