Wayne Coleman did not want to mention it because he didn’t want to put any added pressure on his team.
The Indians were on the road at Lindale in the first of successive must-win situations to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs. The Tribe passed the first test, defeating Lindale 25-15, but then faced a home game against Nacogdoches for its regular-season finale.
“It was almost like the more distractions, the better it was,” Coleman said of the past two weeks. Against Lindale you go into it knowing it’s do or die … last week it was Senior Night, the Tomato Bowl ground-breaking ceremony and Veterans Day celebration.
“(The distraction) made our kids refocus more and more on the task. There is no doubt that we’ve been getting better every week.”
Jacksonville defeated Nacogdoches 56-34 to gain the fourth and final playoff spot out of District 17-5A. The Indians (6-4) now face College Station (8-2) Friday in a Class 5A Division II Region III bi-district playoff game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium in Palestine.
Coleman said College Station presents its own challenges, but his team has been in the “playoffs” now for weeks.
“We told the guys three weeks ago, ‘You’re in the playoffs starting with the Lindale game. If you don’t win that one (it’s over),” Coleman said. “We’ve been feeling that and blocked out that pressure the last two weeks, and that is what we need to continue to do.”
The winner of this game will face the winner of Huntsville and Georgetown next week in the area round.