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Tahlequah Tigers – 2021 Pigskin Preview Feature – Presented By Stuteville Ford Of Tahlequah

Tahlequah Tigers



9-3 – at McLain

9-10 – vs. Wagoner

9-17 – at Sallisaw

9-24 – vs. Pryor

10-1 – at Nathan Hale

10-8 – vs. Sapulpa

10-14 – at Claremore

10-22 – vs. Glenpool

10-29 – at Tulsa Memorial

11-5 – vs. Collinsville 

Quick Hits:

Tahlequah running back Malik McMurtry totaled 215 yards of offense and a pair of touchdowns on just 14 touches in a 37-7 win over Claremore. 

The Tigers are on a streak of six consecutive winning seasons. That’s the longest stretch since 1987 to 1993. 

Last 7 Years:
2020 – 6-5

2019 – 9-2

2018 – 9-2

2017 – 8-4

2016 – 7-5

2015 – 8-3 

2014 – 5-6 


The Tigers look to restore the roar of success in 2021 centered around a core group of returning veterans.  The offensive attack welcomes returning playmakers led by quarterback Tyler Joice (5-11, 198, Sr.) who set a school record for completion accuracy of 63 percent resulting in 1,373 yards and 14 touchdown strikes. The ground game has proven talent with the return of Malik McMurtrey (5-11, 184, Sr.) who despite missing three games totaled 793 yards and scored seven times. Josh Munoz (5-10, 187, Jr.) and Darren Sparh (5-10, 190, So.) will give head coach Brad Gilbert additional options.  A trio of wide receivers including Parker Lane (5-11, 182, Sr.) who averaged 15-plus yards per catch, Cale Matlock (6-3, 167, Jr. and Coda Bunch (5-9, 167, Jr.) give Joice go-to-guys along with tight ends Eli McWilliams (6-2, 216, Sr.) and Jayden Moore (6-0, 188, So.) strengthening the passing attack.  Tahlequah will look to Luis Hernandez (5-11, 192, Sr.) to anchor play in the trenches along with Bryce Henderson (6-1, 237, Sr.), Tate Whitemore (6-5, 301, Sr.), Alec Willard (5-10, 207, Sr. and newcomer Cade Shankle (6-2, 233, So.). “The key for our offensive success will be the development in the offensive front,” explained Gilbert. “Tyler and Malik have the proven experience at their spots that will allow us to do more this season.” 


The chant of 9-5-9 remains loud and strong as the Tigers return five starters to a very active defensive unit. VYPE Top 100 pick Eli McWilliams will captain a group of linebackers surrounding the football on every snap. After receiving multiple D-I offers, McWilliams, now a University of Tulsa commit, recorded 75 tackles in 2020 including four tackles for loss. Luke Chaffin (5-9, 197, So.) and Mason Watkins (5-10, 178, So.) will see time at inside linebacker while Khaidyn Spoonmore (5-10, 174, Sr.), Josh Munoz and Jameer McDowell (6-2, 198, Sr.) will defend the boundary at outside linebacker. The defensive front will again play with force including returning starters Jonathan Davis and Hunter Clay (6-2, 191, Sr.) at end while Aiden Glynn (5-11, 247, Sr.), Jon Lyman (5-11, 193, Sr.), Luis Hernandez and Bryson Smith (6-0, 224, So.) secure the middle in the trenches. The secondary unit will be led by veterans including Dylan Leep (6-2, 181, Jr.), Parker Lane, and Malik McMurtrey at cornerback while Koda Bunch and Jacob Morrison will defend the pass and run at safety. “Defensively, we’ve got a lineup of players that thrive on making contact,” said Gilbert who enters his 11th season on the Tahlequah sidelines as head coach and whose teams have reached the Class 5A playoffs the past seven seasons. “Overall, the outlook for success remains. We just need to answer a few questions because we want more than just making the playoffs. “

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