After a 2020 pandemic-shortened 1-6 season, the Tigers have a new attitude. This year they had a 9-1 winning season and were in the postseason playoffs for the first time since 2013, when they lost a playoff game. They finished this season ranked 8th in Ohio and played 9th ranked Troy in a first playoff game. Troy scored the first touchdown, but the Tigers then scored 29 points for Withrow’s first playoff win in 102 years. Senior running back Ty’Aris Stevenson ran for 256 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Antwonex Fant ran for 78 and a score and threw a touchdown to fellow senior Donsha Knox. Consistent with its season of four shutouts, the defense remained strong. The Tigers then played the No. 1 seed Piqua the following week but lost a close game 17-13 and finished the season 9-2.
Congratulations to the hard working Tiger student-athletes, Coach Kali Jones, who has worked wonders in his three year tenure, his assistant coaches and volunteers who have supported the football team. Of those, Mrs. Nicole Fredricks has been an ever-present volunteer assisting with everything, including arranging for study time during the pandemic year, fund-raising, food, team travel, etc.
While on the road in the playoffs, the Tigers won the respect of guests and staff of the Holiday Inn Express in Piqua where they stayed as reflected in the following letter from Jace Elliott, Ass’t. General Manager.
An IHG Hotel
To Whom it May Concern,
I am the AGM at the Holiday Inn Express (Dayton SW-University Area), and I would like to say that the Withrow Football team has been the single best group to have come through our hotel.
We do an inordinate amount of youth sports business because of our location, and the typical experience with youth sports is that children are left loosely supervised, if at all. Coach Kali Jones and Mrs. Nicole Fredricks have not only kept things calm and controlled. but have also taken the time and care to ensure that their players are taken care of. I have never, in 5 years of hospitality management, seen a group so organized and well behaved, even to the point of being made to keep up with their schoolwork while traveling for a game. Mrs. Fredricks has kept this venture so well coordinated and has not missed a step the entire time, despite the immense complexity of an operation like this. I cannot imagine the number of moving parts that she has to deal with to make these events work, and she has maneuvered them with the utmost aplomb.
The singular issue experienced was a bit of excess noise from the boys in their rooms, which Coach Jones and his Assistant Coaches dealt with immediately and with the utmost professionalism, in a fashion to which I am highly unaccustomed to seeing from Coaches. Normally, issues like that would repeat through the night, but the respect your players hold for Mr. Jones and his Assistants is evidently very high considering that we did not receive a repeat complaint. My staff reported that they stayed up late just to monitor the players‘ rooms and ensure that they were on their best behaviour. The caring and stern attitude they take with these boys is just remarkable. If the rest of your
staff are even half as good as the leaders who have represented you so well here in Dayton, then your students are most certainly being set up forsuccess.
The players even cleaned up after themselves when they left the lobby, both the night they arrived and after breakfast this morning, and studied in as near to silence as one can expect from 50 teenage boys. There was no pushing, no horseplay, not even overly loud conversation for a moment of their time in the lobby this morning, which speaks volumes of the quality of care and education your staff is providing them. The decorum displayed by your staff and students has been, in a word, absolutely refreshing. This gives me hope for the next generation, and I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation for the hard work and dedication that your district has clearly put into shaping these boys into upstanding young men.
Warmest regards and many thanks,
Jace M. Elliott”