Facing an unbeaten Class A varsity squad, the Sallisaw junior varsity dropped a 28-17 decision to Talihina on Thursday.

The Golden Tigers, who have bounced between Class A and 2A in recent years, jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the young Black Diamonds rallied, making it 21-17. They nearly took a third-quarter lead.

“I thought the JV played  excellent against the No. 9 team in Class A,” head coach Craig Benson said. “I’m proud of the way they huddled up and got after them.”

When the Golden Tigers, who beat Vian out for the 2A-6 crown two years ago, were unable to fill a hole in their schedule, Sallisaw stepped in. The school agreed to host the Golden Tigers, complete with cheerleaders and band.

Benson said Salliasaw wanted to give the Talihina players and fans “a regular varsity experience.”

Of course the Diamonds also gained from the match-up.

“We got a lot of good reps for a lot of good young kids,”   Benson said. “We had a chance to take a lead in the third quarter.”