By Antonio Morales
After only playing one quarter of action since their gritty win in Abernathy, the Wildcats host the 0-5 Pampa Harvesters for the first time in 85 seasons tonight. The Wildcats have found their form and are attempting to survive one of the toughest non-district schedules in Class 2A with a 5-1 mark.
The Harvesters are on the other side of the spectrum, limping their way through a brutal 3A non-district schedule. While Pampa returned a powerful offensive line, their run game hasn’t been able to get into much of a rhythm, as they have been outscored 232-67 through five contests.
Despite their lowly record, the Harvesters still present a physical challenge for the Cats, having held Canadian to just 26 points in last season’s matchup in Pampa.
“We’re trying to make sure our offense does better than last year,” said Wildcat lineman Bo Dickinson. “We need to come out with a high tempo and put points on the board.”
Putting points on the board should be a matter of execution for the Cats, as the Harvesters have given up at least 42 points in their last four games.
The Harvester defense has had trouble slowing down the run game, so the Wildcat offense might benefit from looking to their backfield on a more consistent basis.
Senior lineman Andrew Jiminez and linebacker Larry Ragan anchor a Pampa defense that forced 25 turnovers last year. Ragan led the team in tackles with 85 and Jiminez followed with 53.
The Wildcat defense will have to stay on their toes to keep up with Pampa’s various types of formations. The Harvesters try to confuse opposing defenses by sending different receivers and backs in motion and the handing off the ball.
Daymon Flores, Bryce McClendon and Adrian Elam are each looking for a breakout performance, running behind one of the largest offensive lines in the region.
Pampa opened their season with a 36-12 loss at Iowa Park, followed that with a 56-7 loss to Canyon, and have yet to sniff a victory.
If the Wildcats continue to play with the same physicality they showcased in Abernathy, then they should be well on their way to streaking into district play with a four-game win streak.
The Harvesters make the 45-mile trip to Wildcat Stadium tonight, as the US 60 neighbors are set to clash at 7:30.
photos by Laurie Ezzell Brown