Our High School Training Camp Road Trip swings into Archer City, where the Wildcats are feeling like they're close to breaking through and reaching the playoffs.
"For the past two years, we have busted our tails, and put ourselves in positions to win," said Head Coach Don Hasley.
In Hasley's two years as Archer City head coach, the Wildcats are just 2-7 in district play, but they haven't lost a single district game by more than two touchdowns.
The coaches and players know it comes down to the little things.
"We've just got to get over that hump, because I mean we were right there in every game last year," said junior quarterback Case Caldwell. "We've just got to learn how to buckle down and win the games now."
"It was honestly more frustrating [than encouraging]," said senior lineman Derek Wolf. "Because you know we were so close, every time. And you know it's just, we took one quarter off, and basically shot ourselves in the foot."
This year, the Wildcats are making some subtle changes, re-tooling their defense to focus on speed, over power.
"It's still the same general philosophy of flying to the football," said Coach Hasley. "Now we're just putting the fastest eleven guys on the football field."
The same goes on the offensive side, where they'll look to surround star running back Derrik Pollock with more speed, so he isn't being asked to win games by himself.
"We really feel like any skill kid we put on the field could go the distance," said Coach Hasley. "Now you can't just load the box, or we could hurt you."
"We lost a little bit of size, but I think we're going to make up for it with speed," said Pollock, who rushed for over 1,500 yards and thirteen touchdowns last season. "And all the plays I run are dependent on one guy. I follow him, and it's 88 and out the gate."
The Wildcats haven't reached the playoffs since a run to Regionals in 2010. They're out to end that drought this year.
"For us to really call this a successful season, with this group, I think we've got to into the playoffs," said Coach Hasley. "And not just show up, I think we've got to go into the playoffs and play a while."
"The last four years, playing since my freshman year, I've seen our team get better every year, but the scoreboard just doesn't say it," said Wolf. "I pray to God that my senior year, we go out with a bang."
The Wildcats will open their season at home, as they take on Petrolia on August 28th.