Friday, our high school football Training Camp Road Trip continues in Archer City. After winning just 1 game a year ago., the Wildcats are looking to bounce back this year in District 7-2A Div. II.
With the senior leadership they have returning to the team, they plan to put last year's down season in the rear-view mirror.
"I mean we had probably some things happen that not anybody else in the state of Texas had to go through," said 4th-year head coach Don Hasley. "We've decided that's over with, we don't bring it up. We saw the mistakes and we started correcting those during the ending part of the season last year. This has all been about this group and this year."
The best example of this is on offense. Archer City is changing things up and going with the Wing-T this year.
"We really felt, with the group that we were going to have coming back, that a move in offense was going to be best for us," Hasley said. "You know, everything is in cycles anyway. This used to be the thing, and then everybody went to the spread and we're going to try and get ahead of the curve and bring the cycle back around."
"It's tough to learn really, because we're switching it all up," admitted senior running back Darek Simmons. "But I feel like we can do really good with it. If we just really try, we've got it."
The 'Cats will also have a new quarterback, in senior Caleb Rodriguez. It's his first year under center, but his teammates and the coaching staff believe he can do the job.
"We feel like we've got a quarterback that all the kids respect, and they want to follow him," Hasley said. "Last year we had a kid jump in at quarterback, he did a fantastic job in a tough situation. And this year we got the same: another kid coming in that hadn't played quarterback. But he's a leader, and he's the right kind of kid and he's the one that we wanted to pull the trigger and all the kids, he's the one they wanted pulling the trigger."
"He's a natural born leader," Simmons said. "He knows how to do this stuff pretty well, and he's doing the best he can."
Archer City also plans to tweak the defense, and the secondary should be a strength for this team.
"I think it's going to be better for us," said senior linebacker Jarrod Richie, who also plays running back on offense. "We ran it a couple of years ago and we had some success with it."
"I feel like our secondary can cover the field pretty good, and pick off the ball," said Simmons, who plays defensive back on that side of the ball.
"The thing that we are going to have against us is overall size," Hasley said. "So, we put a defense in that kind of develops the idea that we can use what we have."
The Wildcats are hoping a new year -- and a new season -- rings some new results.
"You know, last season wasn't the best," Simmons said. "Getting a winning season and getting playoffs -- something we haven't done in a while -- that would be a huge relief off my shoulders."
"We've been together since midgets," said Rodriguez. so we know how to play well with each other. We've been through everything together and we've had a lot of losing seasons, but we're looking to turn it around this year."
The Wildcats will open their season on the road on Friday, August 25th, as they visit the Millsap Bulldogs.
Saturday night, we'll finish week 1 of our previews with a look at the Quanah Indians!
Archer City Wildcats 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Millsap, 7
Sept. 2 vs Nocona, 7
Sept. 9 vs Seymour, 7
Sept. 16 at Olney, 7
Sept. 23 at Baird, 7:30
Sept. 30 BYE
Oct. 7 vs Munday, 7*
Oct. 14 at Petrolia, 7*
Oct. 21 vs Quanah, 7*
Oct. 28 vs Haskell, 7*
Nov. 4 at Electra, 7*
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