HENRIETTA, TX (KAUZ) - Our Training Camp Road Trip wraps up District 5-3A Div. II with the defending champions, the Henrietta Bearcats. They are looking to make another deep playoff run this season, after a 10-win season a year ago.
They lost some seniors on offense, but they have quarterback Zack West coming back to help lead the unit.
"Going off of experience, he's got a way stronger arm [than last year]", said junior running back Mason Marchman. "He's throwing the ball a lot better, and of course he has gotten stronger, faster, he's been working all off season. He's just been tearing it up, and he's out here doing what he has to do to win."
"Our kids have a lot of faith in him," said head coach Byron West, who is Zack's uncle. "So I think that breeds into us believing in other people and guys on our team. He's obviously a natural born leader, and you know our other guys are kind of following in his footsteps doing the same thing. You know, we've got a lot of cogs to this thing just besides Zach West. We are going to lean on him and hopefully he can lead us in to where we want to go. But you know those other guys, there are a lot of people leading on this football team."
With West returning at quarterback, the Bearcats will have a new starting running back in Marchman. With the weapons they have on offense this season, Henrietta wants to be a balanced offense.
"I think we will be pretty balanced coming in," said senior lineman Ross Cantwell. "Of course Zach will be able to run the ball a lot and we have Mason as our running back and he will be able to run the ball too."
"I think we will be pretty balanced," Marchman agreed. "Like Ross said, Zach can run the ball and not only that but he can throw the ball too and we've got some pretty good wide receivers this year."
"I'm a run guy," said coach West. "If I can run the ball, we are going to run the ball. But I'm going to have to rely on Zach and those guys out there on the edge and do some of those things in our short passing game especially to relive a little bit of pressure."
The Bearcats' defense is looking to return to its form they have had over the past couple of seasons. They want to be fast, aggressive and cause turnovers.
"We've got a lot of expectations to live up to," Cantwell said. "The past few years, our defense has been really good and we just hope to come out and do the same as last year."
"We have real high expectations for ourselves," Marchman said. "But honestly we've just got to play, keep the mistakes to a minimum, and get turnovers and stop them."
"We had three or four of the leading guys in the area last year for interceptions and turnovers," coach West said. "So you know we have to get back to that. We may not be able to get back to that high a level, but we've got to get close and we've got to have some turnovers out of our secondary."
If everything comes together, the Bearcats hope to be fighting for another district title and make another deep playoff run.
"We have the same goals as a lot of the teams in the state," coach West said. "We want to, of course, we want to win district. And then we want to be in the playoffs and play for a while. We've got a pretty good tradition of doing some of those things so we are just going to try and live up to those."
"We want to be where we were last year," said Marchman. "And I think as a team I can speak for everybody that we want to go a little bit farther."
the Bearcats will open their season on the road a week from Friday, facing the Windthorst Trojans in our first Doctor Pepper Game of the Week this season!
On Thursday, we'll take a look at our lone area Class 3A Div. I team, the Bowie Jackrabbits.
Henrietta Bearcats 2017 Schedule
Sept. 1 at Windthorst, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs Paradise, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Bowie, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Boyd, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs Childress, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 BYE
Oct. 13 vs Jacksboro, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 20 vs Millsap, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 27 at Holliday, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 3 vs Nocona, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 10 at City View, 7 p.m.*