WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The year was 1994 and the Archer City Wildcats had just won back to back district championships.
That would end up being the last time the Cats would make the playoffs in back-to-back years, until last year.
Tonight our Blitz on 6 preseason preview takes us to Archer City where the Wildcats have spent the past several months thinking about the 54-47 loss to Wheeler in the opening round of the playoffs.
“It carried over,” said Wildcat head coach Chad Hanna. “It carried us into the off-season and carried us through the summer.”
And with 9 starters returning on each side of the ball, the Cats are hoping to win a playoff game for the first time in a decade.
“There’s going to be a lot of leadership,” said coach Hanna. “I think they’ve just got to take that role and they’ve got to run with it but I’m not worried about it.”
And one of those leaders will be second-year quarterback Ty Bates, who is hoping to build off the progress made last season which includes 2,500 yards passing and 25 touchdowns.
“I think I did a decent job but this year I want to step even further into that role and challenge myself even more to excel in every way,” said Bates.
“He just gained a lot more confidence as the year went on and he had a great game against wheeler and I think that is really going to propel him into the season,” said coach Hanna.
But last year it was the defense that stepped up when the Cats needed them, forcing big turnovers in clutch situations.
And despite losing 3 outstanding seniors, including all-state linebacker Dylan Briggs, coach Hanna says he isn’t worried about filling their shoes.
“I think we’ve got the guys to do it,” said Coach Hanna. “I think we may have some growing pains, but I think Dylan’s younger brother Layne is going to fill that spot nicely.”
“We have to make sure and get every ball that’s on the ground,” said senior wide receiver Callen McCasland.
After a week one bye, the 22nd ranked Wildcats will kick off their season September 4th against Haskell.