Fresh off their first win of the season, the Whitesboro Bearcats are riding high after downing Ponder 22-6 to open district play at 1-0, but Friday, Oct. 2, they will take a big step up in competition when they face Boyd.
The Bearcats know the opportunity they have in front of them to go 2-0 to begin district and head coach Cody Fagan said to be successful, their running game has to step up their passing game.
“They’re a good football team,” Fagan said. “They’re playing well offensively so far and are putting up a lot of points. Our goal is to stop the run and stop the deep ball and we’ve done a good job three out of the four weeks this year. We want to make people be consistent with their underneath passing game. Offensively, we want to establish the run and take our deep shots when we need to. We were able to do that against Ponder.”
The Yellowjackets are 4-0 on the season and are averaging 42 points per game on offense while giving up just over 17 points on defense.
The Pirates are used to being the underdogs against Boyd as last season they were picked to lose, but came away with a surprising 27-7 victory to head into the playoffs on a high.
While many of the players from last year’s squad are new for Whitesboro, Boyd has the majority of that team returning.
“It would be huge for us to start 2-0 in district and our goal is for us to shock a lot of people that don’t expect a lot out of a 1-3 football team,” Fagan said. “We feel like we’re better than our 1-3 record with the adversity and the teams we’ve faced early.”
While the Bearcats have built confidence from their win against Ponder, Fagan said he preaches to his team to have a short memory and forget what has happened in the past.
“Earlier this year, it was forget a loss and now it’s let’s forget that win and go back to work and not get a big head,” Fagan said. “We’re focused on getting better every week in practice and I think anytime you get a win under your belt, you know you can do it and now it’s about playing consistently.”
Boyd operates out of a spread offense with the idea of running the ball with their quarterback.
The Yellowjackets employ a 4-3 defense that is built around their middle linebacker Nick Taylor. Fagan said they have experience dealing with Taylor last season and he knows Taylor will be a factor on both sides of the ball.
“He gave us some fits early last year, but we got him blocked late in the game,” Fagan said. “They’re going to be good. They won’t be very fancy, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do and use their big defensive tackles to keep our linemen from getting up on to [Taylor]. We want to protect the football. They’ve given up some points here and there, but we’ve got to play well on offense.”
As for what the Bearcats need to have cleaned up from their game against Ponder before Boyd, Fagan said they need to start faster.
“Defensively, we started fast and forced a punt early and then our offense drove down the field, but one illegal block penalty stalled that drive out,” Fagan said. “If we can ever punch one in early, our kids are going to realize we can do it. We can’t wait until the second half to finally get going offensively.”