The Wildcats came off a romp over Vardaman last week, but found the Falkner Eagles a tougher opponent Sept. 26.
The Houlka defense shut down the Eagles in the first quarter, but their offense struggled, despite an opening drive in which the Wildcats marched to the Eagle’s 19-yard line. They couldn’t complete the drive, turning over on downs and adding a level of frustration on the field.
“I thought early in the ball game, during the first half, we shot ourselves in the foot with personal foul penalties,” said coach Adam Gentry. “We just can’t have those type of things happen. That helped lead to points for the other team early on.”
The Eagles scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, the first coming off a Wildcat fumble that positioned the ball in Eagle’s territory.
Although the Wildcats battled miscues in the first half, the defense took advantage of Falkner mistakes with Larry Jones, Jacquez Foster and Tyreque Reed all coming up with interceptions. However, the offense couldn’t convert the opportunities and the half closed with Houlka down 0-13.
Third quarter rally
The Wildcats came out strong in the third as the defense held the Eagles on their first drive and Lewis Moore blocked a Falkner punt to set up the Wildcats on the 20-yard line. James Buggs gained yards toward the goal and Q Beaty made the final push across the line for the score. Sawyer Byars’ PAT was good putting the Wildcats on the board.
But the Eagles didn’t make it easy on the Cats, racking up two more scores in the third to advance to 26-7.
Late in the third, Wyatt Esterley and Buggs combined to keep the chains moving and Buggs finished the drive crossing from one sideline to the other on his way to a 26-yard TD. Byar’s PAT was blocked, but the Wildcats closed the gap to 26-13.
“I felt good about how we responded, especially in the third quarter,” Gentry said. “We had the defensive stand to start the second half along with the blocked punt that set us up in prime field position to score. Really proud we fought back there. I think it shows our attitude and character are building, fighting back in those situations.”
Moving to the next challenge
The Eagles weren’t quite finished as they posted two more scores in the fourth to take the 38-13 win, but Gentry is already looking forward into further division play.
“It’s a process and we are on a journey together right now,” Gentry said. “We are going to have to take it in baby steps, but we have improved every week.”
The Wildcats will travel to Hamilton (3-2, 1-1) Oct. 4 for another division game and Gentry wants them to be ready.
“We really need to have it for playoff impications and post-season hopes,” Gentry said. “We are just going to keep working hard and get better every day. Play to the best of our ability and potential every game and look up at the scoreboard at the end and see where we stand.”