You’d think having a game under their belts would help out the Beckville Bearcats heading into Friday night’s game with the Harleton Wildcats, who were idle last week thanks to COVID-19.
It wasn’t the Wildcats who had virus trouble; it was the White Oak team they were supposed to play.
So Beckville head Coach Cody Ross believes the Wildcats have the advantage.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at R.C. Beauchamp Stadium.
“I don’t think it will be an advantage for us,” Ross said of playing the opening week. “They’re probably fresher and they were able to scout us. Most teams scrimmage, but they stay vanilla and don’t show anything. We had no idea what Joaquin was going to run.
“I’d rather have had them play, so I’d know what they are going to do. It’s probably an advantage for them.”
The Wildcats may not have played a game yet, but they come into Friday’s contest with eight starters back on offense and six more on defense. And that’s off a team that went 1-9 in 2018 and rebounded for a 10-3 mark last year and a made it as far as the regional semifinals.
“Taber Childs is their best player, JoJo Clark is another good one,” said Ross. “They both had big games last year. Their quarterback Grayson Handlin is back and he’s a senior. They’re also pretty big up front on both sides of the ball.
“They’re going to run the ball. They’ll do some play action, but they’re going to run the football. Heavy, heavy run.”
Childs, who plays fullback and defensive end, may be the best player, but he earns most of his accolades on defense as he had 98 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. Cole Ring is the running back who rushed for 1,000 yards last season.
Beau Simmons, Jaydon Willie and Izahah McClain provide the size up front for the Wildcats.
“We’ve got to take care of the football and cut down on the penalties,” Ross said. “We had 12 penalties Friday night. We also have to find a way to get into the end zone. We had some good drives and moved the ball, but we just didn’t put the ball in the end zone. If we had, we would have won.”
Getting the ball in the end zone is the job of Ryan Harris, Milo Morrison and JaColby Williams. The trio combined for 179 yards rushing last week. Harris and Williams hooked up five times for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Morrison is a leader on defense as well along with Bo Hammons, Williams, Jonathon Sanchez and Jeremiah Steph.
Harris Rating System says this game is a pick’em.