Football

Wildcats remain optimistic despite 1-4 start

Jeff Stahlhut, Correspondent
Posted 10/8/21

For the Wright City Wildcats football team, a 1-4 start was not exactly the plan coming into the season.

With a 52-7 loss to the Mark Twain Tigers (5-1) last Friday night, the team is in exactly …

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Football

Wildcats remain optimistic despite 1-4 start

Posted

For the Wright City Wildcats football team, a 1-4 start was not exactly the plan coming into the season.

With a 52-7 loss to the Mark Twain Tigers (5-1) last Friday night, the team is in exactly that spot, but head coach Tyler Rickard is still looking for reasons for optimism.

Even in defeat, strong performances from quarterback Joey Gendron, receivers Hayden Beck and Duan McRoberts and lineman Kyle Horneker stood out. Gendron finished the night completing nine passes in 20 attempts for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Beck and McRoberts each caught three passes for 28 and 56 yards, respectively. Beck also had one touchdown on a game that the Wildcats kept close for a while, trailing just 8-7 after one quarter.

“Joey threw the ball well, Hayden made some big catches, and Kyle Horneker gelled really well with the left side of the line,” said Rickard. Defensively, Jeremiah Davis had a huge game for us. He led us in tackles with 12, plus had two pass break ups in key situations.”

In an effort to kickstart the offense, the Wildcats made some adjustments on the offensive side of the ball that Rickard believes will make more of a difference with each passing week.

“We made some personnel changes offensively coming into this game in hopes to provide our offense some additional firepower,” he said. “We moved Beck out to receiver, Gendron to quarterback and Horneker to left guard. I knew these changes would present a learning curve for those guys and the offense as a whole, but I felt it's what's going to provide our offense with an additional spark we need moving forward.”

Even with the changes, the team knew it was facing a big challenge in Mark Twain.

“Coming into the game, we knew Mark Twain would be a tough team. They are big up front and run the ball really well,” Rickard told The Record. “We made a few adjustments defensively to counter their scheme, and through the first half I felt like we held our own.However, they just wore us down in the second half. Our kids kept battling, but we ran out of gas.”

Rickard was also quick to credit the Tigers coming into the game with a solid game plan.

“Offensively, we knew we needed to spread them out and try to get to the edge,” he said. “While we had some success, I have to credit Mark Twain for doing a good job of keeping us bottled up for most of the game. They brought a lot of pressure, which made it tough to get the ball out to our receivers and run the ball effectively.”

Next up for Wright City are the North Callaway Thunderbirds, a team that comes into the game with a record of 3-2 after getting out to a 3-0 start. Even with consecutive losses to Stratford (48-14) and Bowling Green (56-6), Rickard knows another challenge awaits.

“North Callaway is always a solid ball club.They play disciplined football and don't make many mistakes,” he said. “We are going to need to put sound drives together on offense, try to keep them behind the sticks defensively and limit our mistakes in order to come away with a win.”

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