Friday night at Prim Stadium the Wildcats will seek their first win in district play as they host the Mt Pleasant Tigers. The Tigers have been a traditional rival for the Wildcats for a number of years. Before the players go head-to-head, the two coaches, Wildcat Head Coach Greg Owens and Tiger Head Coach Cory Homer talk to KSST News in separate interviews.
Cory Homer is a former MP Tiger who is now in his second year as Tiger head coach. Wildcat Coach Owens, a former Wildcat, is in his 10th season as Wildcat head coach. While the Wildcats seek their first win in district, the Tigers defeated Greenville last week.
Homer and the Tigers faced two 4-A schools, Paris and Liberty Eylau, as their pre-district season started. Both Paris and L E were in play-offs last year and Homer said they seemed to be strong with a lot more experience and ahead of the curve for this season. Against Jacksonville, another 5-A school, Homer said his Tigers let the ball get away from them with fumbles and time of possession as well as putting points on the board. He said the Tigers played well enough to win but the four fumbled helped Jacksonville defeat them. At Greenville, Homer thought his team had it all together. He said it has been a long time since the Tigers were 1-0 to begin district.
Homer calls the game at Prim a “long, epic battle” which is an old traditional rivalry. He remembered the preparation he and teammates endured as they readied to face the Wildcats. He said it was something that he treasured and something for which he has a high respect. He also expressed his respect for Coach Owens, his character, his coaching staff, and the teams they produce.
Wildcats Football Coach Greg Owens enters the game with losses to Rockwall Heath, Whitehouse, and a forfeit to Sherman in preseason and a loss to Texas High last week as district season began. Owens sees the key to the Mt. Pleasant and Wildcats game Friday being whoever can win the battle in the trenches: the shuffled Wildcats offensive line versus the Tigers four man defensive front and the Wildcats defensive front against the Tigers large offensive line. Coach Owens says his team needs the win.
Owens said his team’s attitude is “pretty good” as they renewed their focus early this week. Owens said he isn’t over the loss Texas High. Owens knows the Tigers have been struggling in previous years. However, Owens is aware that the win last week has been encouraging to the Tiger fans, team, and coaches. He said the Tiger O line is big with a shifty running back that looks for the open space. Owens said the Wildcat defense will have to be aggressive coming off the back and find a way into the Tiger backfield. The Tigers run more (60%) more than they pass (40%) unless they are behind and then it is 50-50, according to Owens. A variety of sets are used by the Tigers including shot-gun, two tight ends, H-back, pistol move. They will be a four-down look on defense. Their base defense is a 4-3 but will go 4-1 or 4-2 when the Wildcats are more spread out on offense. He is concerned about their secondary’s ability to cover.
Owens said whoever wins the line battles will win the game.