Coach Koetting says that this year, River Road has turned a page. “What’s concerning is they are way better than what they have been,” Koetting began. “Last year, we beat them pretty good. But I looked at them on film this year, and they are good. Let me tell you, it ain’t the same River Road team we have faced in the past,” he warned.
“They played Abernathy tough the other night, and Abernathy is dang good,” Koetting continued. “What you can see on film is that they are just playing hard, and I mean really hard. They have changed their offense from a spread to a wing-T, and they are dang good at it. It’s helped them as a team, and they can slow the game down a little bit. They’ve got a good team this year, and they are way better than what people think.”
Koetting believes this is due to the quality of the junior class and noted that the starting quarterback (Lance Welps) is also the head coach’s son. “Welps scored on a 99-yard run against Abernathy, if that tells you what kind of speed he has, Koetting said. “He has been in a more throwing-type of offense in the past, but this offense suits him, too. River Road is going to win some games this year.”
Due to the Wildcats’ high profile in the Panhandle, Canadian is always going to get everyone’s best game, Koetting stated. “Every opponent is going to play an extra 25 percent harder against us, just because we are Canadian. You know you’re always going to get everybody’s best shot, but it’s been that way forever.” The best kept secret about that fact—getting everyone’s very best every week, in turn forces Canadian to play that much better, and do it consistently.
Koetting said that River Road will also be mixing it up on the defensive side. “They are going to come at us with both a four-man and a three-man front, and they’ll do that to try to mix us up and confuse us. We will have to work to be ready for that,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to be hot during Friday night’s game, but Koetting said that his Wildcats are prepared for the weather conditions. “Our kids have been handling it and have been working well in the heat, so that isn’t a major concern for us. But we’ll be diligent and make sure our boys are hydrated and healthy at the same time.”