Battle of undefeated teams to open District as Pampa Harvesters travel to Canyon
The Pampa Harvesters (7-0) will open District play on Thursday evening against the Canyon Eagles (6-0) at Kimbrough Stadium in Canyon.
The Harvesters will be coming off of a bye week where they were primarily trying to get healthy before facing one of the top teams in the state of Texas.
“It (the bye week) came at a great time for us, it really did,” Head Coach Greg Poynor said. “We had some bumps and bruises and I feel like we’ve gotten healthy, rested and I think it was good for us mentally and physically. It was a really good week, it really was.”
Some of the pieces to benefit from the break are in the receiving corp. including senior Cayden Stout and junior Hunter Dyer.
“We’re hoping Hunter Dyer will be able to play a full game for us and Cayden Stout played, but he was a little hurt,” Poynor said. “Defensively Cayson Steward, was missing, but he will be back full and healthy. We feel like we’ve got some of our pieces back.”
Where we rank
Pampa is ranked 22nd in the Harris Poll, 16th in the Padilla Poll and is an underdog (14-point Padilla, 19-point Harris) as they head into Thursday against Canyon (4th Harris, 3rd Padilla), who is also undefeated with mutual opponent wins over Levelland (40-0) and at Borger (40-3).
“They’re really, really good,” Poynor said. “It depends on which poll you’re looking at, but I saw one where they’re ranked as high as No. 3 in the state and all of them have them as the No. 1 ranked team in our region. When I watch the film they just don’t have any weaknesses. Their defense is really good, they went on a four-game stretch where they just gave up three points. I think they’ve only given up 45 points for the entire year.”
Offensively, the Eagles are led by Senior Jay Defoor, who didn’t play in the Harvesters’ 38-31 regular-season finale win at Canyon last year. Poynor added Defoor is equipped with several weapons primed to score.
“They’re just good at every single position,” Poynor said. “Their overall team speed impressed me on both sides of the ball. Their secondary are really good cover guys and their fast, good tacklers. Their defensive front is really big. Their outside linebackers are two of the best players on their team.”
The Eagles haven’t faced a team like Pampa, however, who is averaging 50 points/game themselves with a defense keeping opponents at 20 points/game.
“Canyon is going to be the best team we play this year by far,” Poynor said. “But we are by far the best team they have played this year, too. I expect it to be a great game with two really good football teams and we’re just really excited about it.”
Poynor added the Eagles haven’t faced a team that can throw the ball quite like the Harvester offense can.
“We feel like we’re built to do that (pass the ball),” Poynor said. “We feel like there are some holes in their secondary and there’s some places where there is some grass we can throw to.
I don’t feel like they’ve faced a running back like they are going to (in junior running back Cornelius ‘Peanut’ Landers). I think they’re a great defense but we’re really confident in our offense, too.”
Keys to the game
• Turnovers — “Canyon has about five pick sixes on the year. A lot of teams don’t even get five interceptions in a year, but they have five pick sixes. I think turnovers are going to be critical and feel like the team that wins the turnover battle has a great chance of winning this game.” Poynor added that senior quarterback Jack Studebaker has done a great job of taking care of the football after his three-interception game in Week 1 vs. Elk City.
• Score in the red zone — “When we get it in the red zone, we’ve got to get it in the end zone. Field goals are not going to beat Canyon. We’ve got to find a way to score touchdowns.”
• No big plays from Canyon — “We can’t give up the big play. They’ve done a great job of big play-ing people and they have the receivers to do it. We’ve got to do a good job to make them work for every single yard they get. If we can keep them from big plays we can slow them down on offense.”
How to watch
This game will not be streamed on the Pampa High School YouTube page. Instead will be on www.newschannel10.com/live. It will also be on KFDA 10Too Channel No. 32 (Sparklight). Tickets for the game are available through https://bit.ly/35w8Ld9 (Ticketspicket.com).
As always, follow John Lee on Twitter @jcl1987 for in-game updates.