Harvester seek another Bi-District Championship with battle against Decatur Eagles in Snyder
The Pampa Harvesters (8-2, 1-2) take the road Friday seeking their fifth Bi-District Championship in six years as they take on the Decatur Eagles (5-5, 4-1) at Snyder.
The Harvesters are coming off a 28-9 loss against the formidable Dumas Demons (9-1).
“I felt like our kids battled really hard in that game,” Head Coach Greg Poynor said. “That was (junior quarterback) Sam Anguiano’s first start ever at quarterback. What a tough team to make your first start against. I felt like he got better and better as the game went on. I felt like the offense played really good in the second half and gave us some confidence heading into our playoff game.
“But they (Dumas) are a really good team and there is a reason they’ve won so many district games in a row. They’re a really good football team. I felt like we battled them and played hard. We just made too many mistakes and bad plays at the wrong time. But overall, I was really proud of our effort.”
Now the Harvesters turn their attention to Decatur, a team who was in the Regional Semi-Finals last season.
“They’re a really good football team,” Poynor said. “Offensively, they’ve got a really good quarterback (Senior Landon Howell), one outstanding receiver and a good offensive line. They’re the complete package on offense.
“Defensively, they’re better than what they’ve been in the past. That’s been their Achilles Heel in the past, but they are playing much better this year. They’re a really good football team with a lot of playoff experience and expect to win.”
Poynor said after playing Dumas and Canyon, he feels good getting Decatur on a neutral site.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence, too,” Poynor said. “Our defense has been playing at a high level. Sam is getting better every single day. Offensively, we’ve got some weapons. I feel like it’s going to be a great game.”
Anguiano and many other Harvesters will be making their first play-off start, but many seniors were on last year’s Bi-District Champion squad.
“One thing we try to tell our kids is to embrace that (the playoff atmosphere) and enjoy it,” Poynor said. “That’s a cool thing. The playoffs are just different. It’s more exciting and there is more finality to it. You win and you’ll be hoisting a trophy with everyone going crazy. You lose and you’re done.
“We tell them there are a lot of teams that wish they were playing this week, we’re one that’s fortunate enough to get to play.”
After facing two of what Poynor calls the best defenses he has ever faced, the Decatur 3-3 stack could open some running lanes for the Harvester rushing attack.
“I think Decatur has a really good defense, but I don’t put them anywhere near Canyon or Dumas,” Poynor said. “We feel like there’s areas we can throw the ball and exploit in their secondary. They run a 3-3 stack and we’ve had pretty good luck running against a 3-3 stack. I feel really good about our game plan to move the football.”
Offensively, Decatur sports Howell, senior receiver David Juarez and senior running back Jackson Carroll. Defensively, Carroll plays defensive back and senior linebacker Landry Phipps.
The roughly three-hour drive to Snyder can sometimes pose some risk of jet-lag for teams, but Poynor isn’t too concerned about the travel and said it could even give Pampa the edge over Decatur.
“This trip is almost identical for us and Decatur,” Poynor said. “I think we’re a little more used to traveling. Our Levelland trip was a little bit of a long trip. I think that’s a little more of an advantage for us, because those metro-plex schools don’t have to travel hardly at all so we feel like that is not a detriment to us. Our kids are good at it.
“We have a good plan when we travel a distance because we do it often.”
Keys to the game
• Red Zone Efficiency — “I feel really good about our ability to move the ball. But we will have to finish those drives. Against Dumas we got it inside the 15-yard line two or three times but we didn’t score. That’s what you can’t do. Especially against a team as explosive as Decatur.”
• No turnovers — “If you look at our two losses, we’ve turned it over seven times. We just can’t afford to do that against Decatur. Our defense is starting to get some turnovers but we have to take care of the ball.”
• Limit Decatur big plays — “They’ve done a good job of figuring out how to big-play people and we can’t give up the big play. We’ve got to make them work for everything and we can’t let a five-yard fast screen turn into a big play.”
How to watch/listen/attend
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) has different regulations in regards to live-streaming so information on that is to come.
Tickets can be purchased at schooleventtickets.com/snyder. Customers can use the code “Pampa2020.”
The game will be broadcast on KGRO at 103.3 or pamparadio.com or follow John Lee on Twitter @jcl1987.