Pampa Harvesters open season against Elk City Elks


The Harvesters may lean on their run game on Friday. Which could mean a lot of looks for Cornelius Landers.
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The Pampa Harvesters will start their season against the Elk City Elks on Friday.

It’ll be the first time since 2016 Pampa has faced their Oklahoma nemesis, and Head Coach Greg Poynor said the team will play a little different on the field.

“They have new head coach this year and he is what I like to call an old-school coach,” Poynor said. “They are straight I-Formation, under-center, run a lot of Power, ISO and Lead-type plays. They aren’t going to throw it very much.

“They are pretty physical. He’s done a good job with them. I feel like they are already a better team than they were the last time we faced them.”

Defensively, Elk City runs a 3-3 Stack, which Poynor said will lend it’s hand to a lot of rushing the quarterback.

“Their line is aggressive, they have linebackers that can move and are pretty good in the back-end (secondary),” Poynor said. “It’ll be a much bigger challenge than Friday night (scrimmage against Vernon) was.”

Poynor feels like Pampa’s advantages will come in experience and depth.

“They’ve only got two seniors starting,” Poynor said. “Almost all of them are juniors and sprinkle in some sophomores. So a lot of those kids, I don’t think, have a lot of varsity experience. I think that’s a little advantage for us. And a lot of those players play both ways.”

Poynor added their best defensive back is also their best wide receiver and the Elks’ quarterback also plays defensive back.

The Harvesters’ air-raid offense against Elk City’s two-way players could lead to Pampa being fresher after halftime.

“I don’t think they’ve seen a passing game like ours,” Poynor said. “What they’ve seen is pretty vanilla and what we run is a little more intricate. So I’m interested to see how they react.”

The Pampa Harvesters and junior running back Chase Landers may be looking at a loaded front six defenders with that 3-3 Stack, or Poynor said the Elks may move one of those defenders into pass-coverage.

“We’ve run it pretty well on a 3-3 Stack in the past, but we think there is a possibility they will slide one of those guys out to give them another cover guy against us,” Poynor said. “If they do, it’s a five-man box and we really feel like we can run effectively.”

Poynor added is coaching staff anticipates more pass-rush after watching the film from Friday’s scrimmage.

“They may look at Friday’s film and say rushing three didn’t work very well,” Poynor said. “There were times Jack (Studebaker, quarterback) was able to just sit in the pocket. When teams do that to us, we feel really good. I just don’t anticipate that this week. I think they will try to bring some heat and some backers.”

Looking back at Friday’s scrimmage, Pampa had 13 possessions with 12 of them resulting in touchdowns. Poynor said the Harvesters will need to be able to stay focused and not make some of the mental errors they made Friday.

“I’m super happy with our offense,” Poynor said. “I think they lost some focus toward the end of the scrimmage because it came so easy. Everything was easy. That’s what we’re trying to get better at. Forget the score and be as perfect as you can on every play.”

Defensively, Pampa is going to have to be disciplined on defense as Elk City runs a Veer (Triple-Option) offense.

“They’ve got a Dive, a Pitch or the quarterback will keep it,” Poynor said. “We used to see that all of the time and we’d start Day 1 with our option rules. We don’t see that hardly anymore. That’s always a concern. You’ve got to be really, really disciplined. You’re going to have people responsible just for the dive, for the quarterback and for the pitch.”

There will certainly be nerves for the Harvesters in this first game as for many varsity players, it’s their first time playing under Friday Night Lights.

“We have a lot of kids it’s truly their first varsity game they are playing,” Poynor said. “We have other kids that even though they played last year, this is the first time they’re ‘the man.’ There will be some nerves. We need to control those early. Hopefully we have success early so we can get the nerves out of the way.”

Keys to the game

Staying on defensive assignments - “We have to be really disciplined on defense,” Poynor said. “As Coach John Richmond (defensive coordinator) put it in his scouting report, you’ve got to ‘Do your job.”

Executing on offense - “We’re facing a different defense and probably some heat,” Poynor said.

Take care of the football and execute in the red zone - “We need to keep them out when they’re down there and get points when we get down there,” Poynor said. “They are going to use the clock. We won’t get 13 possessions in this game. We may get eight. We need to be efficient and when we get a chance to score, we need to find a way to get it in the endzone.”

Stadium procedures, how to watch/listen

Pampa Independent School District is asking every one to wear a mask when coming into the stadium and for everyone to be socially distanced in the stadium. 

If not sitting with your family/party and moving about the stadium, please continue to wear your mask.

Tickets are available for purchase through gofan.co (not a typo) and are on sale through Friday at game time and are on a first-come, first serve basis. 

Games will be broadcast on the District’s YouTube page at https://bit.ly/3ll48JE. You can also search “Pampa ISD” on YouTube and the stream will be started at around 5 p.m. for the first game. In the future it will go live about 30 minutes before kick-off.

For more information on attending the game or watching the live-stream, call the athletic office at 806-669-4830.

The game will also be live on the radio at KGRO 1230/KDRL 103.3. As always, you can follow John Lee on Twitter @jcl1987 for in-game updates.

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