Pampa Harvesters take on Palo Duro in rare Thursday home game

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The Pampa Harvesters (6-0) will host Palo Duro (0-2) in what will be their final tune-up game before District play starts on Oct. 22.

The Harvesters are coming off a 41-35 win against Perryton last Friday where the Rangers stunned the Harvesters and actually led the game at one point.

“After watching it on video, they had three weeks to prepare for us, and they kind of ran some sets and did some things we hadn’t seen at all on film for them,” Head Coach Greg Poynor said. “We probably didn’t do a good enough job fixing that stuff early. They did a good job with some action in the backfield we hadn’t seen. We could’ve done a better job changing some keys. They came out and shocked our defense a little bit.”

Offensively, the Harvesters ran for 269 yards, with junior running back Cornelius “Peanut” Landers rushing for 218 and two touchdowns. 

“We came out in the first three drives and took all three of them down and scored touchdowns,” Poynor said. “We had a couple more drives where we didn’t get in, and those resulted in field goals. Overall, it felt like the offense played pretty good. That was probably our worst defensive game this year, and maybe in a couple years. 

“You have those games where you feel like you didn’t play your best, but you still found a way to win. I was real proud of kids for that.”

The Harvesters will play Palo Duro, a 5A team, on Thursday at Harvester Stadium. Poynor said the team is excited about going up a classification and playing an Amarillo school.

“We’ve been trying to get PD, Caprock and Randall on the schedule with us,” Poynor said. “They are teams we want to schedule, because they are close teams and they are moving up a classification (for us) and are getting some really good athletes. It worked out being able to pick up this game.

“They have a lot of athletes. They are going to run a defensive scheme where they put a lot of guys in the box and put a ton of pressure on us with blitzes. They are going to try and man us up. We’re going to have to do a good job executing.”

The Dons are led by junior quarterback Noel Marquez and freshmen running back Kumien Williams. 

“They are a lot of spread and a lot of shotgun, their line is big,” Poynor said. “When you step up playing 5A, that’s what you expect. They don’t have many playing both ways. It’s not going to be like we can wear them down. We will have to go in and execute.”

With the game being played Thursday, the Harvesters will have an additional day on top of the bye week to rest up and get ready for District opener at Canyon. 

“It’s a perfect situation for us,” Poynor said. “We have no school on Friday or Monday. That’ll be a good break for the kids and give us coaches plenty of time for our two Canyon [prep] weeks.”

Keys to the game: 

Win one-on-one match-ups — “We’re going to have to win a lot of one-on-one match-ups with our receivers. They are going to have a lot of guys in the box where we can’t just turn around and hand-off to our running backs. They will play tight man-to-man and you’re going to have to catch a lot of 50-50 balls and get open when they are holding and grabbing you.”

No big plays on defense — “I don’t think they are a team that’s very good at executing and going five yards at a time. I don’t think they can do that. We’ve got to make sure we don’t give up some big plays or big runs. We did that against Perryton a few too many times. We’ve got to do a good job of limiting big plays.”

Execute on special teams — “They had a little trouble their first couple weeks on special teams in some different areas. We need to win the special teams battle.”

What to takeaway from this game

Poynor said the Harvesters are hoping to stay healthy and see improvement in this game.

“We need to fix some of the mistakes from last week and we want some confidence from this game,” Poynor said. 

As usual, the game will be broadcast on YouTube.com. Just search “Pampa Harvesters vs. Palo Duro.” Tickets can be bought at gofan.co.

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. Tickets are available on gofan.co.

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