When you watch a game like Friday’s match-up between the Wildcats and 6A power Columbia High it’s easy to wonder “what if?” What if the Cats had scored on their opening drive? What if some of the dropped passes had been caught? What if they could have stopped Tiger quarterback Jayce Barber from completing his passes? Would the outcome have been different?
Questions like that are a fool’s errand, because they didn’t happen. What did happen was the Tigers completely dominated the Wildcats on the way to a 50-0 victory and one of the worst defeats in the history of Wildcat football.
The Wildcats will likely bounce back from the first loss this season that counted, and a comprehensive defeat may entice players to come back and go at it harder. That’s what Coach Ryan Sulkowski and his staff and team expect, and what followers of Wildcat football expect.
As a player, Friday’s game was one to put in a back pocket and remember when adversity strikes in other games. You pull it out and remember the feeling of walking off the field at the end of the game shell-shocked. You tell yourself this is not going to happen again. That’s what good teams do.
And the Wildcats are a good team.
There are positives to take from Friday’s game, though not a lot of them. The Wildcats hit hard, they chased, they fought for yardage and kept their heads up. Those are qualities that will serve them the rest of the season.
The Cats started strong. Falon Lee took the opening kickoff and cut and slashed 28 yards to the 35. On three successive plays he drove into Tiger territory to the CHS 43.
But at that point the drive broke down. The Wildcats punted and pinned the Tigers at the 3-yard line.
But a Top 5 team doesn’t stay pinned for long. The Tigers embarked on a 10-play, 97-yard drive for a touchdown and it defined the game.
The Wildcats knew they would be up against one of the best running games in the state. So they designed their game plan around stopping the run.
“If they were going to beat us, their quarterback was going to have to throw the ball and complete some passes,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski.