Last year, when the Harding Academy Wildcats won the finals, head coach Roddy Mote set the standard for this season.
“I have high expectations,” Mote said. “Every year we go into [football], we want to get better week to week.”
Mote said that in the last five years he’s been the head coach, the team has been 59-7.
“We were 7-0 a year ago and the year before that,” he said.
His goal this year is to focus on conference play.
“We want to start off well and, hopefully, get better and better each week. Every week is important,” Mote said.
He looks forward to the team taking the field this year.
“It’s always great to open up the season with a victory,” the head Wildcat said.
Although the Wildcats have had impressive records in the past, Mote said the motto of the team is to “press on” and not worry about what has happened in past seasons.
Mote said this year’s team, made up of 14 seniors, is doing a great job at practice so far.
“On our offense, we’ve got a lot of our seniors, like Kohl Blickenstaff, who is a standout receiver,” Mote said.
Along with Blickenstaff, he said, Trey Davis, a senior wide receiver and linebacker, and senior Carter Burks, who is also a wide receiver and linebacker, are standout players on this year’s offense.
“A lot of our kids play both [defense and offense],” Mote said.
On defense, Mote said, his two best players are Davis and Rayel Jackson, a senior.
Along with these two seniors, the coach said, junior Nate Dickson, a wide receiver and linebacker, did what he could to prove himself last year on the football field.
“He had a great year last year,” Mote said. “He plays extremely fast, and he’s very physical.”
Mote said the team has a lot of depth on the offensive and defensive lines, along with a lot of game experience.
With a third of the players being seniors, Mote said, he has some sophomores on the team he believes could step up and play as the season progresses.
“At some point, they could really contribute,” he said.
After coaching five years at Harding Academy, Mote said, he does have some keys to his success.
“We’ve got to tackle strong, and tackle well,” he said. “We’re going to have to play fast on the offense.”
He’s excited about the upcoming year at Harding Academy.
“I’m looking forward to great things happening,” Mote said.