ATOKA, OK -- Atoka's athletic program has been on the upswing these last couple of years as the boys basketball team would go all the way to the state tournament, the track team would have a great showing at the state meet and the school has also brought in a couple hall of fame coaches in other sports.
That has helped to inspire the football team
"It just makes us want to be better and match up to all the other sports, you know and be the best we can be," senior quarterback Stephen Cook said.
The Wampus Cat football team has been working hard through all the ups and downs of the last several seasons and they believe this year could be their year to break out.
"Me as myself, I've only seen two wins out here and here it is my senior year and we have a huge opportunity to end up in Week 11, Week 12," senior linebacker and center William Clegg said.
"It's been a struggle for us. We've been dealing with young teammates and all that, new coaches and everything but this year I think we have a chance. A high chance," senior running back and safety Houston Bowen added.
One of the main reasons for the optimism is head coach Lloyd Smith. He's a veteran leader with a long history of turning around programs.
In year two in Atoka, he has his boys rallying.
"We're getting better athletically and these guys just have a higher expectation of themselves this year, they know what to expect," Smith said.
"He's brought us a lot of confidence and he made us all excited and not like in the previous years we hated coming out here sometimes but now we love it," Cook added.
They would have a lead in all nine of their losses last season. Now they are learning how to preserve those leads and if they can master it expect a wild crowd out at Phillips field this fall.
"I want us to leave knowing our freshmen and our sophomores and our lower classmen are going to come up just like us wanting it just as much as we do," Clegg concluded.