2016 Atoka Wampus Cats football preview
The Atoka Wampus Cats are in a year of firsts.
"That's gotta be a first. It's a first for me in 20 plus years," Atoka head coach Byron Cordell said.
First, Byron Cordell is back in the coaching realm after not coaching last season.
"When you're away from something you realize how much you miss it," Cordell said. "I'm glad to be back. I've always thought this could be a good job. We've got a great administration that's given us a lot of support and i can't ask for anything more."
Another first, but this one is due to conflicts with the new stadium. The Wampus Cats only have two home games all season, homecoming and senior night, but will be rewarded with 8 home games next season.
"We're going to make the most of it," Senior lineman Indiana Lee said. "It won't be easy traveling to every game, but we won't let that get our spirits down. We'll go out and try to win."
"Every game is important, but with that being senior night and homecoming it makes it special, and we play the top two teams in the district in Davis and Kingston," Cordell said. "It's not only a chance to honor our seniors, but a chance to go out against the best and see what kind of team we have."
From outside Atoka, some don't expect much from the team.
"I'm ready to get back out on the field and prove to people that we are better than they think we are," Junior Will Sandmann said. "We're picked to finish last and I think we can show everybody how good we are.
That includes a berth in the playoffs.
"Make it to the playoffs," Lee said. "If we don't make it I'll be disappointed.
"They lost a couple close games last year that if they would've won they might've made it to the playoffs," Cordell said. "We're going to try to get over that hump and put pride back in Atoka football. It's been a while since they've been and we're ready to play week 11."
Atoka opens its season August 26 at Talihina.