Pampa Tries to Get Back on Track and Corral Longhorns



The Pampa Harvesters (1-1) are back at home on Harvester Field Friday night. They will face the Amarillo Caprock Longhorns (0-2) at 7 P.M. Caprock comes into the game looking for their first win after losing 34-20 to Hereford and 20-14 to Amarillo Palo Duro. The Harvesters look to get back on the winning track after last week’s loss at Plainview. According to the Padilla Poll, Pampa is ranked 13th in Region 1 and 60th overall in 4A Division 1. Caprock is 24th in Region 1 and 87th in 5A Division 1. The Harvesters are favored by one point, showcasing the fact this is truly a pick’em type game.

As we will do all season, I sat down with head coach Cody Robinson to reflect on last week’s game and preview the matchup for this week.

Plainview recap

Robinson mentioned from watching the film, there are a lot of things the team can work on this week in practice to get better.

“A quote I like is ‘Adversity introduces a man to himself.’ I think that shows you some things about your team,” Robinson said. “One of the positives I can come up with is we have a lot of kids getting reps. We have 33 on the roster with five injured. All five of those are starters and on the leadership council. In pre-district games, that is forcing us to get kids snaps. That will help develop them and help us get better.”

He mentioned the passing game had some good aspects but also how the offense just could not get into a rhythm all night.

“Defensively, we played an opponent that was very big and physical. They have done a really good job there at Plainview. This is kind of their year. Their group they feel like can win. Those guys up front (on the line) we played on both sides of the ball are physical and pretty good,” Robinson said. “I feel like that will help us later down the road in the district. Those guys were big and powerful. So, we should be able to handle some smaller lineman that aren’t as big and explosive compared to those guys.”

Those were all positive things Robinson mentioned he could take away from the loss other than just being able to watch the mistakes on film and correct them.

Caprock Preview

The Longhorns are led under center by Senior #8 Lleyten Brown. Sophomore #26 Xavier Vargas is one of their running backs.

“He is a good player. He is kind of their guy. They use him in the running game as well,” Robinson said. “Vargas is very fast. They have a couple of other backs as well.”

The style of play Caprock plays is about 50 percent ten-personnel.

“That is two-by-two and three-by-one spread type stuff,” Robinson said. “But, they will get into 21-personnel packages with two right ends and use one as a fullback.”

Robinson mentioned how their offense is a mix between power run game and chunking it around like an air-raid system.

“They use a lot of quick screens to get guys in rhythm. They are not very different from the Caprock team we saw last year offensively,” Robinson said.”

Head Coach Rowdy Freeman has been a part of the program for a long time. Due to Dan Sherwood leaving for Randall, Freeman went from defensive coordinator to head coach.

“The coaching change changed up a little what they do on defense. They are similar to last year’s team but not exactly like last year’s team. Last year, they lined up in 44 and played man every time. I feel like their defense last year was very stout,” Robinson said. “They will still get after you. They will bring full pressure just about every snap. Us being able to protect is going to be big. They will bring 5-6 guys. They will bring someone every time. They live off of pressure. They have a pretty aggressive defense.”

Robinson would go on to mention how they are not the type of defense that will sit back and watch the play develop and read the offense.

“We have to be able to protect and gotta be able to take advantage of that. We have to be able to respond to adversity. There will be a negative play. They will get you behind the chains at some point,” Robinson said. “I think both teams that have played them had some success with getting upfield and getting underneath. We have to be able to handle the pressure defensively.”

Running game

I asked Robinson about the running game due to seeing Sophomore Jarren Hill in the backfield some last week. Also, Pampa is down three running backs so there are some depth concerns.

“As far as the running back position, we have a handful of guys who can go back there. We have to be able to run the ball. Last week, that was something we struggled with, handling #7 and #99 up front. Not having Tucker Bruce on the line last week was a big thing because he is a very good player, especially at center,” Robinson said. “I would have really liked to have seen that matchup between him and their nose guard. I would have liked to see Tucker get after that guy. But, I didn’t think it was the right thing for the team or Tucker to go out there.”

Robinson talked about using Hill last week as well as Juniors Isaiah Estrada and Aaron Diaz. He mentioned some things he would like to see polished up as well with the quarterback position.

“We kind of have to get solidified at quarterback. Right now Brant (Hill) is doing some good things. Jarren still does some good things. Both have to keep competing and getting better,” Robinson said. “There were some things we missed last night in the endzone. We missed on a glance and we missed on a couple of deep passes by just holding onto the ball a little too long. Those were things we were able to go back and look at on film.”

Robinson also discussed how there is a lot more than what meets the eye to the quarterback position.

“They have to be able to step in the huddle and look at the other 10 guys and say ‘hey we got this,’” Robinson said. “That is what we are looking for more out of both of those guys. Jarren will be somewhere on the field. Either at outside backer, inside backer, in the backfield, or coming into play quarterback in his own little package. He is a good football player.”

Keys to the game

“Based on the schemes they run, the first thing we need to focus on is run fits. Defensively, last week, we had Boston Botello at outside linebacker, that was his first varsity game after missing the first game. Pedro (Hernandez) is out 4-6 weeks and he was starting at outside backer the week before. The same thing for Hunter Atwood’s spot. We got a kid who has been in a backup role who played safety for us. Same thing with Bensin (Martinez) being out, we have a new guy stepping up in his position,” Robinson said. “Defensively, a lot of things as a fan, you can watch the play and see things break down and go wrong after the snap. A lot of our issues last week were pre-snap mistakes. Alignment, where our eyes are at, reading our key, or communication before the play. Looking at the film, a lot of our mistakes I think we made were before the snap happened. If you are going to be good after the snap, you gotta be good before the snap. If you are looking at the wrong thing and not being disciplined on your read, you are going to put yourself in a bad position. If you are aligned wrong, you will put yourself in a bad position. That is a big thing, being able to line up correctly and that gives you a shot at being successful on the play.”

On both sides of the ball, Robinson said a big key will be to be able to handle the line of scrimmage.

“Another key to the game is being able to handle upfront. Caprock will have some big, athletic kids. I think Plainview is a little more polished up front, but Caprock is also going to have some kids who are very athletic. They are getting better every week too. They are a really good 0-2 football team. That is why we schedule them,” Robinson said.

Another thing of note is Caprock has nearly 72 kids on their roster. Pampa, as we discussed earlier, has only 33.

“We don’t have 72 on our roster, but neither do the Stratford Elks and they beat the dog out of people. Our kids have to keep buying into being football players. We got a lot of kids who are going to play two positions and are going to be great football players. That is 4A football,” Robinson said. “Some are going to play special teams as well. We do have a handful of new guys this week who are coming up (from JV) to help with depth. Us just being able to do that and stay in shape and stay healthy is a key.”

Protecting the quarterback is another major key.

“As a competitor you have to be able to handle highs and lows. One of the things I don’t like from last year is, we started off real fast in a handful of games. But, then, kind of give it back up. Just like the other night, Canadian scored 28 points fast in the game against Bushland. But, then, all the sudden it ain’t’ 28-0 anymore,” Robinson said. “When you are competing you have to be able to handle ups and downs. You have to be able to handle the opponent making a play. You have to be able to handle a three-yard tackle for loss. You have to be able to handle a snap that did not go the way we intended it to go. Once that play is over, you have to shift focus right to the next play. That is going to be key. What they do defensively is they will have successful plays where they bring the house and you hand the ball off and it’s a three-yard loss. You have to wipe the mud off your face and get up for the next play. Just being able to handle that mentally is going to be a big thing. It’s going to happen.”

Other District action

West Plains hosts Canyon and is favored by nine points. Snyder hosts Randall and is favored by 16 points. Perryton hosts Dumas and is favored by two points. Shallowater hosts Hereford and is favored by seven points. Rival Borger hosts Lamesa and is favored by 23 points. Pampa will travel to Borger on September 29th.

“Right now, in our district, we have five teams that are all trying to get better. Dumas has taken it on the chin twice and is 0-2. Randall is 1-1. Canyon is 2-0, they barely beat Perryton. Hereford is 2-0. Pampa is 1-1. All five of those teams are just trying to get better for what is going to happen in October. We have to keep thinking about that,” Robinson said. “None of that comparison matters right now other than the fact that all five of us are trying to fight and get better for October. Who can continue to get better and who is the best team on November 2nd is what we have to focus on and think about. We have a lot of football to play. I am hoping in a few weeks, we get a couple of our guys back. That will be big for us. We gotta keep on getting better and keep on improving.”

How to watch

The game will begin at 7 P.M. in Pampa. The Harvester football team will always love and appreciate those who come on out and show their support, whether home or away.

The game will be broadcast on Harvester Sports Network on YouTube. You can subscribe to get live game notices. Week Three is sponsored by ProMan.

Kevin and Michael Hunt will have the radio play-by-play call on 103.3 KDRL FM and 1230 KGRO AM. Their feed is also piped into the YouTube broadcast. The pre-game show will begin at 6:30 P.M.

Follow Harvester Sports Network on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also follow Kevin and Michael Hunt on Facebook at Baldy Brothers Broadcasting.


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