Opening Day Triumph

Opening Day Triumph

Pats beat Cats in week one thriller

No matter the team or sport every team has a rival that they count down the seconds until they play again. This year, the Patriots got the opportunity to play their rival right away when they opened up the season against the Millard West Wildcats. This year the Patriots extended their winning streak to 4 games against the Wildcats with a thrilling 28-27 victory.

“It just means a lot because of how big of a rivalry it is,” senior Nolan Feller said. “Especially since it was our first game, it was really important.”

One of our big team goals is to own the district and we took care of business in this game

— Head Coach Ty Wisdom

“It is always important to take care of business against your rival,” Head Coach Ty Wisdom said. “One of our big team goals is to own the district and we took care of business in this game.”

With this being the first game of the year a lot of preparation had to go into getting ready.

“We tried to keep the preparation the same as usual,” Feller said. “However, those last two weeks of practice were really energetic just because of the rivalry with West.”

“We prepare for each game the same,” Wisdom said. “We prepare for every game like it is the biggest game because that’s what it is that week.”

Winning this game would not come easy as it was a close game all the way to the end. The first half was all defense as neither team was able to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. However, both teams broke through in the second quarter as a single point was the difference with the Patriots leading 7-6 at halftime.

“I think our confidence was still pretty high,” Feller said. “That’s kind of how it is. You go up against a rival and your confidence is really high especially in a close game.”

The second half turned out to be completely different as both teams scored twice to even up the score at 21 in the fourth quarter.

“I got a little down after the first half,” sophomore Jett Thomalla said. “Then we got some touchdowns after halftime so my confidence was feeling pretty high at that point.”

“Our defense gave up some big plays,” Wisdom said. “Offensively, we were having trouble moving the ball at first but overall I felt really good about getting the win.”

After that point the intensity of the game kept increasing as a touchdown pass from Thomalla to Feller with six minutes left in the game put the Patriots up 28-21. This would not be the end of the scoring as the Wildcats matched it with a touchdown of their own to make the score 28-27 before the extra point. However, a botched extra point kept the Wildcats behind by 1. The Patriots then ran out the clock to get the opening day win against their top rival.

“We talk a lot about stacking wins,” Wisdom said. “We have to continue to get better each week and each day in practice. If we do that, we’ll have a really good team when November comes.”

“We didn’t even scratch the surface of how good we can play,” Feller said. “Getting a win off of a rival in a game like that will really increase our confidence. We can keep building on that and I think that will show throughout the rest of the season.”

The Patriots will look to keep the strong start going all the way through the season as they work their way toward the playoffs starting on Oct. 27.

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