Friday marks the next chapter in the great rivalry featuring the Borger Bulldogs and the Pampa Harvesters coming in with identical 3-4 records for the District 1-3A opener.
The Bulldogs enter the game coming off an impressive 32-20 win over the top ranked 3A team in Colorado, Vista Ridge.
The Bulldogs’ defense had a big night in shutting down a talented Wolves’ offense most of the night by providing good pressure up front combined with solid play in the secondary.
Borger Head Coach Rusty Purser was happy with the defensive performance, saying, “The secondary did a very good job of covering some very talented receivers from Vista Ridge. It was very important that we got pressure on their quarterback like we did, because it disrupted their timing on the deep fades and post patterns. I would credit our secondary play to the level of competition that we have seen over the last two months.”
Over the past three games, the Bulldogs’ defense appears to be returning to the dominating form that was seen during the team’s run to the district title last season.
Purser said, “I do believe that this defense is very comparative to last year’s unit, and as they continue to get the game experience, they will just keep getting better. Our defensive unit is made up of mostly seniors which is very important, because you can see the maturity as they respond to situations and circumstances throughout the game.”
Tomorrow night, the Bulldog defense will take on a Harvester offense that has some good playmaking ability, led by quarterback Reid Miller and a solid group of skill players in Latigo Collins and Sammy Smith.
In looking at film, the area Purser has been impressed with from Pampa is in the play of the Harvesters’ defensive line with the coach saying, “From what we have seen on film, this unit is much improved over a year ago, and they have forced offenses to run the ball outside. Their defensive unit overall is playing with more confidence than they did last year, and their secondary has developed throughout the year into a very effective unit.”
If the Bulldogs’ offensive line come out struggling, the Harvesters’ defensive line could have a big night on Friday shutting down the Bulldogs’ ground game and putting a lot of pressure on quarterback Jacob Rendon.
Against Vista Ridge, the Bulldogs’ offense showed a couple of new wrinkles that included running some no-huddle along with Wildcat packages with senior Dustin Clark.
The changes came from the Bulldogs still developing on the offensive side of the ball with Purser saying, “We are continuing to figure out what we do well, and what we need to scrap or get better at. We felt that our no huddle offense was a good spark for us this last week; and for only spending two weeks putting it in, the kids executed it very well. Dustin is a fun kid to coach and to watch. He has the ability to make plays, and that is why he will have opportunities to be on the field.”
The wild card for the Bulldogs this week is how healthy running back Ty Brown will be and how many carries he will get in the game. If Brown is healthy, then the Harvester defense will have their hands full trying to stop one of the best running backs in West Texas. The potential of seeing Brown and Clark in the backfield at the same time will cause even more headaches.
Don’t expect to see either team light up the scoreboard on Friday night. But the strength of the Bulldogs’ defensive front seven and being able to control the clock in the running game gives the Bulldogs the edge in what should be a fun game to watch in Pampa.
Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Harvesters is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Pampa.