QUAPAW — The Quapaw Wildcats have one priority heading into the 2019 football season: put a 19-game losing streak in the rear view mirror.
The Wildcats were 0-10 a year ago and posted only one win in 2016.
They’ve won only 11 times in the past six years and their last winning season was 2009 when they went 6-4.
They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003.
“Nobody around here wants to be 0-10,” Quapaw head coach Chris Cawyer said. “For us to be successful, the kids are going to have to understand that they are going to have to put the time in that it takes to go up to the next level.
“It’s encouraging. We just hope they can hook up, get after it and have a successful year.”
One reason Cawyer is really encouraged is the fact that there’s been good numbers participating in summer activities: 30 players have been competing in two passing leagues and 25 players made their goals in lifting.
“We’re really encouraged as the coaches; we had a really, really good summer,” Cawyer said.
Things also should be better since two of three players who suffered season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injuries are back.
“I’ve been in it (coaching) 40 years and never had three ACLs,” Cawyer said. “I’ve had one, but never three in one year.”
He said two are participating in fall drills (Trevor White and senior Brendan McMackin) and one (Hunter Thomasson) is still on rehab.
Cawyer said they’re hopeful that Thomasson can return in late September.
“They are looking really, really good, cutting well,” Cawyer said.
He hopes the leadership from within will be better this season.
“The thing that hurt us last year was no leadership,” Cawyer said. “Our underclassmen didn’t want to step up because they didn’t know how. Now it’s different. We have underclassmen who are stepping up and being leaders.”
The Cats’ offensive line includes senior Craig Rundell at center, junior Tanner Daniels at right guard, senior Ty Earp at right tackle, juniors Gavin Davis and Garrett Fox at left guard, and senior Jarrett Smith, at left tackle.
Earp was an all-district selection at Welch last season.
Sophomore Kale Thomasson is back at quarterback.
Senior Josh Curry will be the H-back,
Trevor White at B-back, senior Jonas Gregory and McMackin at X and sophomores Jacob Gregory and Miami transfer Cane Davis at Z.
Sophomore Matt Lovell will be the tight end.
Defensively there will be Earp at nose guard, Smith at tackle, senior Braden Sadler at eagle, Lovell at blood, senior Josh Curry at anchor, Daniels and White at linebacker, senior Jonas Gregory at strong safety, Thomasson at free safety, and Jacob Gregory and McMackin at the corners.
“We have a good sophomore group,” Cawyer said. “We’ve got kids coming up. There are 17 in the sixth grade group, 16 in the seventh, 15 in the eighth grade group.”