Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

2017 season comes to an end for Bobcat football, but a strong foundation has been laid

 

November 1, 2017

COURTESY/ Nathan Oster/ Greybull Standard

Bobcat Cullen Becher looks downfield for a receiver during a game against Greybull on Sept. 8 at Hot Springs County High School.

THERMOPOLIS - The 2017 football season for the Hot Springs County Bobcats ended in Mountain View Friday after a 45-0 loss against the Buffaloes in the 2A State football playoff quarterfinals.

The Bobcats could not find a rhythm offensively or defensively to which Mountain View took full advantage.

"We didn't execute well on offense and give credit to Mountain View they are a good football team. You can't make mistakes against good football teams or unforced errors. We had some penalties and turnovers that gave them short fields and we just can't do that against a really good football team," said HSCHS football coach Matt McPhie.

The scoreboard shows a big win for Mountain View, but much of the game felt what could go wrong, did go wrong for the Bobcats, with penalties or turnovers, resulting in the worst possible outing for them. McPhie knows his team was capable of playing better but acknowledged that is the beast of competition. Often times, there are no second chances and you have to take advantage of the opportunities given to win.

"Those things happen, unfortunately. I felt like we could have played better and more evenly, but at the end of the day that's athletics and that's what we love about it. There are no do-overs, you have your opportunities to make plays and we didn't do that on that particular afternoon," said McPhie.

The season is finished but the 2017 Bobcats made tremendous strides as a program. Last year this squad was a one-win team that missed the postseason and was routed in seven of their eight games. This season they won three games, made the postseason and were competitive in a majority of their games.

"A lot of factors go into that. We had a lot of commitment and offseason work that paid dividends. It's an eight-game season, six of them we played close. All things considered, the boys took a step forward and tasted success. We were in the tournament and that's nice to have the chance to play for a state championship. But all of those things are a result of the effort and hard work.

"I think our young men are starting to understand that. It's always tough to lose, but every year only one team is able to end with a win in the postseason. It's never easy but I'm proud of them for the commitment and accomplishments they've had this year," said McPhie when talking about the program's turnaround this season.

This season's seniors were instrumental in the team's success and, hopefully, started a long tradition of qualifying for the postseason.

"We had six seniors and as I told them after the game Friday, they've laid the foundation for the future. They've been great teammates and laid the groundwork for the success to come. We're going to miss all six of them a lot and they all played integral roles this season. I also feel really good about the future because of what they did and the example they set with the commitment. They'll certainly be missed but they'll always be a part of what we have here," said McPhie.

With the seniors having helped lay the foundation, next year's returning players will have the opportunity build. Jon Harvey, Chandler Maddock and Logan Cole, to name a few will be back to help lead the way as the program aims to make a deeper postseason run in 2018.

"They understand that we've tasted success at this point and they want to go even further. Now to have success in the playoffs is going to take more work and commitment. I think they understand what it takes and we have a great group that is willing to put that effort in and becomes better at all sports, not just football. I'm excited to watch our young players and seniors compete in their other sports the rest of the year," said McPhie.

The 2017 season had its fair share of highlights for the 'Cats and having to pick one was tough. The team's 34-20 victory over Moorcroft, which paved the way to their playoff berth, was one of McPhie's favorites moments on the season.

"That's tough because the whole season is a body of work. The Moorcroft game here at home, Moorcroft had some big plays and picked up momentum, then we had a weather delay. Coming out of that delay we played some great defense and scored a couple touchdowns to put the game away.

"That kind of summed up our season, there was plenty of adversity and the kids were always willing to battle. Same thing with Mountain View, the score indicated otherwise but our kids' battled and there was no quit in them. We received plenty of compliments from the other team that we played hard and to the whistle the way the game was meant to be played," said McPhie.

 
 

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