The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats can match up with just about any other team on their schedule. Not many can match up with the Cabot Panthers, but the Charging Wildcats can count themselves as one of the few after a 33-14 win on Friday.
Altee Tenpenney gained 158 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. The Charging Wildcats gained 456 yards of total offense while keeping Cabot to under 250.
"We match up with the majority of the teams we play," said head coach Brad Bolding. "Whether it’s size or how many 3-year starters we have, we match up."
Bolding did say that his club missed out on a couple scoring opportunities in the first half. One on a fumble at the Cabot eight and another on a failed fourth down play.
Bolding saw an opportunity to use a new offensive wrinkle and used an empty backfield set, and got good results until both drives stalled.
"We moved the football," Bolding said, "but we probably should have went back to the running game in both drives. That was my fault."
Javon Day also had a good night with a catch and eight rushes for a total of 118 yards. Rodney Bryson added 62 yards on the ground.
PROOF OF HYPE
The Charging Wildcats will have a pair of opportunities in the next two weeks to prove their mettle.
"We don’t pay a lot of attention to rankings," Bolding said. "We focus on what we do and taking care of our business on the field."
A home game at West Memphis and a trip to Northeast Arkansas to face the Jonesboro Hurricanes and Martin Stafford await Bolding’s club.
These are two games that will either prove their reputation or quell it.
"Last year we were the hunter," Bolding said. "After a semifinals appearance, and all the guys we have back from that team, we’ve become the hunted."
It’s what Bolding and his Charging Wildcats have hungered for. The next two games are against arguably the only two teams outside of Bryant that can challenge North Little Rock. Bryant is not the Charging Wildcats’ new home of the 7A/6A East.
Bolding and his coaching staff have been instilling all season to be on the lookout for the opportunity to make a game changing play.
"It doesn’t matter when it happens," Bolding said. "It could happen at any time."
The perfect example of that came on the fourth play against Pine Bluff two weeks ago when Fabian Lewis returned a kickoff in the first quarter, the game’s fourth play giving North Little Rock enough momentum to put the Zebras away early.
"We tell them to win every play individually," said Bolding, "and that will win every play as a team."
That mentality, according to Bolding, makes every play a possible game changer.