Even though the Diamond Wildcats come into Friday night's football contest 0-2 against the 2-0 Pierce City Eagles, it doesn't mean they will be a push over.
Diamond is coming off losses to solid programs in Lockwood and Miller.
"The front part of our schedule is brutal," said Diamond head coach Aaron Davied. "We have played two physical teams in our first two games, and now we are rewarded by getting to play Pierce City."
The Wildcats offense is similar to what the Eagles faced in week one against Sarcoxie. A double wing, double tight formation predicated on misdirection and option running.
"Our team as a whole is improved over last season," said Davied. "We have five seniors on the offense and their leadership is invaluable to our team."
The Wildcats feature a bruising fullback in 5'10" 220-pound Jarren Reinhart. Last season, as a junior, Reinhart was an All-Conference honorable mention at running back gaining 675 yards on the ground and scoring five touchdowns.
Sophomore tail back Zack Renfro provides the speed for the Wildcats.
"We have to get those two backs going if we are going to have success Friday night." said Davied. "We don't throw much, and we just want to grind it out on the ground."
Diamond's strategy for success on Friday is to limit Pierce City's big plays.
"We know that we will have some breakdowns and give up some big plays," said Davied. "We can't let it happen time after time after time in the game."
Loading the box to stop Pierce City on defense is another key.
"We want to force Pierce City to throw the ball to beat us," said Davied. "The other thing we have to do is get our option game working. If we do those three things, we will have success."
The Eagles are coming off an easy victory over Liberal and are not taking Diamond lightly.
"When we look at our schedule we see 10 one-game seasons," said Eagles coach Mac Whitehead. "We are just trying to go 1-0 this week. Diamond is a good team. They can pound the ball up front, and only our best effort will do Friday night."
Eliminating penalties and turnovers has been a top priority for the Eagles' coaching staff all season.
"Nothing kills momentum any quicker than a penalty or a turnover," said Whitehead. "We did not achieve our goal of zero mental mistakes last week."
Pierce City plans to follow the same path to victory.
"Run the ball, control the line of scrimmage," said Whitehead. "It is a tried and true formula."
Look for the Eagles to mix in some play action passes as Whitehead watches for growth and production out of his receivers. On defense, Pierce City will dial up the pressure stacking the box and forcing Diamond to adjust.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.