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Homecoming Hopefuls: Wildcats going for first win in first home game
Matt LeZotte
Wildcats Head Coach Matt LeZotte talks in headset during game at Northside - photo by Gerald Thomas III

It’s region time.

The Richmond Hill Wildcats and the Bradwell Institute Tigers are facing off in a Region 2-6A matchup on Friday on the day that the former will celebrate homecoming.

Both teams are in search of their first win this season as the Wildcats are 0-3 and the Tigers are 0-2.

After traveling to Warner Robins to face the Northside Eagles, the Wildcats fell 43-7 in a mistake-riddled game on Sept. 17.

Returning to the field after missing three weeks of action due to a COVID shutdown by the Liberty County School System, the Tigers lost to Appling County 39-6 as they traveled to Baxley last week.

But all that is behind as these region games are the ones that holds the playoff implications.

The region opponents both have struggled to score the ball this season.

Bradwell more so than Richmond Hill as they average only eight over their two contests.

The Wildcats hold an average of 13.6 points per game this year in their three games played.

The Tigers allow an average of 40.5 points while the Wildcats give up 32.6 points per.

“Very little of the problems that we’ve had have been due to what the other teams have done,” Wildcats Head Coach Matt LeZotte said. “It’s been self-inflicted problems, lack of execution, poor alignment, and poor judgement. If we can correct the simple, fixable things, we’re going to be a force to be reckon with. We plan on taking six straight. We just got to take some sandpaper, smooth it out and we’re going to be just fine.”

Six weeks into the season, the Wildcats will finally host a game of the 2021 season.

“I didn’t have to say anything to the players on Monday morning. These guys are dialed in and ready to because they believe in what we do,” LeZotte said. “There’s something exciting about not just playing region play but playing our first home game of the season. It’s the last weekend of September and we’re playing our first home game. Everything we’ve done up to this point is preparation. There’s been a lot of growing pains that we’ve gone through in the last month and a half. It’s homecoming for us. It’s a great week for football and will be a great night Friday with beautiful fall weather. Our guys are ready to show out in front of a home crowd and go play in Wildcat Stadium. It’s a hostile environment with our student section, fans, band, and the whole ambience of gameday that we create.”

Historically, the Wildcats have had its way with the Tigers.

All-time, they are 9-0 against Bradwell and will look to move that into the double digits on Friday.

This could be a reason that the Wildcats scheduled their homecoming game against the Tigers this season.

“We need to correct the mistakes from last week and be prepared for the energy to be a whole lot different now that we got our fans back in full affect,” Senior strong safety Tommy Bliss said about his upcoming final homecoming game. “We’re all just excited to get going at Richmond Hill for the first time this year. It’s a tale of two seasons for us. This is the season that really counts. All these games determined where you’re seeded in the playoffs, so it means a little bit more. It’s got the team excited and we’re preparing a little bit different than we have all year now. You can feel the energy is different on the team.”

Of course, the Tigers will be looking to play spoiler while also overtaking the Wildcats in the first region game of the season.

The game will kick off at 7:30 at Wildcat Stadium on Friday.

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