High School Football Tour: Houlka

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HOULKA, Miss. (WCBI) — Houlka is still new to the gridiron. The Wildcats’ first season was in 2008. They only had 17 players at the end of 2012. Coach Rob Allen says he has 30 guys this season and returns 16 starters to his team.

Head Coach Rob Allen and Houlka saw improvement last season. The Wildcats went 2-9 with a young team, building upon their one win in 2011.

“The biggest thing is the attitude change we saw last year,” Allen said. “A lot of young guys, we went 2-9, but I look back and I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun. We had a group of guys that worked hard to get better and it carried over into the spring. I thought we had a really good spring.”

2013 will be Houlka’s sixth-ever football season. The team will still play its games at Okolona’s field but is building its own soon.

The quarterback spot is an open competition. Junior Wyatt Esterley started last year, he will spend some time at running back and junior Jonathan Huffman will also play wide receiver once again.

“Wyatt, he’s a big-arm quarterback. He can throw the ball. He can throw the deep ball well and he runs well with the ball when he gets in trouble,” Allen said. “Jonathan, he gets the ball out of there quicker. Wyatt has that year behind him.”

James Buggs will get a lot of carries at running back. He broke his collarbone after averaging over 100 yards per game mid-way through last season.

300-pound senior defensive tackle Marquis Vance is back. Allen says the defense is making strides.

“[The defense will be] much improved. That was one our biggest problems last year and we didn’t tackle well,” Allen said. “At times, we’d be watching film, and I would cringe I’d say, ‘what are you doing?’ and we tackle a lot better right now.”

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