Harleton football

Harleton defensive back and wide receiver Kobe Ferguson is more than OK with going into tonight’s playoff game against Carlisle as the underdog.

Harleton senior wide receiver and defensive back Kobe Ferguson is more than OK with being the underdogs.

In fact, he sees it as motivation when people pick against his team.

“Definitely the win over Joaquin,” he said when asked what moments stand out the most from this season so far. “I looked in the paper and everybody picked Joaquin over us. So it was just awesome to win over them. That motivates us a lot when people look down on us. I think it makes us shine through a lot more.”

Proving doubters wrong has almost become a routine for the Wildcats who are now 9-2 overall as they enter the second round of the playoffs.

“It’s crazy,” Ferguson said. “I really can’t believe it. When we were in our summer workouts, I was joking with my friend, saying we’re going to be district champs, and it’s crazy how we’re actually here in the second round of the playoffs. That’s just crazy.”

Ferguson said his game has improved by leaps and bounds from a year ago.

“Defensively, I’m way more aggressive,” he said. “I always want to tackle more every time. I want to get to the ball every time the ball is thrown. I want to try to pick it or knock it down. My defense has definitely improved a lot.”

Harleton’s first-year athletic director and head football coach came over to Harleton after serving as an assistant coach at Hallsville and helped turn the program around. Little said Ferguson has provided great senior leadership.

“He’s here every day working very hard,” Little said of Ferguson. “He’s very, very intelligent. He’s back there in the secondary and he gets everybody lined up. He brings leadership on and off the field.”

“I think I lead by example,” Ferguson offered. “If someone is struggling with something, I’ll pull them aside and tell them what’s going on. If they need to know the coverage on defense, I’ll be vocal on that part too.”

Ferguson said he and his classmates were determined not to go 1-9 for the third straight season.

“This group of seniors went 2-8 our freshman year, then 1-9 and 1-9 again, so this year we decided to buckle down,” he said. “We were like, ‘We’re going to get serious this time.’ I think that really motivated us to go this far.”

Little said having the leadership of the senior class helped make the coaching change a smooth transition.

“This whole senior class has been very good,” he said. “Having guys like them has made this job a lot easier.”

One thing that Little said will be far from easy is getting a win tonight over the Carlisle Indians.

“Containing their quarterback and running back,” Little said when asked what the key is to coming away with a win. “They’ve got two back there who can break loose at anytime, so we’ve got to keep them corralled.”

Little said the Indians, who own an overall record of 8-3, will bring many challenges and will be anything but easy to defeat.

“That’s what I’ve already told them,” Little said. “I said the easy ones are off the schedule. The only teams left are all very good teams. Every game from here on out will be a dog fight.”

It’s a fight that Ferguson and his Wildcats are up for and are more than OK with being picked as the underdogs.

Tonight’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Pine Tree’s Pirate Stadium in Longview.