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Ponca City Wildcats Football Preview 2023 – Presented by: Tom Henley – Shelter Insurance




Ponca City will have a healthy amount of experience in 2023 under head coach Scott Harman as the Wildcats return nine of their starters, including VYPE Top 100 nominee, receiver Gavin Cunningham (6-4, 203, Sr.). Cunningham, who has Air Force, Army and Navy offers, finished with over 700 yards last season. Also back is quarterback Tay Moore (61, 177, Sr.), who had over 2,000 total yards and 14 TDs. “We will spread you out with our size,” Harmon said. “[Tay Moore] is a dual-threat quarterback that can put heat on defenses in several ways. He reads well and can make plays when things break down.” Offensive linemen Cooper Leonard (6-1, 257, Sr.), Evan Peitz (6-0, 268, Sr.) and Darwyn Foster (6-1, 258, Sr.), as well as tight end Kooper Rich (6-5, 243, Sr.), each started in all 12 games last year. “We have nine returning starters on offense and five to six more kids that played significant minutes, so we will look to be much improved in the second year of our new offensive system,” Harmon said. Brody Wicker, who started in eight games as a junior before suffering a broken collar bone, returns as the team’s leading rusher at running back.


The Wildcats will be flexible with defensive schemes and return five of their starters. Leading the way will be senior defensive lineman Hudson Haas (6-3, 241) and senior cornerback Xavion Parker (5-9, 168). Haas is the most experienced of returnees with 22 career starts. “Hardest worker and most productive player we have returning. Leads by example. Has been offered by ECU and will receive several more before it is all said and done,” Harmon said. Parker collected three interceptions last season. “We will have to replace seven to eight really good defensive players that have started several years. We will experiment in the spring with some kids at new spots,” Harmon said. “We will be able to run a three or four man front. Young but athletic. We will need some kids to step up early with this tough opening schedule.” Others expected to make impacts include a trio of juniors – linebacker Aven Hobbs (5-10, 204), linebacker Hayden Le Clair (5-9, 215) and defensive back PJ Garcia (5-10, 171). Hobbs is moving over to defense after being at running back, and Le Clair will be transitioning from fullback. Garcia started in five games as a sophomore.


8-25 – at Guthrie

9-1 – vs. Enid

9-15 – vs. Sand Springs

9-22 – vs. Deer Creek

9-29 – at Lawton

10-6 – at Putnam City North

10-13 – vs. Putnam City

10-19 – at Capitol Hill

10-27 – at Classen

11-3 – vs. Choctaw

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