Harding Academy: Wildcats fighting to return to 3A state championship

The Wildcats were one game away from winning the 3A finals last year. Despite their loss to Rivercrest in the championship game, Harding Academy accomplished an undefeated season in 2-3A conference play and finished with an overall 12-2 record.

“It’s always a really special year when you get to the finals,” said coach Roddy Mote. “I was disappointed we lost, but when you have a season like that and come so close, you find out there’s a lot more to it than just winning or losing – it was a great year.

“We ended up pretty tough in non-conference. We beat one of the top 2A teams – Des Arc – and in conference … we dominated.”

This year, the Wildcats return significant experience on the offensive and defensive lines. Mote is running five returning starters on offense, six on defense. Junior quarterback Will Francis (6-4, 185) was one of the top backup quarterbacks in the state last year, and Mote said he expects big things out of him this season.

Seth Ransom, outside linebacker, and Jace Davis, inside linebacker, are three-year starters. 

Mote said his team’s weaknesses are undersized players and a new kicker’s lack of experience.

“The expectations are always high at Harding Academy, and we’re excited about the upcoming season. We will be tested early with a tough non-conference schedule,” he said.