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Gregory-Portland driven by recent playoff drought

Posted: 7:34 PM, Aug 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-21 21:00:56-04
Gregory-Portland coach Rick Rhoades

PORTLAND, Texas — The high school football regular season will finally kick off next week and our Friday night preview tour makes a stop today in Portland to check in on the Wildcats.

Coach Rick Rhoades enters his fourth year as head coach at Gregory-Portland.

He’s a proven winner, leading Cameron-Yoe to three state titles.

But so far – and he will tell you this – it’s been a struggle to make the playoffs at GP.

Rhoades really likes the makeup of this team, although he did not want to specify his playmakers by name.

But you will know them by their play. And again, making the post season is the team's driving force.

“You know, our big Achilles heel is that we have not been to the playoffs the past three years and that's something we want to put an end to,” Rhoades said. “That's a streak we want to stop. So that's the first thing, we have to get into the playoffs.”

Linebacker Reno Barrera says that playoff drought drives the Wildcats.

“Yes, that's a high motivating factor for us,” Barrera said. “It really pushes us. We just have to work more and more. Every time we don't make it, we want to get there, push ourselves especially in off season.”

The lack of playoff opportunities so far in his career is pushing Gregory-Portland quarterback Jeremy Barker.

“To be honest, this year I really feel like we are pulling together as a group a lot more,” Barrera said. “I feel like we are going to hit playoffs this year after missing out the past few years. I really feel like this group is strong.”

The Wildcats will open the regular season at home against Carroll on Aug. 30 in the annual Battle of the Bridge.