Pope believes Wildcats will turn fortunes around
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Dec. 27, 2005 - After a year-and-half as a varsity Wildcat, Sulphur Springs senior Jay Pope realizes the won-loss record isn't as good as he had hoped. But, he believes the remaining schedule will bring camaraderie and more wins to the Wildcats.

"We need to get a couple of wins to get our confidence up and start to learn how to play as a team. If we correct a couple of mistakes we are doing on the court, then we have a pretty good shot of making the playoffs," Pope said.

Pope is the son of Carolyn and Juaquine Pope, and he plans on attending Tarrant County College and majoring in kinesiology.

With the Wildcats opening up this season at 3-12 and with just two varsity starters back from last year, Pope said the team's inexperience has played a part in the way Sulphur Springs has started the year.

"I think the main thing is we haven't played as a team at all, and we had a bunch of new people coming in, and we haven't developed as a team yet," he said. "Once we get to play more and get more in sync with one another, we will do better."

After the departure of coach Steve Glover last year, the Wildcats have started to adjust to new coach Jeff Carroll, and Pope said Carroll finds ways to get the best out of every player on the team.

"We lost a lot of talent from last year, but we gained a really good coach and hopefully our confidence will be a lot better than it was last year," he said. "It is rough and he is a lot more strict and you have to do what he says and it is his way or no way."

With the district season getting underway Jan. 13 against Paris, Pope knows every single date will be a battle, but he believes the team will be ready.

"They know that it is going to be hard and it wasn't easy last year and it is not going to be easy this year," he said. "No team in this district has any stars so everybody is ready for district."

With the Wildcats having many first quarter deficits this season, Pope said coming out for opening warm-ups seems to be the reason why the slow starts are happening.

"We don't have good warm-ups and we are coming out slow. We need to come out hard and once the game gets started that is when we get our motivation up," Pope said.

With seniors Jose Vargas, Jeff Kramer, Marc Crook and Sam Pettit on the team this season, the leadership role for the team is shown in many different ways.

"We are trying to be really good leaders and with me and Jeff coming back we know what it is like being on varsity," he said. "Jose has really good leadership from football, Marc is the same way with football and Sam has a lot more experience playing AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) ball in Dallas. 

"I need to be able to communicate better as well as my other seniors with the underclassman and they can help us out and we can get things rolling."

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