"The bottom line is this is a high school game and this is their chance to play," Steve Hamilton said. "(Whether) you end up 4-6 (or) you end up 1-9, you're still playing the game."
The last two weeks have seen Woodland suffer back-to-back defeats to two of Region 7-AAAA's top teams, including a closer-than-expected 21-7 loss to Lambert last Friday.
The Wildcats (1-6, 1-6) host Northwest Whitfield (2-5, 2-5) and have to play similar to their performance last week in order to win, their coach said.
"We just gotta do like we did last week and play some good defense and don't give up the big play," Hamilton said. "At this point we are what we are. We're challenged obviously in terms of our size and our numbers.
"We're hoping we get one of those games where we get some breaks going our way, too."
Not many breaks have gone Woodland's way this year.
Two weeks ago, the Wildcats fumbled a potential touchdown reception, which the Cougars returned for a score and a 10-0 lead, and then failed to score on four tries inside the 10-yard line, something that also occurred in Woodland's loss to the Longhorns.
"Last week if we finish that (drive), when we score in the third quarter, we're tied 14-14," Hamilton said. "You got to finish those (drives). That's the type of team we have, we can't afford to have those long drives (come up empty).
"It takes a lot of out of our kids, psychologically."
The Bruins know what it's like to have the ball bounce the other way.
In a 21-17 loss to Rome Oct. 8, Northwest Whitfield was attempting to kneel with the ball and secure a win when a fumble and subsequent recovery by the Wolves led to a game-winning TD return.
"We've caused a lot of our own problems this football season," Bruins coach Mike Falleur admitted. "We're still making mistakes but not like we did (earlier in the season). We just totally destroyed our chances for winning ... from dropping punts to dropping passes. ... We've not done near as much of it the last three weeks, and we've played hard. Good things happen when you play hard.
"The last three weeks I've felt like we've played better ... besides that (Rome loss) we've played better football. I feel like our kids are trying to compete and play with the intensity (needed to win)."
If not for that heartbreaking loss, Northwest Whitfield would be headed to Wildcat Stadium with a three-game winning streak.
"They're big and you look at them on film and you're shocked they're 2-5," the Wildcat coach said. "They got talent, they got size. ... They've got the players and coach Falleur does a good job."
But, the fourth-year Woodland coach added, with high school players you never know what you're going to get.
"You don't know what you're going to get on any given Friday," Hamilton continued. "If they play a good game on Friday, they'll be a handful because they do have players. ... Hopefully we'll play our best regardless of what they do."
The Wildcats, who have been plagued with injuries, are down to two seniors starting on defense, but they will give it their best, their coach said.
"Our kids will play hard," Hamilton said. "We've got a bunch of sophomores starting for us and hopefully they'll step up on Friday."
With a chance for the playoffs out of the question, both teams are still looking to close out the year strong and salvage some of the season.
"To our kids credit, they've not (quit)," Falleur said. "I expect them to turn things around. ... We can finish on a strong note."
Woodland and Northwest kick off at 7:30 p.m. today.