By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – As the season nears the midway point, several of the area football teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack. Of the 11 gridiron squads in the immediate area, only two – Crockett and Lovelady – have an unblemished record.

The Grapeland Sandies took on the Colmesneil Bulldogs on Friday and hammered them both offensively and defensively. The Sandies changed defensive schemes prior to the Colmesneil game and the switch to a 3-3 attacking style paid immediate dividends with three defensive TDs on the night.

The Grapeland offense was also clicking on Friday night and combined with the defensive scores, the Sandies obliterated Colmesneil by a final score of 65-12. The Sandies are off this week but will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 30 as they welcome the Maud Cardinals to Sandie stadium for their last game before district.

The Crockett Bulldogs continued their unbeaten streak to start the season and moved their record to 4-0 after they lassoed the Madisonville Mustangs by a final score of 45-14. The Dawgs’ offense continued to roll and their defense has shown to be tough to move the ball on. Crockett faces a stiff test next week as they stay on the road for a contest against the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans.

The Trojans are 0-2 on the season after having their first game of the season cancelled because of weather and having a bye last week. The Bulldogs have a bye following the Coldspring game and open district play on Oct. 7 with a trip to Newton.

Rounding out the Houston County teams, the Lovelady Lions faced the always tough Leon Cougars in a road game last Friday and kept their record perfect on the season at 3-0 after taking down their hosts by a final score of 20-12.

The road doesn’t get any easier for Lovelady as they travel to Timpson next week for a game against the Timpson Bears and former long-time Lovelady Lions’ Coach Kerry Therwanger.

While the teams from Houston County had a good Friday night, the Anderson County teams didn’t fare quite so well as all four teams which were in action went down to defeat.

The Palestine Wildcats fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as they lost to the Van Vandals by a final of 21-38. The Wildcats kept it close throughout the game and only trailed by three at the break. Palestine, unfortunately, could not seem to get their offense going in the second half. Their defense kept the game close, but the lack of offensive production in the third and fourth quarters dropped the Wildcats record to 3-1.

Palestine hits the road next week for their first district game of the season against the Kilgore Bulldogs who bring a record of 1-3 into the contest.

The Frankston Indians dropped a game to the Jefferson Bulldogs, 14-25 to even their record at 2-2. The Indians kept the game close but turnovers plagued the Indians late as Jefferson was able to pull away in the fourth quarter.

Frankston is off next week but returns to action on Sept. 30 with a road game against the Cushing Bearkats before beginning district play the first week of October.

The Cayuga Wildcats had a disappointing homecoming as they lost to the Rice Bulldogs by a final score of 14-23. Cayuga closed the gap in the third quarter to a single score, but could not keep the momentum going in the fourth as Rice scored 10 points to secure the win.

The Wildcats take on Price-Carlisle before having a bye week. After the bye, Cayuga opens their district schedule against the Union Grove Lions on Oct. 7.

After losing the previous week to the Elkhart Elks, the Troup Tigers were back in Anderson County for a game against the Westwood Panthers. The Panthers, unfortunately, could not get on the scoreboard until the second half and while they managed to whittle the lead down to five in the fourth quarter, that was as close as they were able to get as they fell by a final score of 14-19.

The Panthers (1-2) start district play against the Elks (2-1) on Friday as they welcome Elkhart to town in a game that will – more than likely – have playoff  implications.

In other action from around the area, the Trinity Tigers fell to the Shepherd Pirates by a final of 42-13. Both Elkhart and Oakwood were off this week.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.