By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – We’re now through five weeks of the 2016 football season and here’s what we know: the race for the playoffs is going to be wide open! Several of the area teams opened district play this week and more are set to begin either this week or next.

In Houston County, the Crockett Bulldogs kept on rolling with a 28-13 victory over the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans and moved to 5-0 on the season. The Dawgs are off this week and the bye couldn’t have come at a better time. The week off will allow Crockett players to heal those nagging mid-season injuries in preparation for their district-opening showdown with the Newton Eagles. Newton is currently ranked number one in the latest Dave Campbell’s Texas Football poll while Crockett is ranked number nine. The District 10 3A DII game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 7 in Newton. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Lovelady Lions also stayed unbeaten after they shutout the Timpson Bears 27-0. The win was especially sweet for the Lions as their former longtime coach, Kerry Therwanger, left Lovelady at the beginning of the spring and took the AD/Head Coach’s job at Timpson. Lovelady also has a bye this week before they open district play on Oct. 7 with a Homecoming Game against the West Sabine Tigers.  Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Grapeland Sandies were off this week and will return to action against the Maud Cardinals. Grapeland has a record of 2-2 and has shown great potential with a high powered offense and a hard hitting defense. Maud will bring a record of 2-3 to Sandie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30 for a 7:30 kickoff.

To the north, Anderson County teams had a rough week. The Palestine Wildcats lost their second game in a row as they fell to the Kilgore Bulldogs by a final score of 33-20. Even though the Wildcats lost their district opener, Palestine showed it is more than capable of competing in the “District of Death.” The Wildcats return home on Sept. 30 to take on the Center Roughriders with the kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

In one of the more entertaining games held last Friday, the Elkhart Elks took on the Westwood Panthers in a District 9 3A DI matchup. The Elks were able to capitalize on a fake punt and a Westwood miscue at the end of the first half to take a halftime lead and held on to get a big road win by the score of 31-28.

The Elks will host the West Trojans this Friday at Jerry Ives Memorial Stadium while the Panthers will attempt to right the ship as they travel to Whitney for a game against the Whitney Wildcats.

In other area action, the Trinity Tigers lost to the Buna Cougars by a final of 40-14. The Tigers next game will be against the Kountze Lions in Kountze on Friday, Sept. 30.

The Madisonville Mustangs were defeated, 56-13, by the Lorena Leopards while the Oakwood Panthers lost a heartbreaker to the Waco Methodist Bulldogs by a final score of 59-50.

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