By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – This is it, the last week of the regular season. Several of the area teams have already punched their tickets for the postseason, some still need to win to get in and a few have already changed from cleats to high tops in preparation for basketball season.

At the Class 4A level, the Palestine Wildcats’ playoff hopes took a serious hit last Friday when they lost to the Carthage Bulldogs by a score of 48-16. Coach Robby Clark’s squad was much improved from last year’s 1-9 team but it looks like they are going to finish just out of the playoff picture. They will take on the Henderson Lions who sit atop the District 9-4A standings with a record of 4-1.

It appears the top two seeds will be Kilgore and Henderson. Center has locked up the third spot and Carthage will likely go in as the fourth seed which leaves the Wildcats as the odd team out.

At the Class 3A level, Crockett took care of business against the Garrison Bulldogs on Friday night as they won by a final score of 49-28.  Crockett will most likely enter the playoffs as the number two seed out of District 10-3A DII, provided they defeat a winless Hemphill team.

If the Bulldogs enter as the number two seed, they will face the third place finisher from District 9-3A DII (most likely the West Rusk Raiders) in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

The Frankston Indians, also in District 10-3A DII lost to the Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs on Friday by a score of 55-38. Technically still alive for a playoff berth, the Indians will need a huge upset over the number one ranked Newton Eagles and help from other teams in the district.

As it stands now, the playoff teams from District 10-3A DII will likely be: 1) Newton; 2) Crockett; 3) Garrison; and 4) Corrigan.

In District 9-3A DI, it appears as if the Elkhart Elks are going to finish just out of the playoffs. Their postseason aspirations suffered a major setback when they fell to the Groesbeck Goats last Friday by a score of 37-6.

The Westwood Panthers season of woe continued as the West Trojans hammered the Panthers by a final of 77-14. After an opening night victory over Frankston, Westwood’s season took a U-turn and headed in the wrong direction.

If the Elks can upset the Malakoff Tigers and if Whitney can contain Groesbeck, Elkhart slides into the number four spot. The likely playoff teams from District 9-3A DI will be: 1) Malakoff; 2) Teague; 3) West; and 4) Groesbeck.

The district to watch this week will be District 12-2A DI. Lovelady defeated West Hardin on Friday by a score of 47-0 while Groveton defeated Centerville by a score of 34-27. As a result, the Lions and Indians will square off for a shot at the number one seed of District 12-2A. Centerville will take on Deweyville and is favored to win. If Lovelady defeats Groveton and Centerville wins, there will be a three way tie for first.

Regardless of the outcome, Lovelady is in the playoffs. The Lions could be either a one, two or three seed depending on how next Friday shakes out. West Sabine will likely go in as the fourth seed.

District 10-2A DI is still up for grabs. The top three seeds are all 3-1, while fourth place Kerens with a record of 2-7 plays winless Cross Roads. Kerens upset Union Grove last Friday so anything can happen but the likely scenario is: 1) Union Grove; 2) the winner of the Cayuga vs. Big Sandy game; 3) the loser of the Cayuga vs. Big Sandy game; and 4) Kerens.

The Grapeland Sandies kept their quest for the playoffs alive as they handled their business and took down the Wortham Bulldogs by a score of 44-27.  For Grapeland, it’s simple. Win and they’re in. With a game against the winless Mt.  Enterprise Wildcats, they should slide in as the number four seed.

Out of District 11-2A DII, the playoff teams will likely be: 1) Tenaha; 2) Overton; 3) Timpson; and 4) Grapeland.

Other area teams include the Madisonville Mustangs who will likely make the playoffs with either a 2-2 district record in District 11-4A DII, or a 1-3 district record and an overall record of 2-8. The Mustangs fell to the Bellville Brahmas 63-14 last Friday.

The Trinity Tigers fell to the Kirbyville Wildcats last Friday and wrapped up their season with a 2-4 district record and a an overall mark of 3-7.

The Oakwood Panthers take on the Trinidad Trojans in the final regular season game for each team in District 15-1A DI.  Both sit at 1-1 in conference play. Only the top two teams in Class 1A advance to the playoffs. Oakwood fell to Milford last Friday by a score of 69-50.

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