By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The regular season came to an end last Friday and for a few teams in the area it means it’s time to gear up for the playoffs. For others, unfortunately, it means their dreams of hoisting a state championship trophy will have to wait at least one more year.

At the Class 4A level, the Palestine Wildcats fell to the Henderson Lions by a score of 61-26. The loss brought the Wildcats season to an end, short of their goal of reaching the playoffs from the “District of Death.” While Palestine was unable to get over the hump this season, their record of 5-5 marked a vast improvement from the 1-9 mark posted in 2015 and bodes well for Head Coach Robby Clark and his coaching staff as they begin the offseason.

Moving to the Class 3A level, the Crockett Bulldogs swatted the Hemphill Hornets by a final score of 42-0. With the win, the Dawgs’ overall record moved to 9-1 and 4-1 in District 10-3A DII, with their only loss coming to the number one ranked Newton Eagles.

Crockett begins its 2016 playoff run on Friday Nov. 11 against the West Rusk Raiders in Troup. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. If things go as planned for Head Coach Jimmy Thompson and his staff, Crockett and Newton could face each other again in the Regional Finals.

The Frankston Indians closed out their season with 68-0 loss to the Newton Eagles and finished up with a 4-6 overall record and a 1-4 record in District 10-3A DII.

In District 9-3A DI, the Elkhart Elks longed strong early in the season and were poised to make the playoffs this season. However, back-to-back losses to Groesbeck in Week 10 and last week’s season-ending 42-7 loss to Malakoff knocked them out of a playoff spot. The Elks finished the year with a 5-5 overall record and a 3-4 district mark.

Also from District 9-3A DI, the Westwood Panthers looked good early this season, but injuries and the lack of a passing attack doomed the Panthers hopes of a return trip to the playoffs in 2016. The Panthers finished up 0-7 in district play after their 40-14 loss to Teague and had an overall record of 1-9.

At the Class 2A level, the Grapeland Sandies needed a win to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Sandies traveled to Mt. Enterprise last Friday and as Coach Wayne Mahaffey said, “The game was over after the opening kickoff” as Grapeland returned the kick for a TD on their way to a 53-14 win.

The win puts the Sandies in the postseason where they will open up against the Iola Bulldogs in a Bi-District matchup on Thursday, Nov. 10 in Buffalo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.  The Sandies ended the regular season with a 5-5 overall record and a 2-3 district mark.

In District 12-2A DI, the Lovelady Lions had a chance to win the district championship if they were able to defeat the Groveton Indians by 10 or more points. Things didn’t quite go as planned for the Lions and the turnover bug jumped up and bit them repeatedly as they fell to the Indians by a final score of 55-20.

The loss knocked the Lions from a possible one seed to a number three seed as the playoffs get underway. Lovelady w-ill open the postseason against the Joaquin Rams on Friday, Nov. 11 in Bullard. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Lions finished the regular season with a 7-2 record and a district mark of 3-2.

Lovelady and Joaquin played each other earlier this season with the Lions winning by a final score of 21-20.

The Cayuga Wildcats won a thriller against the Big Sandy Wildcats by a score of 39-35 to close out the regular season. The win moved Cayuga’s district record to 4-1 and their season record to 6-4.

The Wildcats will open the postseason against the Wolfe City Wolves on Thursday, Nov. 10 in Kemp. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Trinity Tigers had a bye to end their season and finished up with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-4 district record.

Other area teams that made the playoffs included the Madisonville Mustangs and the Oakwood Panthers. The Mustangs defeated the Tarkington Longhorns by a score of 21-15 and enter the postseason as the number three seed out of District 11-4A DII. They will face the Liberty Panthers on Thursday, Nov. 10 in Splendora. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

The Oakwood Panthers defeated the Trinidad Trojans last Friday by a final score of 61-12. The win moved the Panthers overall record to 4-6 and 2-1 in district. They will take on the Calvert Trojans next week. A definite date, time and place has yet to be determined.

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