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Week 9 Football Preview: Make Your Move

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By Chris Boothe

Messenger Sports

Crunch time is here. With just three games remaining in the regular season, it is time for teams to make their move. Make that push towards a district championship or playoff positioning. Several area teams find themselves in games that will carry a lot of meaning into the final two weeks of the season. Here is a look ahead at this week’s action.

Crockett Bulldogs (5-2, 2-1) vs. Elkhart Elks (3-5, 2-2)

Friday, October 26, 7:30 pm

Jerry Ives Memorial Stadium, Elkhart, TX

For Crockett and Elkhart, Friday’s game will carry a lot of meaning. Both teams are in the thick of the playoff race, and not only looking make the playoffs, but position themselves for the best matchup possible. Both teams are also moving in opposite directions, as Crockett is coming off an impressive 34-7 win over Coldspring, while Elkhart is looking to bounce back from a 41-14 loss to Diboll.

For the Elks, it will come down to slowing down the Bulldogs explosive offense. The throwing ability of Jordan Bedford has been well documented, and the bevy of receivers not a surprise, but the addition of a running attack has made Crockett much tougher to defend. Malik Johnson and newbie Joshua Hudson will headline an attack that rushed for over 300 yards against Coldspring a week ago.

Crockett will have to handle a ball control offense that can chew up clock and limits mistakes. Elkhart averages just under 200 yards of rushing a game with senior Jason McMahan leading the way with over 500 yards rushing. Sophomore RJ Moore has also been a pleasant surprise with 434 yards and two touchdowns on the season.

#9 Lovelady Lions (6-2, 3-1) vs. West Hardin Oilers (5-3, 3-1)

Friday, October 26, 7:00 pm

Oiler Stadium, Saratoga, TX

The Lovelady Lions have no time to sulk on their district loss to Grapeland on Friday night, as a backloaded schedule features a pair of games the Lions currently trial by a half game in the standings. First up is a West Hardin Oiler team that has built some momentum in district play, winning their last two games by a combined score of 97-12.

Of courses those two wins have come against Burkeville and Colmesneil, teams that the Lions defeated by a combined score of 133-0. The Oilers only other win came as a forfeit victory over Sabine Pass, who has cancelled their season.

The Oilers are led by Jake Strahan and Randon Kelly. The underclassmen duo each have over 600 yards rushing this year and a combined 15 touchdowns. Strahan serves as the Oilers quarterback, and has thrown for 618 yards and eight touchdowns.

Palestine Wildcats (2-5, 0-2) vs. vs. #2 Carthage Bulldogs (7-0, 2-0)

Friday, October 26, 7:30 pm

Bulldog Stadium, Carthage, TX

It’s not called the District of Doom for nothing. After back-to-back losses for the Palestine Wildcats, things will not get any easier with a road trip to face the reigning State Champion, and second ranked Carthage Bulldogs. Palestine is coming off a 31-13 loss to Van, where the Vandals used a late surge to pull away from the hosting Wildcats.

Carthage will be a much tougher test, sporting a perfect record and a roster chalked full of talent. The Bulldogs are balanced offensively, passing for 254 yards per game, while rushing for 155 yards a game. Senior quarterback Gunner Capps lead the way with 1669 yards passing and 19 touchdowns to three interceptions. Capps favorite target seems to be Kelvontay Dixon. The junior leads Carthage with 41 receptions for 626 yards and eight touchdowns. Dixon is one of five receivers with over 100 yards receiving this season.

Westwood Panthers (1-6, 0-3) vs. Diboll Lumberjacks (7-0, 3-0)

Friday, October 26, 7:30 pm

Panther Stadium, Palestine, TX

All but eliminated from the playoff picture, the Westwood Panthers will take the field on Friday night looking to play spoiler. The team they are looking to spoil? The undefeated Diboll Lumberjacks, who are on a collision course with the Franklin Lions for district supremacy.

Diboll has been strong all year, winning all seven contests. In district play the Lumberjacks have only one game decided by less than 10 points, and that was a 15-13 squeaker over Coldspring. The Lumberjacks were able to rebound from that narrow win and take out their frustrations in a 41-14 win over Elkhart a week ago. Diboll uses a physical ground attack that is capable of going the distance each and every time they touch the ball.