Who Wants It More?

By Chris Boothe
Messenger Sports

District championships, playoff positioning, and playoff berths are all on the line this week, making this a gut check week for area teams. Friday night, young men from across the area will take the field in a battle of “Who wants it more?”. With just two weeks left in the regular season, there is no room for error, as season results hang in the balance. Here is a look at this week’s action.

#7 Grapeland Sandies (7-1, 4-0) vs. West Hardin Oilers (5-4, 3-2)
Friday, November 2, 7:00 pm
Sandie Stadium, Grapeland, TX

In their week off, the Grapeland Sandies clinched their first outright District Championship since 199

8. Now the Sandies will look to match that 1998 team, by completing a perfect run through district play. In order to do so, the Sandies will have to take down the West Hardin Oilers, their only obstacle on their way to an undefeated district season.

West Hardin is coming off a tough 34-6 loss to Lovelady, ending the Oilers hopes for a district title. The Oilers will be led by quarterback Jake Strahan. Strahan leads the Oilers in rushing and passing. The junior quarterback has passed for 696 yards and eight touchdowns this season while rushing for 669 yards and six touchdowns. Randon Kelly is another weapon in the Oilers attack with 623 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.

Crockett Bulldogs (6-2, 3-1) vs. Westwood Panthers (1-7, 0-4)
Friday, November 2, 7:30 pm
Monte Jack Driskell Stadium, Crockett, TX

Firmly in the playoffs, the Crockett Bulldogs still have plenty to play for. Despite one loss, the Bulldogs are still in the running for a district championship, but must defeat Westwood first. Westwood is coming off of a 71-0 loss to Diboll a week ago, and is looking to play spoiler. Crockett on the other hand, is coming off a 38-6 win over Elkhart, giving the Bulldogs a boost in their quest for a district championship.

In order to have a shot at the district championship, the Bulldogs will first need Franklin to defeat Diboll and end the Lumberjacks undefeated season. That will set up a matchup next week where a Bulldog win would force a three-way tie atop the district standings. A loss to Franklin would lock Crockett in as the third place team going into the playoffs.

Elkhart Elks (3-6, 2-3) vs. Coldspring Trojans (1-7, 1-3)

Friday, November 2, 7:30 pm
Trojan Field, Coldspring, TX

In a game that holds the biggest playoff implications of the week, Elkhart will look to bounce back from last week’s 38-6 loss to Crockett, and punch their playoff ticket against the Coldspring Trojans. It is a simple formula for either team, win and in. For Elkhart, this is the final game on their schedule, leaving the Elks with their last chance to lock up a playoff berth.

In order to get the win, the Elks will have a talented Coldspring team to face. Coldspring was outstanding in their 15-13 loss to Diboll, but struggled mightily in a blowout loss to Crockett. The Trojans will lean on their dynamic running game led by sophomore Contavious Parker-Harden. Harden burst onto the scene as a freshman, and has been a strong leader for the Trojans throughout the season.

Palestine Wildcats (2-6, 0-3) vs. Kilgore Bulldogs (2-6, 1-2)
Friday, November 2, 7:30 pm
RE St. John Stadium, Kilgore, TX

Despite three straight losses to open district play, the Palestine Wildcats are still not out of the playoff race, but Friday’s game against Kilgore is a crucial as they get. Palestine’s 40-9 loss to Carthage was a setback, but didn’t end the Wildcats playoff hopes. With two games remaining, Palestine can still win out and reach the playoffs, surviving the District of Doom.

Kilgore has fallen on hard times this year, going winless at home this season. On top of that, the Bulldogs have dropped their last two games, falling to Van (35-28) and Henderson (28-7) in consecutive weeks. Now the Bulldogs will look to bounce back against a hungry Palestine team that can still make the playoffs with a win.