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Week Eight Preview

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Jockeying for Playoff Position

By Will Johnson

EAST TEXAS – Down the stretch they come! It’s Week 8 in the UIL Football world and with only two games left in the regular season after Friday night, every game has become a must win. As it stands now, Crockett, Grapeland, Lovelady and Elkhart are primed for a high playoff seed. This week, however, could shake things up.

Lovelady Lions (3-3, 2-0) vs. Grapeland Sandies (6-1, 2-0) – This is a game Houston County football fans have waited on since the beginning of the season. It’s a District 12-2A DII showdown and will most likely decide who will be district champions.

The Lions are coming off of a bye week and should be well rested after their 51-0 win over Colmesneil, the previous week. Coupled with the struggles Grapeland had last Friday with this same Colmesneil team, Lovelady should be feeling pretty good about their chances.

A heavy dose of Josh Martinez on the ground and Seth Murray through the air will be something the Sandies need to be prepared for.

Grapeland struggled down the stretch against Colmesneil but found a way to pull it out in the end. The sign of a good team is to have an off-game and still find a way to win. Injuries played a part in the Sandies performance, but poor tackling also factored into it.

Look for the Sandies to use the pass to set up the run. Lovelady defensive backs will have their hands full with Deco Bryant, Keizion Ashford and Cooper Ward. When they take to the ground, look for Cadarian Wiley to get a ton of carries while QB BJ Lamb is a threat to take it all the way anytime he touches the ball.

Crockett Bulldogs (4-2, 1-1) vs. Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans (3-4, 1-2) – The Crockett Bulldogswill be on the road this Friday as they travel to Coldspring-Oakhurst for a tilt with the Trojans. Crockett is coming off of a 55-0 beat-down of Tomball Christian while the Trojans lost 42-0 to Diboll.

This game is for playoff positioning as Diboll has already defeated both teams. A win for either team will give them the inside track for a second or third seed as the postseason loom.

The Coldspring defense has been suspect in their four losses so look for the Bulldogs to use their speed to run by the Trojans.

The Jordan Bedford-to-Shannon Bacon connection has paid dividends all season while Allen Horace is always a viable target across the middle and when Crockett gets near the end zone.

Diboll Lumberjacks (6-0, 2-0) vs. Elkhart Elks (5-2, 2-1) – The Elkhart Elkshave had a good season so far and they’re hoping to continue with the good vibes when the Diboll Lumberjacks swagger into town this Friday.  

The Elks have already won more games than they did all of last year and are in the thick of the playoff hunt. A win against the #6 ranked Lumberjacks would go a long way to securing a playoff spot.

Diboll has allowed a total of 33 points in their six wins and if the Elks are to have a chance they will have to play turnover, mistake free football.

The Elks have the size and the speed to match up with the Jacks, so don’t be surprised if this one is closer than expected.

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