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Time for Separation or Desperation


Week 7 Preview

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The next two weeks in Texas High School Football will be crucial for teams hoping to make the playoffs. For several teams this is the third week of district play while others head into their second week.

A 2-0 or 3-0 start in league play often gives a team the inside track to a shot at a district championship while a 1-1 or 2-1 start keeps you in the hunt. A start of 0-2 is a hard hurdle to overcome and those teams will need some help.

Groveton Indians (2-4, 0-1) vs. Grapeland Sandies (5-1, 1-0) – This is a matchup of two longtime, bitter rivals. The Sandies are looking to build on the momentum from their win over Alto last Friday and have the weapons to do so. Keizion Ashford is having a breakout season and the Indians will have to stop him if they hope to have any success.

Even if they can stop Ashford, Grapeland still has a dynamic QB in BJ Lamb who can take over a game at any given moment through the air or on the ground. Stopping both Ashford and Lamb is a tall order, but when you throw Cadarian Wiley into the mix, you have a recipe for an offensive juggernaut.

The Indians started out 2-0 and were ranked as high as #8 in the polls. Something happened though in their second win of the season as they barely beat a Trinity team that is rebuilding. Still, Groveton has weaponry with Martin Chavez, Trenton Torregrosa and Malachi Stewart. It’s also important to remember they made it to the Regional Finals last year.

The Groveton line has struggled this year so look for the Grapeland defense to have a big game. This will be a measuring stick for the Sandies. Any time – regardless of what their records may be – if you can beat Alto and Groveton in the same year, that’s saying something.

Crockett Bulldogs (4-2, 2-0) vs. Westwood Panthers (3-2, 1-0) – The Crockett Bulldogs are coming off two impressive wins to open district play. They’re starting to show off some of their offensive firepower and first year QB Jadyn Collins is the man who lights the fuse.

He has plenty of help at the wide-out position with Ty White, Randy Jones and Ja’Lyne Carruthers. In the backfield Keshun Easterling is becoming a force, while Courtney Byrd and Demuntreon Bedford help give the Bulldogs a solid running attack.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have shown they have what it takes to win a championship. They have some big, run-stuffers up front and a linebacking corps that flies to the ball. Their secondary has also shown it can cover and will come up to lay a hit on a ball-carrier.

The Westwood Panthers are much improved this year and have already bested last season’s win total. QB Coy Elton leads the Panthers attack and can beat you with his arm or his legs. Kylance Parrish has helped keep defenses honest.

Look for the home field advantage to play a big role in this game. Crockett should win, but it won’t be easy.

Colmesneil Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1) vs. Lovelady Lions (1-4, 0-1) – The Lions are coming off of a bye and will be ready for whatever Colmesneil has to offer. Lovelady has faced a tough schedule so far but don’t be surprised if they run the table to finish the regular season 6-4. It’s Homecoming for the Lions and Coach Will Kirchoff will have his team chomping at the bit to get back on the winning side of things.

On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs’ record is deceptive. They beat Sabine Pass who didn’t play football last year, a winless High Island team and they barely beat a one-win team in Overton.

Expect the Lovelady Homecoming fans to go home happy on Friday night.  

Diboll Lumberjacks (2-3, 2-0) vs. Elkhart Elks (0-6, 0-2) – After getting blasted by the Crockett Bulldogs last week, the schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Elks return home to take on the Diboll Lumberjacks.

Elkhart, surprisingly, still has a shot at the postseason. To get there, however, will require them to have a huge game against Diboll.

The Lumberjacks had a rough start to the season as they struggled with COVID-19 and opened up on a three-game skid. They righted the ship against Livingston and then blasted Huntington. Look for Diboll in this one.

Palestine Wildcats (3-3, 1-1) vs. Chapel Hill Bulldogs (4-2, 1-1) – The Wildcats need this one if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. With Henderson and Lindale still on the schedule, a loss would severely hurt the Palestine postseason chances. The Wildcats are much improved from last year and have shown flashes of greatness.     

The Bulldogs have shown they can put up big numbers but they have also shown they are just as likely to give up 50. Expect this to be a high-scoring affair with the Wildcats pulling it out in the end.

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

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