By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – Last year at this time, no one was even sure if a football season would be held. This year, however, it looks like clear sailing – provided no new pandemics emerge – to kickoff.
The start of the 2021 football season is just around the corner and with that comes the eternal hope of hoisting the State Championship trophy aloft in mid-December.
Whether you’re a casual fan or a die-hard, the pre-season is when the realization sets in that next year is now here. Whether they will admit it or not, the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, all believe this will be their year to win it all – and why not?
Sure, there are some teams that have a more realistic shot at playing in AT&T Stadium but as of July 2, every team in the state has a record of 0-0-0. Two months from now, reality will set in and the pretenders will be separated from the contenders, but as of right now …
The season officially kicks off on Monday, Aug. 2 with the first day of conditioning. Per the UIL, “No contact activities permitted. No contact equipment except helmets may be worn.”
The first day for live contact will be on Saturday, Aug. 7 and the first day allowed for scrimmages is Thursday, Aug.12. The second scrimmage of the year will be the next week, beginning on Thursday, Aug. 19 and the first games can be played beginning on Aug. 26.
The regular season will end in the first week of November and the Bi-District Playoffs begin on Nov. 11, while the State Championship games will be held Dec. 15, 16, 17 and 18.
Area teams will play in several different districts this season. In Class 1A, the Oakwood Panthers will compete in Region IV District 13 against the Apple Springs Eagles, the Calvert Trojans and the Chester Yellow Jackets.
At the Class 2A DI level, the Grapeland Sandies will compete in Region III District 11-2A DI against the Alto Yellow Jackets, the Centerville Tigers, the Groveton Indians, the Leon Cougars and the Normangee Panthers.
The Sandies open the season on Aug. 27 against the Shelbyville Dragons in Shelbyville. Grapeland will open district play on the road against the Groveton Indians on Oct. 8. Homecoming is scheduled for Oct. 22 against the Centerville Tigers and the Sandies wrap up the regular season at home against the Alto Yellow Jackets on Nov. 5.
Moving to Class 2A DII, the Lovelady Lions will compete in Region III District 11-2A DII against the Colmesneil Bulldogs, the Cushing Bearkats, the Mount Enterprise Wildcats, the Overton Mustangs, the Tenaha Tigers and the West Sabine Tigers.
At the Class 3A level, several area teams will compete against one another in Region III District 9-3A DI. The Crockett Bulldogs, Elkhart Elks, Trinity Tigers and Westwood Panthers will be joined by the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans, Diboll Lumberjacks and Huntington Red Devils as they battle for the district championship.
At the Class 4A level, the Palestine Wildcats will compete in Region III District 9-4A DI against the Athens Hornets, the Henderson Lions, the Kilgore Bulldogs, the Lindale Eagles, the Mabank Panthers and the Tyler Chapel Hill Bulldogs.
Stay tuned for more football news as the season draws closer!!
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.