The Quest for Gridiron Greatness Begins

Football Preview Week One

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – It’s been a minute and after what seems like an eternity, high school football is back! After all the sweat, early morning/late afternoon practices, hard work and trash-talking, it’s time to hit the fields for real as Week One of the 2021 UIL Football Season opens this Friday evening for area teams.

The starting lineups have been decided and the playbooks have been learned (hopefully). Now, all that’s left is to lace ‘em up and go hit somebody.

Crockett Bulldogs (0-0) vs. Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs (0-0) – Crockett opens its season on the road as the Bulldogs travel to Corrigan for a battle of the Bulldogs. Crockett finished the 2020 season with a record of 7-5 last year and an appearance in the Area Finals.

Corrigan, on the other hand, is coming off a 2-8 campaign in 2020. The home team is much improved, but Crockett’s first year Head Coach Alton Dixon has brought a new intensity to the program. Look for Crockett to roll in this one.

Grapeland Sandies (0-0) vs. Shelbyville Dragons (0-0) – Grapeland is also on the road for its season opener as the Sandies travel to Shelbyville for a matchup with the Dragons.

Coming off of a 6-5 year, with a Bi-District appearance, the Sandies have looked good at times during their two scrimmages. They will need to clean up some penalties, however, if they hope to pick up a tough road win. Grapeland has the size and speed to matchup with most anyone and should give opposing defenses trouble, with first year Head Coach Jordan Wood’s up-tempo offense.

The Dragons had a losing season in 2020 but made it into the playoffs with a 3-2 district record. Shelbyville brings back its entire offensive line from last year which could give Grapeland some trouble. Look for Grapeland to pull away late in this one.

Groveton Indians (0-0) vs. Lovelady Lions (0-0) – There’s nothing quite like a rivalry game to kick off the season and we’ll have one this Friday night as the Groveton Indians travel to Lovelady for a battle with the Lions.

Lovelady is coming off a 7-5 campaign in 2020 and while they fell to the Mart Panthers in the Area Round of the playoffs, the Lions showed a lot of promise in that contest. Plus, they’re bringing back a lot of players from last year’s squad.

The Indians had a down year in 2020 as they finished the season with a record of 3-7. Head Coach Will Kirchoff’s Lions always play tough at home and should take care of a Groveton program looking to return to relevance.

Elkhart Elks (0-0) vs. Buffalo Bison (0-0) – The Elks have been in a tail spin as of late as they closed out 2020 with a 1-9 record.

Things won’t start out any easier in 2021 for second-year Head Coach Luke Goode as he takes his team to Buffalo to tangle with the Bison.

Buffalo lost a ton of talent from last year’s 12-2 Regional Finalist team, but returns enough to give opposing teams nightmares. Look for Buffalo to dominate this game.

Westwood Panthers (0-0) vs. Price-Carlisle Indians (0-0) – It’sbeen a long time coming, but the Westwood Panthers may just find themselves in the playoffs at the end of the 2021 season. They just missed the postseason in 2020, but Head Coach Richard Bishop seems to have gotten the athletes to buy into his program.

The Panthers open on the road as they travel to Price Carlisle to take on the Indians. It should be a good test for Westwood, but look for the Panthers to claw past the Indians again this year.

Van Vandals (0-0) vs. Palestine Wildcats (0-0) – The Palestine Wildcats are looking to build on last year’s success as they reached the postseason. The Wildcats return eight offensive starters from last year’s team and should be ready to put some points on the board.

Van is coming off of a 7-5 2020 campaign and the Vandals are picked to win District 7-4A DII. Look for a high-scoring game with the Wildcats pulling it out in the end.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].   

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