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Throw Out the Records, District Play Opens This Week


Week 4 Preview

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – While the previous four games matter a great deal, when it comes time for the postseason, the only contests that really count are the ones beginning this week. District play opens across the area and for all but the Grapeland Sandies, the slate has been wiped clean.

Grapeland Sandies (2-2, 0-0) vs. Burkeville Mustangs (3-0, 0-0) – The Sandies have one more non-conference game and they have to travel a long way for it. Grapeland will hit the road for Burkeville on Friday evening as they take on the Mustangs.

The first thing the Sandies need to do to come away with a win is to eliminate the mistakes. Turnovers and penalties plagued Grapeland in their two losses and while the mistakes were still there in their two wins, the errors were fewer and farther between.

It’s a long way to Burkeville and the Mustangs will try and use the lengthy bus trip to their advantage. Burkeville returns most of their starters from last year so that should be a help but that team only recorded a 3-7 record.

Look for the Sandies to come ready to play. Grapeland blew out Burkeville last year and while the game should be closer, look for the Sandies to come away with the W.

Tenaha Tigers (2-2, 0-0) vs. Lovelady Lions (3-1, 0-0)– This may well be the best game of the week and could decide the District 11-2A DII Championship. The Lions are looking to show they belong with the elite teams of the Class 2A DII level and a win against the Tigers would go a long way.

The Lions aren’t going to beat a team with tricks. They like to line up and run the ball right at you. Every now and then, Lovelady likes to throw in a pass, but they prefer the straight ahead, smashmouth style of football.

The Tigers return a ton of talent from a 10-win team that went to the Regional Finals last year.  If the Lions want to win, they will need to play mistake free and win the game in the trenches. The game is in Lovelady this year and that should give the Lions a boost. Still, it may not be enough as Tenaha wins a close one.

Huntington Red Devils (1-3, 0-0) vs. Crockett Bulldogs (1-3, 0-0) – This game is huge for Crockett. The Bulldogs have not played their best football so far on the 2021 season, but the start of district play offers new hope for the Crockett faithful.

The Crockett offense can score with anyone, but their defense has been struggling. The Huntington offense has not been setting the world on fire this year and a strong outing by the Bulldogs’ D may be just the shot in the arm the team need to contend in district.

Don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs come out on fire this Friday night and blast the Red Devils to start off league play 1-0.

Elkhart Elks (3-1, 0-0) vs. Westwood Panthers (1-3, 0-0) – Rivalry games are always fun and this one should be no different. The Elks are off to a strong start this season and should rebound from their loss last week to Corrigan.

The Panthers, on the other hand, are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Centerville in OT. If the Panthers can put that out of their minds, they should challenge the Elks and possibly send the Elkhart fans home with a loss.

If the loss is still affecting Westwood, look for the Elks to run away with the game. As it is, don’t be surprised if the Panthers win a close one.

Palestine Wildcats (2-2, 0-0) vs. Kilgore Bulldogs (3-1, 0-0) – The Palestine Wildcats travel to Kilgore this Friday to face the Bulldogs.

The Wildcats like to run the ball and they’re pretty good at it. Kilgore, however, has a strong front seven that can take over a game.

If Palestine wants to win this game, they will have to have some success in the air. The Bulldogs offense can put points on the board in a hurry and will more then likely do the same against the Wildcats. Look for Kilgore to win big in this one.

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

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