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change, but Kemp-Eustace stays the same
Kemp-Eustace season opener has a lot of new faces, but still expected to be close
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMPThis years Kemp-Eustace matchup is a little different.
Its not a district ballgame, for a change its the first game of the
season and theres a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball.
Two things will remain the same, however. It will feature two very evenly matched squads,
and the game probably will come down to one or two plays maybe the last play.
Kemp High School senior Ryan Norman drags most of the Van defense with him for a 15-yard
gain during a matchup of second-team offense and defense at Kemp's second controlled
scrimmage of the season against the visiting Vandals Aug. 19.
Thats certainly been what the coaches and fans on both sides have come to expect.
Although Eustace holds a 4-2 edge in the last six years, including the last three in a
row, only once (in 2008) has the contest not been determined in the fourth quarter.
The 2005 game (the first of two straight Kemp wins) went to double overtime, and last
years game went to Eustace, 21-20, because Kemp misfired on a point-after attempt
with two minutes to play.
I dont think anything will surprise me, other than it not being close,
Eustace coach Doug Wendel said Monday.
I think it will be one that comes down right to the end, Kemp coach Greg
Anderson agreed Monday
Both coaches saw a lot of good things and bad things in their respective second scrimmages
Kemp had the tougher time, facing a tradition-rich Van Vandal team just two years removed
from a district title and a deep run in the playoffs.
In a major scare, junior Blake Murray, who started at quarterback, was injured when sacked
by the Vandals.
At the time, it looked like Murray had suffered a serious possibly
career-threatening knee injury, but Anderson said Monday an MRI Saturday revealed
it was just a grade-2 strain of his MCL.
That was probably the best news we could get, Anderson said. It means no
surgery, and he might be back by the third game. Were definitely feeling good about
Vans outside speed gave Kemp some trouble, but Anderson pointed out the
Jackets had their chances.
We were inside the 20 twice, he said. One time, we missed a field goal
and the other time we fumbled the ball.
Kemp fumbled three times against a talented, veteran Vandal defense, and the Jacket
offensive line didnt perform well, but Vans athletic and huge defensive line
might have had something to do with that.
In contrast, the Bulldogs had a good trophy hunt against the visiting Elkhart Elks Aug.
In three days of practice, our defense got a lot more aggressive, Wendel said.
I cant say enough about how far our defense has come. We made dramatic strides
from last week.
(Sophomore cornerback) John Bradshaw did a good job, and (sophomore) Tyler Folsom
did, too, Wendel said. I also was impressed with (senior returnee) Owen
Babcock. It was nice to see him be able to get on the field on defense and make some
Defensively, the Bulldogs stifled the Elks early and often, causing two fumbles and
picking off an interception.
Offensively, our ones didnt get stopped, Wendel said. We had two
TD passes and four (TD) runs.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
An Elkhart supporter on the sideline reacts with dismay as a dominate Eustace Bulldog
defense recovers an Elks fumble during the second controlled scrimmage for both teams Aug.
I was fairly pleased with our defense we were going against a front that we
dont see much anymore but weve still got a ways to go on our option
game, he added.
Turning to Friday nights season opener, Wendel said he expected Kemps defense
to be tough, perhaps tougher than any theyll see this season.
Defensively, they played us as well as anybody last year, and theyve got a lot
of those folks back, he said. Scheme-wise, they took away what we did best.
I dont put any stock in how they did in their scrimmages, Wendel said,
noting the Jackets faced two likely playoff teams in Brownsboro and Van.
I think were as equal as weve ever been, he added. The
numbers are almost identical.
Ive been telling our kids that Eustace will come in here and be very
well-coached, Anderson said. The key for us will be to try to get a feel
fairly quickly of what he (Wendel) wants to do.
This year, theyve got unproven personnel unproven at the varsity level
so well try to see where he feels he can attack us, Anderson said.
This (game) is going to be a great measuring stick for both of us, Wendel
said. I think it may be the toughest test for our offense this year.
Their offensive line come off the ball well, and they have hard-nosed backs,
he added. They look a lot like us. Im impressed with their defense. Their kids
know what theyre doing, and they get there pretty quick.
Anderson said he always figures three things will determine the outcome of the first game
of the season turnovers, the kicking game and conditioning.
That said, Anderson noted conditioning probably wont be an issue, since both teams
will have a lot of players going both ways.
Special teams play is always an aspect where a game can turn, Anderson pointed out.
Scrimmages dont have punts and kickoffs to avoid the possibility of injury so early
in the season, so neither team has seen a full-speed return.
You can have a punt return or a kick return, or bobble it and give up field position
or the ball, he said. That or a careless turnover by a running back,
especially if you give up field position.
If someone puts the ball on the ground two or three times, that certainly could lead
to one score, Anderson added. No matter how much you work on it in practice,
special teams are always something you want to work on more.
MHS hosts Tigers in opener
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANKComing off a disappointing performance in the second scrimmage of the season
against Athens, the Mabank Panthers will need to pick up on the fundamentals when they
welcome the Wills Point Tigers to Panther Stadium for the season opener Friday night.
Our kids werent ready to play (against Athens Aug. 19), Panther head
coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday.
Scrimmages arent about wins and losses or even Athens theyre
about us, Cantrell said. Even though it was a scrimmage, our kids have got to
be ready to play.
The Hornets have switched to a running-based Wing-T offense this season, which is
something the Panthers havent seen in a while, but there are some things that should
be done, no matter what the offense looks like, he said.
We didnt read our key, and we showed the worst tackling Ive seen in four
years, Cantrell said. It didnt look like the same team that played
Jacksonville (in the first scrimmage).
The Panthers have to learn how to handle the Wing-T, because district foes Kaufman and
Ferris both run that offense. Were going to have to get good at playing the
run, he said.
Last year, the Hornets came into Panther Stadium, looking like a team searching for an
It was a role reversal this year, Cantrell said. We looked like a team
searching for an identity, and Athens knew what they were doing.
Weve got to get better at blocking and tackling, he added. It
comes back to us coaches weve got to have them ready to play.
After Wills Points grass field got chewed into a giant mud puddle early last season,
a new artificial turf field was ordered but it wont be ready for Friday
nights season opener, so the Tigers are coming to Mabank.
I think we match up with them better (than Athens) because of what they do,
Despite the sloppiness of their field, the Tigers put together a complete turnaround last
year, rebounding from a 1-9 season to become the district champions.
Theyve got a bunch of returnees on both sides of the ball, Cantrell
said. They are the state 7-on-7 champions, so that shows they can throw and catch
Wills Points spread offense revolves around senior quarterback Trent Jurica, a
three-year starter, who is accurate and strong.
Jurica has shown an ability to distribute the ball to a number of talented and fast
receivers. The Tigers also have a couple of extremely quick running backs, although they
have been about 70/30 pass/run in scrimmages.
Defensively, the Tigers have shown a 4-3 and a 3-4, and Cantrell said he expects Wills
Point to use a 3-4 against the Panther spread.
For us to win the game, we have to control the line of scrimmage, Cantrell
said. As much as I hate to say it, Athens won that battle on both sides of the ball.
If we do things right, there are some zones open (in the defense), he added.
But, weve got to establish some kind of running game.
skippers meeting 9 a.m. race 10 a.m.
AMU race 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Fun Sail or Make-up race
MHS vs Wills Point (site chg)
KHS vs EHS
MHS vs Quinlan Ford
KHS @ Edgewood
EHS vs Tyler Grace
MHS vs Canton (HC)
KHS @ Mineola
EHS vs Edgewood
KHS @ Greenhill Relays
EHS @ Greenhill Relays
(Norbuck Park, Dallas)
KHS @ Kaufman Relays
EHS @ Kaufman Relays
MHS @ Tyler Invitational
KHS @ Wills Point tourney
EHS @ Tyler Invitational
KHS vs Cross Roads
MHS vs John Tyler
KHS @ Quinlan Ford
EHS @ Edgewood