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Mirror, mirror
Panthers to host Panthers in matchup of similar squads
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Mabank’s youthful Panthers had their hands full with a senior-laden Wills Point team last Friday night, but there were some bright spots on both sides of the ball.
The Panthers (0-1) remain at home this Friday to host the Panthers from Quinlan Ford High School. MHSfootball.jpg (188907 bytes)
Quinlan’s Panthers won their season opener Friday night, beating Mineola 27-17, and they’ll be facing Wills Point later this season for a shot at the District 14-3A championship.
“Wills Point is formidable – they’re a good football team. You can tell they’ve got a lot of returning starters,” Mabank head coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday.
“You could also tell we were young,” he said, adding, “I didn’t expect us to peak now, either.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Junior wideout Ryan Walker sees a pass bounce just wide against the Wills Point Tigers Friday.

“Our focus is to get better every week,” Cantrell said. “I keep telling our kids that we’re playing five games to get ready for five (district) games.
“Do I think we can be competitive? Absolutely,” he added. “But we’ve got to get better.”
One highlight for Mabank was the kickoff return team, featuring Jesse Plunkett, who consistently gave the Panthers good field position.
“We need to make all of our special teams that good,” Cantrell said.
Mabank went into Friday’s season opener with a number of personnel questions, and some of those still haven’t been answered yet, Cantrell said.
Quinlan “is going to be a lot like us,” Cantrell said. “There’s certainly a lot of similarities.”
A pre-season pick to finish fifth in 14-3A, Quinlan made the playoffs last year, despite a 3-7 regular-season record, but advanced to the area round.
There’s not many kids returning from last year’s squad, however (just like Mabank), three starters on both sides of the ball.
“They’ve got a new coach (Virgil Crow), and they’re running a new offense, a Slot-T,” Cantrell said. “That’s what I call it – it’s something like a Wing-T, featuring a lot of sprint-out stuff – sweeps and counters, a lot of misdirection.
“They’re probably about 75 percent run,” he added. “Size-wise and speed-wise, we probably match up better with them than we did with Wills Point.
“Defensively, they play Celina’s defense,” Cantrell said. “I’d call it a 10-1. They put people up in all the gaps and have a free safety lined up way back there. It’s very similar to us, but they do it in a different front.
“They’re a lot like us, in that they’ve got guys who play a lot on both sides of the ball,” he added.
Time of possession and executing better on both sides of the ball will be the keys for Mabank, Cantrell said.
“Our defense was out there way too long (against Wills Point),” he said. “We need more three-and-outs. Third down, especially third-and-long, just killed us. We need to get better at that.
“I’m going to guarantee that we’re going to play better than last week,” Cantrell said. “We’ll try to win the ballgame, but our goal is to get better.”

’Jackets to battle more Bulldogs
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–A narrow season-opening win over the hosting Eustace Bulldogs under their collective belts, the Kemp Yellowjackets will hit the road again Friday night to face another set of Bulldogs at Edgewood. EHSvsKHSJacob.jpg (216405 bytes)

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kemp Yellowjacket senior Justin Lawler (9) drags down Eustace Bulldog senior Jacob Petillo (21) to save a touchdown during the first quarter of Kemp's 13-12 win over hosting Eustace Friday. Both Lawler and Petillo were standouts on both sides of the ball for their respective teams.

Both Kemp coach Greg Anderson and Eustace coach Doug Wendel expected their Aug. 27 matchup (moved to Eustace due to water supply problems in Kemp) to be a down-to-the-wire nail-biter.
“It was pretty much all we expected,” Anderson said Monday of the ’Jackets’ 13-12 squeaker.
As expected, Kemp seniors Johnny Kilgore and Justin Lawler had outstanding games – Kilgore leading a defensive charge that held the Bulldogs out of the end zone three times inside the 3 as time ran out in the first half, and Lawler on both sides of the ball.
“I thought at times our defensive line did a good job at getting penetration, and that probably led to some of their offensive troubles,” Anderson said. “(Left tackle) James Forrest graded out at 85 percent – that’s pretty high for a first game.
“Jordan Freeman’s interception on that (go-ahead) PAT was huge,” he added.
Anderson concurred with Wendel’s decision to go for two and the win, rather that try for the tie and overtime, leading to Freeman’s pick.
“If I had been in his shoes, I probably would have done the same thing,” Anderson said.
Correction: In Sunday’s report of the game, Jared Lane scored Kemp’s third-quarter touchdown, not Brandon Smith.
“Defensively, I thought we did a good job holding them to 12 points,” Anderson said. “The offense played well in spots, but we’ve got be more consistent.”
At Edgewood’s I.T. James Stadium, the ’Jackets will be facing a Bulldog team that lost their season opener 35-15 to a former district foe, the Kerens Bobcats.
Kerens (who had been on the enrollment bubble for some time) dropped to 1A in last February’s UIL realignment, but they still have a lot of talent coming back from last year’s 6-4 playoff squad, Anderson said.
Edgewood also has a lot of talent coming back from last year’s 7-3 squad, most of it centered around junior quarterback Ethan Rutter.
“(Rutter is) a good solid quarterback,” Anderson said. “I’m very impressed by their entire receiving corps. They run good routes and catch the ball.
“Defensively, they’re big up front and they’re very aggressive,” he added. “They run a 3-3 stack, which is something you don’t see very often. They’ve got a noseguard (Tre Wright, 6-1, 270) who is a very good football player. He’s going to be a good test for our sophomore center.”
Anderson said the ’Jackets and Bulldogs match fairly closely in overall team speed, but pointed out he expected the play in the trenches to determine the outcome of the game.
“I’m hoping we can put some pressure on that kid (Rutter),” he said.

Bulldogs to host Cougars
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–For a very young football team, the Bulldogs actually played pretty well in last Friday night’s 13-12 loss to visiting Kemp.
“I think Kemp’s defensive front was the difference in the game,” Eustace head coach Doug Wendel said Monday. EHSvsKHSBraden.jpg (210028 bytes)

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace Bulldog senior safety Braden Strickland (6) drags down Kemp Yellowjacket senior running back Jake Goldman (5) to prevent a touchdown late in the first quarter of Kemp's 13-12 season-opening win over hosting Eustace Friday.

“I think their whole front seven did a great job,” he added. “(Kemp senior Johnny) Kilgore played like a 3A all-state linebacker. He was impressive.
“I was pleased in a lot of areas with our team,” he said. “We only had two penalties.
“We had five sophomores playing an awful lot, and we had seven other kids who played their first varsity ballgame,” he pointed out.
As expected, it was such a close game that about five plays determined the outcome, “and they won those five plays,” Wendel said.
In his first varsity start at quarterback, junior Jacob McCarter did some good things, “and he’s going to get better every game,” Wendel said. “An option game takes time (to learn), but he’s got all the tools.”
The Bulldogs also unveiled a fairly effective passing attack, with senior Addison Scott making three big catches, one of them a 44-yard touchdown to set up the dramatic win/lose try for two in the closing minutes.
“I think we have a lot to build on,” Wendel said. “We’ve got another month to get better ... our kids have to take individual responsibility to get better this week and not beat ourselves.”
Eustace stays at home Friday night to welcome the Grace Community Cougars, who bring back a lot of folks from last year’s 7-4 playoff team.
The Cougars had their way with an undermanned Winnsboro squad last Friday night, winning 49-6 in a game that wasn’t that close.
“They (Grace) have a lot of seniors, and they’re the first senior class to go through the whole program for six years,” Wendel said.
A spread team, the Cougars execute the passing game fairly well, he said.
“They have some unique formations, and make it difficult for you to line up properly,” he said. “They make you defend the whole field – they’ll throw it in any given situation.
“Defensively, they’re better than they have been. They’re noticeably stronger and a little quicker,” Wendel noted.
“We’ve got to control the clock, and I think we’re going to have to score touchdowns,” he said. “Defensively, we’ve got to make them uncomfortable from the standpoint of putting them into long-yardage situations.
“I think they want to be 50/50 run/pass,” he added. “We need to take away the run and make them throw the ball.”
The Bulldogs’ offensive line also needs to re-establish a more physical level of play, and get better at each position, he said.
“I want us to play hard and not beat ourselves,” Wendel said. “I feel our team is about where we thought it would be. We need to improve every week, and by district, I think we’ll be ready.”


Upcoming Events


Sept. 11
AMU race 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Oct. 9
Fun Sail

Oct. 23
Race Day

Nov. 6
Fun Sail or Make-up race


Sept. 3
MHS vs Quinlan Ford
KHS @ Edgewood
EHS vs Tyler Grace

Sept. 10
MHS vs Canton (HC)
KHS @ Mineola
EHS vs Edgewood

Sept. 17
MHS @ Palestine
KHS @ Malakoff
EHS @ Quitman

Sept. 24
MHS @ Brownsboro
KHS vs Fairfield
EHS @ Ferris

Cross country

Sept. 4
KHS @ Kaufman Relays
EHS @ Kaufman Relays

Sept. 11
MHS @ Tyler Lee Classic
KHS @ Malakoff Relays
EHS @ Tyler Lee Classic

Sept. 17
EHS @ Sky Ranch

Sept. 18
MHS @ Crandall Relays
KHS @ Palestine Relays


Sept. 3
MHS @ Tyler Lee
KHS @ Edgewood
EHS @ Van

Sept. 7
KHS @ Malakoff

Sept. 10
MHS vs Rains
KHS idle
EHS vs Athens,E’wood

Sept. 14
MHS vs Malakoff
EHS vs Mildred*

Sept. 17
MHS idle
KHS vs Venus
EHS @ Buffalo*
(*district contest)

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