Sports and Outdoors


 Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 320.51 Water Temperature:
84  degrees - top
degrees - bottom





  Yellowjackets host Mabank in grudge match
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–It’s time for renewal of the annual grudge match, as the Kemp Yellowjackets will host the Mabank Panthers in a non-district football game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
As in last year’s contest, both teams come into the game with very different streaks underway – Mabank is 2-0, coming off a double-overtime thriller against Kaufman in the opener and a blowout of Athens last Friday night, while Kemp is 0-2, falling to Brownsboro in Van and then falling to Parish Episcopal last Friday night.
None of that really matters, both coaches said Tuesday. It’s Kemp and Mabank playing, and anything is possible.
Mistakes have been the bane of the Yellowjackets, particularly turnovers – six (four fumbles and two interceptions) during a 32-14 loss to Parish Episcopal.
Mabank is plus-four on turnovers so far this year, collecting two fumbles and an interception, plus a botched kickoff, and turning them into 17 points in last Friday’s 46-0 win against the Hornets.
“Plus-four is always good,” Panther head coach Jimmy Cantrell said. “With a defense playing as physical as ours is now, turnovers are going to come.”
“Their defense is good,” Yellowjacket head coach Greg Anderson said. “Their defense may be better than they have been the last year or two.
“The scary thing is that their offense looks like it hasn’t missed a beat,” Anderson added. “You expect some dropoff when you lose a Division I player (Kolton Browning, now at the University of Louisiana at Monroe), but their new quarterback (senior Jordan Featherston) has stepped right in there and has shown the capability to be a dual threat.”
Looking back to Friday night, both coaches said their respective games got out of hand quickly.
“It was a game of momentum swings,” Anderson said. “They jumped up on us quick, 17-0, with some help from us, but we managed to fight back to 17-14 at halftime.
“We felt pretty good that we were able to get back in the game like that,” he added.
However, on their first possession of the second half, the ’Jackets fumbled, with the hosting Panthers returning the bobble for a touchdown, putting them back on top by 10 points.
“It went downhill from there,” Anderson said. “We’re playing well in spurts, and that shows we have the ability to do it. We just haven’t put it all together yet.”
“I had no idea the game would end up that skewed,” Cantrell said. “My biggest concern was allowing them to establish some sort of rhythm, and we didn’t do that, on offense or defense.”
Indeed, the Hornets showed they had the physical talent to make big plays, such as a 30-yard screen pass late in the game, but were unable to keep drives going.
“The defensive staff did a great job mixing things up and keeping Athens off-balance,” Cantrell said. “The stack defense we’ve implemented, that’s what it does, create confusion.”
Under the stack scheme, blockers are tied up with down linemen, allowing the linebackers to make plays. Nolan Duncan and Cameron Cantrell combined for 28 tackles.
“Kemp’s timing has been off,” Cantrell said. “They are a very well-coached team. They do things right, they have speed, and their quarterback (senior Jeremy Quick) is very accurate.”
Kemp’s offense is right at 50/50 run/pass, Cantrell said.
“They’re one of the most balanced Kemp teams I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “The Murray kid (senior Cris) had two 70-yard runs against Brownsboro, one on the first play of the game, so we know what they’re capable of.”
Cantrell pointed out the ’Jackets advanced two rounds deep in the playoffs last year, and have many of those players returning.
“Defensively, they try to present problems by bringing some heat off the edge,” he said. “They play a 3-4 defense, and that’s what we’ve done.
“It’s their home opener against the biggest rival on their schedule,” Cantrell added. “You never can tell with a game like this.”
“I think the kids will be up,” Anderson said. “Of course, we want to play better. We’ve been able to respond to adversity, but I would like to be able to play consistently for four quarters.”
Editor’s note: With a capacity crowd anticipated, crews were creating additional parking around the north end of Yellowjacket Stadium Tuesday. A shuttle bus will be in service to take fans from overflow parking at the old high school and junior high cafeteria.

MHS girls seek 6th berth
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–After losing almost everybody from a team that went 20-0 in two seasons of 3A ball, veteran Mabank volleyball coach Stacy Shelton’s Lady Panthers surprised a lot of folks when they snagged their fifth straight playoff berth in ’08, Mabank’s first year back in 4A.
One would expect Shelton to be blessed with a veteran team going into this year’s District 15-4A slate, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
Instead of six returning starters and three returning lettermen/part-time starters, Shelton’s ’09 Lady Panthers have just three returning starters and two lettermen back.
One starter moved away, and three other starters quit for various reasons.
That would be bad enough, but one of the returning starters, 5-10 junior Torrie Garrett (one of the team’s leading hitter/blockers) broke a cuboid bone in her left foot when she landed atop an opponent during the Tyler Invitational tournament Aug. 26.
Junior newcomer Meagan Royal, who’s a little taller than Garrett, is already playing with a stress fracture in her foot, which limits her time.
“This is the worst year I’ve ever had, as far as people quitting and injuries,” Shelton said.
Garrett is “week to week,” Shelton said, although one would expect her to be out at least four weeks, maybe six.
“It’s a weight-bearing bone,” Shelton said. “She’s supposed to be re-evaluated three weeks from (Aug. 29). I’m hoping she’ll be back by the start of the second round of district.”
During an admittedly tough non-district schedule, the Lady Panthers have hovered around .500, playing a lot of 5A teams and good 4A squads, Shelton said.
“We’ve played some really good teams, but we’ve also played some games we shouldn’t have lost,” Shelton said.
Now in her 10th year at Mabank and her 21st year of teaching, Shelton said the Lady Panthers have potential to be a playoff team.
“We’ve had a lot of lineup changes, and with Torrie hurt, everybody’s still trying to get used to each other,” she said.
Joining Garrett as returning starters are seniors Lauren Norwood (who gets a lot of kills despite her diminutive stature) and Alison Castle.
Also back are two defensive specialists, senior lettermen Taylor Chapa and Shaylee Williams, who fills the libero spot for Shelton.
Senior Whitney Evans is also back, having missed all of last season after suffering a cracked neck vertebrae in a frightening fall against Greenville.
Both Evans’ injury and Garrett’s injury happened on Aug. 26, which is pretty weird.
Newcomers out this year include Royal, juniors Sadie Roberts and Jenna Penney, sophomore Maegan Olivarez and a freshman, Kourtney Holyfield.
Holyfield has been asked to step into a key position, the setter, a daunting task for a freshman, but Shelton noted Holyfield’s talent, comparing her to former all-East Texas setter Kelsie Reynolds (now at Navarro College).
“There’s a lot of difference between the eighth grade and varsity level, especially the speed of the game, but Kourtney’s adjusting well, and getting better every game,” Shelton said.
“The problem (with the team) is that there’s no leader – I haven’t had anybody step up and take that leadership role,” she added.
That’s partly due to the personalities of her players, she explained. “I have too many quiet kids on my team.”
Shelton is hoping a leader will step forward as the team goes into district play, opening on the road Friday, Sept. 11, at Lancaster with 5:30 p.m. sub-varsity matches.
Sixth-ranked Red Oak is the obvious district favorite, Shelton said.
The Lady Hawks were 19-2 going into the Labor Day weekend, with both losses coming to large 5A Metroplex schools.
“They lost their coach, but they’re still rockin’ and rollin’,” Shelton said. “(Mesquite) Poteet is the other favorite. After that, it’s anybody’s game.”
The Lady Panthers have to handle West Mesquite, Lancaster and Terrell to have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot, she said, with a better shot if they can sneak up on Forney or Poteet.
“Nobody’s going to sneak up on Red Oak,” Shelton said.
“I think our chances are as good as last year to get the third or fourth (playoff) spot, if we can get Kourtney ready and the other girls take care of business,” she added.

Eustace heads to Edgewood
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–In the first of three straight Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs matchups, the Eustace Bulldogs will hit the road for a non-district football contest against the Edgewood Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
Edgewood comes into the contest at 1-1, having knocked off the hosting Canton Eagles 34-21 last Friday night, while Eustace comes in at 0-2 after dropping a 41-35 overtime decision to Dallas Life Oak Cliff.
There were a number of bright spots for Eustace head coach Doug Wendel in the overtime loss.
“I thought we improved from game one,” he said Tuesday. “We cut way back on penalties. I was pleased with the effort, and I thought our offensive line improved this week.
“We did a better job with clock management, and our secondary played much better, especially our corners, Joseph Bradburn and Skylar Johnston,” Wendel added.
A very bright spot was the Eustace kickoff and kickoff return teams, both of which had outstanding games against DLOC.
Eustace missed a couple of extra points, but made them up with two-point conversions, as the teams were tied at 35 at the end of regulation.
Edgewood’s win over Canton seemed shocking to folks expecting the Eagles to be a major player in the District 14-3A playoff race, but Wendel noted Edgewood could have scored again late in the game, choosing to take a knee instead.
“They (Edgewood) are a completely different team than they were 10 days ago,” Wendel said. “They’re big and strong, aggressive, and they have a few kids who can run well.”
The Edgewood spread offense looked to be less potent this year with the graduation of Weston Jamison, but sophomore quarterback Ethan Rutter has stepped in and done very well, Wendel said.
“He probably will have some growing pains this season, but man, he’s got a lot of arm,” Wendel said. “I just watched him (on film) throwing the ball 60 yards in the air.
“They spread it out,” Wendel added. “All five of their skill guys touch the ball, so it’s hard to key on one of them. That puts certain limits on what you can try to do defensively, like double-teaming (senior receiver) Darrius Rogers.
“They have a total package in their offense, and that’s tough to stop,” he said.
With that in mind, Wendel said he expects another shoot-out this year. Last year, Edgewood nipped Eustace 44-42 in a game that went down to the final play, a blocked field goal try by Eustace.
“I don’t think we have a choice,” he said. “We’ve got to score points.
“Their defense is strong, aggressive and they take chances,” Wendel added. “I have to believe we can move the football, but we’ll have to put it in the end zone – several times.”
Edgewood’s defense isn’t Swiss cheese, either.
“When you hold Canton to 14 points and Harmony to 13, that gives you a little pause,” Wendel said.
To win the game, Eustace has to play error-free football, and force a couple of Edgewood turnovers, he noted.
“Historically, we’ve played better at home, but we are a senior-oriented football team,” Wendel added. “For us to do what we want to do this year, we’ve got to perform on the road.”



Upcoming games


Sept. 11
MHS @ Lancaster*
EHS @ Edgewood

Sept. 12
KHS @ Grand Saline tourn.

Sept. 18
MHS vs West Mesquite*
EHS @ Quitman

Sept. 19
KHS @ Grand Saline(*district contest)


Sept. 11
EHS @ Edgewood

Sept. 18
MHS vs Van (HC)
KHS @ Rains
EHS @ Quitman


Cross country

Sept. 12
MHS @ North Mesquite
KHS @ Malakoff Inv.
EHS @ Malakoff Inv.

Sept. 19
MHS @ Palestine
KHS @ Lumberjack Inv.
(Stephen F. Austin)
EHS @ Pine Tree PJ


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