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 Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 320.68
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  Yellowjackets to host Rains Wildcats
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Kemp’s Yellowjackets are hoping to rebound from last week’s blowout loss to Mabank by returning home to face the Rains Wildcats Friday.
This week’s contest will feature the crowning of the 2008 Football Sweetheart in pre-game ceremonies, and, more importantly, healthier Yellowjackets.
Playing a potential 4A playoff team is tough enough, but the ’Jackets unexpectedly went into last Friday night’s contest with Mabank missing three starters, and ended up losing four more in the first half, Kemp head coach Greg Anderson noted Monday.
“That was a big issue early on, trying to reorganize on the fly,” Anderson said.
Starting safety Zach Allison missed the game with a knee problem, while defensive end Brandon Brewer broke his thumb in Wednesday’s practice and didn’t have it in a cast in time to play, Anderson said.
Also, the other defensive end, Lance Roberts, spent Friday at home throwing up, he added.
During the pre-game warm-ups, the ’Jackets lost starting center Dudley Chambers with a sprained knee, and wide receiver/defensive back James Trim suffered an asthma attack that did not respond to his medication.
Senior running back/linebacker Josh Carr took a helmet to the knee late in the second quarter and was out the rest of the game, Anderson said.
Starting tackle Terrence Sistrunk was ejected for fighting, meaning the ’Jackets were already missing seven starters before halftime.
In the second half, junior lineman Michael Scott was carried from the field on a stretcher, but Scott is fine and should play Friday.
Brewer will be returning as soon as he gets a cast on his thumb, while both Roberts and Trim also are expected to start Friday.
Allison is “day to day,” Anderson said. “We’re still waiting to see on Dudley and Josh.”
Aside from the personnel issues, the ’Jackets didn’t help themselves with turnovers.
“We had three turnovers in the first half, and two of them led to easy scores,” Anderson said. “I was a little disappointed in our performance, except for the kickoff return.”
Senior Korey Henderson, who has threatened to bring back a kickoff for a touchdown in every game, finally broke one against Mabank, motoring 90 yards for Kemp’s only points.
Both teams will go into Friday’s contest seeking their first win, as Kemp is 0-3 and Rains is 0-2 after losing a Week One contest to returning state finalist Gilmer and fell to White Oak last week, 56-20.
Both teams have faced opponents who should be playoff teams, or at least in the hunt for playoff berths, Anderson pointed out.
Despite having a losing record last year, the Wildcats (4-7) advanced to the bidistrict round of the 3A playoffs. Rains has gone through a coaching change, which may be a part of that slow start, Anderson said.
“They were a playoff team, and they have 13 seniors back, so it’s not that they don’t have talent,” he said. “They have been a power running team in the past, and they’ve gone to a one-back spread offense.
“They’re not terribly big up front,” Anderson added. “Their quarterback (Taylor Marshall) is probably their best player. He’s a good runner and thrower, and a big part of our game plan will be to contain their quarterback and limit his big plays.”
Having seen that same type of offense and a superior quarterback last week will help the ’Jackets prepare, Anderson said.
“(Marshall) is probably not as good as the kid in Mabank, but he’s also a double threat, running and passing,” Anderson said. “Seeing the same offense two weeks in a row certainly helps, and we’re at home. That’s always a good thing.”
Defensively, the Wildcats have used different looks for each team.
“Against Gilmer’s spread, they played a three-man line and did more coverage,” Anderson said. “White Oak runs a straight T offense, and they saw a 6-2 look.
“I expect a mixture against our multiple sets,” he added. “We’ll probably see a six-man line and a four-man line during long-yardage situations.”
That means the ’Jacket offensive line has to prepare for three or four different defensive fronts, which complicates blocking assignments, Anderson said.
“Our focus has to be on just getting better,” he added. “The biggest part of that will be hanging on to the football. That (turnovers) is something we’ve got to eliminate.”

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kemp Yellowjacket junior quarterback Jeremy Quick
throws a pass for a first down on a fake punt, giving the
'Jackets new life during Kemp's 47-6 loss to hosting
Mabank Friday.

Mabank faces Vandals next
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–With a dominating homecoming win over Kemp in their collective pocket, the Mabank Panthers hit the road Friday to face the always dangerous Van Vandals.
Now 2-1 on the season, the Panthers will be facing an unbeaten Vandals squad that has posted an average winning margin of 27 points, outscoring three opponents 113-31.
“Van is a tough, well-coached football team,” Panthers head coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday. “They’re 3-0 for a reason.”
Long known as a Power I team, the Vandals experimented with the spread offense used by Mabank last year, and have fully embraced the spread this season, throwing the ball 29 times last Friday in a 44-21 win over the visiting Palestine Wildcats.
Some veteran Vandal fans (including this writer) can remember when the team didn’t throw 29 times in an entire season. The Vandals still turn to the Power I when it fits the situation, Cantrell said.
Van junior quarterback Tyler Sharpe sprinkled 17 receptions among eight different receivers for 334 yards and three touchdowns against Palestine, suffering one interception, and ran for two more touchdowns.
“They do throw the ball around. The game may last until 1 a.m.,” Cantrell joked.
Mabank senior quarterback Kolton Browning was nearly perfect against Kemp Friday, hitting 18-of-21 attempts for 359 yards and six touchdowns, with no picks.
With the game well in hand, Browning was pulled halfway through the third quarter, and watched the rest of the contest from the sideline.
Jake Birch (177 yards) had his best game of the season at receiver, hauling in four receptions, three of them for touchdowns, but Browning also hit seven other receivers during the contest.
Before the game, Cantrell had hoped the Panthers would be opportunistic on defense and offense, and they took advantage of Kemp mistakes, turning two early fumbles into touchdowns.
A third Kemp fumble was nearly returned for a touchdown by Nolan Duncan, who finished with 13 tackles, two defended passes and the aforementioned 38-yard runback, which set up a touchdown.
In the Sept. 5 loss to Athens, the Panthers notched eight of 30 team goals, Cantrell said. Against Kemp, the Panthers met 17 of the 30 goals.
“The objective is to get better each week,” Cantrell said. “I thought our team played well, except for one breakdown on special teams.”
That would be the 90-yard kickoff return by ’Jacket senior Korey Henderson, which provided Kemp’s only points.
“Kemp just needs to keep plugging until district,” Cantrell said. “Our game plan was to slow No. 32 (senior Josh Carr) down, and we did that.”
One team goal for the Kemp game was to get more than 150 yards rushing, and the Panthers finished with 157, with Browning again the leading rusher (61 yards on seven carries).
“We’re still working on that,” Cantrell said. “We did run the ball better than we did against Athens. We didn’t throw at all in the fourth quarter.”
Against Van, the Panthers will be targeting Blake Pennington, who scored on a 73-yard catch-and-run on the first play from scrimmage against Palestine.
“We’ve got to know where No. 9 is all the time,” Cantrell said.
Pennington, son of veteran Van head coach Brady Pennington, is one of a couple of two-way starters for the Vandals, and even steps in at quarterback (where he starred last year) at times.
“They play a good brand of defense, using an even front,” Cantrell said. “Pennington is the free safety, and they put him deep in the middle.
“He never comes out on defense,” Cantrell added. “They rest him on offense, which is a little unusual.”
Cantrell said he expected the Vandals to try to run the ball against the Panthers.
“If I played us, I would,” Cantrell said. “In the three games we’ve played, our secondary has done the best job. I think they will test us to see if they can run the ball first.”
With two high-powered offenses, will Friday’s matchup turn into a high-scoring shoot-out?
“I hope not,” Cantrell said. “If we can contain No. 9 (Pennington), we’ve got a chance to keep the score down, but they’re throwing to a number of folks.
“I think we can put some points on the board, if we’ve got time to protect Kolton,” Cantrell added. “Even though our run game still hasn’t clicked, people have to defend (Brandon) Rasco – he got almost 100 yards (95) against Kemp, and he’s a really good third down receiver.”
Rasco has become a serious threat on screen passes, particularly middle screens.
“We’re playing screens much better than we have before this year, for whatever reason,” Cantrell said.
The key for both teams will be turnovers, he added.
“When we do that (lose the ball), bad things happen,” he said. “If everything starts clicking for us, we’re going to be a pretty good football team. We have the game against Van, then we’ll have an open week, and open district play with Terrell at home.”

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank Panther junior Dustin Shultz (40) lunges over the tackle of Kemp
Yellowjacket Wesley Kerr (11) for a two-yard touchdown reception, the third
Panther TD of the first quarter, in Mabank's 47-6 homecoming win over the
visiting 'Jackets Friday.

Eustace to host Quitman Bulldogs
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–It’s homecoming time at Eustace High School, and Friday night, the Bulldogs will host Bulldogs for the second straight week, as Quitman comes to town.
For Eustace head coach Doug Wendel, seeing an effort similar to the one posted in a 44-42 loss to Edgewood’s Bulldogs last Friday night would be just fine, thank you.
“I think we played about as well as we probably could play,” Wendel said Monday.
“We felt going in that we needed to get about three stops,” he said. “We got two, and on the third, we had an interception, but they called (pass) interference.
“We executed our offense at a high level (only one punt), and Shawn Baldwin obviously had a game for the ages,” Wendel added.
Baldwin, who attended funeral services for his mother Friday afternoon (see obituary, page 11A), carried the ball 35 times for 226 yards and scored five touchdowns, four in the first half.
Wendel noted 3-0 Edgewood is averaging right at 44 points a game.
“Really, the defense, outside of four plays, I thought played pretty well,” he said. “We held them to half the yards they got last week (against Canton).
“Obviously, the offensive line has to block pretty well for any back to score five touchdowns,” he added.
Now 1-2 on the season, Eustace has seen each game go down to the final play. Against Edgewood, Eustace lined up for a potential 24-yard game-winning field goal, which was blocked as time expired.
“They blocked it off the edge,” Wendel said. “We had no problems with the snap or the hold or the kick. Maybe each of them were one-tenth of a second too slow.
“It was a very physical game,” he added. “I was pleased with the poise we showed in the last 1:30. We marched downfield and put ourselves in a position to win the game.”
Quitman, a pre-season pick to finish mid-pack in District 13-2A, comes into Friday’s contest at 0-2, having lost to Frankston, 21-7, last Friday night.
“They should have beaten Mineola,” Wendel said. “They were ahead 20-10 and 27-20, but just ran out of gas. They have a lot of kids who play both ways, like us.”
Quitman runs a wing-T offense, Wendel said. “They have two backs who could go the distance anytime,” he said.
“Defensively, they want to stop the run,” he added. “They have two lock-down corners, and they put everybody else in the box.”
That would seem to indicate Eustace might be able to catch Quitman napping with play-action passing, especially since the Bulldogs haven’t shown any passing attack so far.
Getting senior receiver Zach Keeling back off the injured list will certainly help generate a passing attack. Keeling, who has been sidelined by a broken rib, won’t be playing any defense yet.
“We need to throw some in the next two games just to show we can,” Wendel said.
When the team is rushing for more than 400 yards a game, passing is not absolutely necessary, “but throwing it will back (the defense) off a little bit,” he said. “I feel (Quitman) will have to honor Zach.”
Eustace special teams play has to get better, Wendel said.
“We’ve improved drastically, but we still have a ways to go,” he said.
Youth and inexperience have been drawbacks, particularly on defense, but the experience is coming, as the Bulldogs have played two spread teams and will play two running teams before starting district competition.
Since both Eustace and Quitman are primarily running teams, Friday’s contest likely will be relatively brief, and possibly low-scoring.
“I don’t think (Quitman) drives the ball that well, but they can big-play you, and they’re very physical,” Wendel said.
Last year’s contest was marred by eight Eustace turnovers, so the score didn’t indicate how evenly matched the teams were, he said.
Of course, Friday being homecoming will mean a lot more distractions for the players.
“Everybody has homecoming, and we have to handle it,” Wendel said. “As far as we’re concerned, homecoming is about the game, and it’s fun if you win.”

Monitor Photo/Byron Taylor
Eustace Bulldog fullback Shawn Baldwin (25) breaks away from two Edgewood
Bulldog defenders for a long gain during Eustace's 44-42 loss to visiting Edgewood Friday.




Upcoming games


Sept. 19
MHS @ Van
KHS vs Rains
EHS vs Quitman HC

Sept. 26
MHS open
KHS @ Palmer
EHS @ Ferris

Oct. 3
MHS vs Terrell*
KHS open
EHS open

*district contest

Sept. 19
MHS @ West Mesquite*
KHS @ Grand Saline
EHS vs Quitman

Sept. 23
MHS @ Mesquite Poteet*
KHS @ Quinlan Ford
EHS open

Sept. 26
MHS bye
KHS @ Mineola*
EHS vs Wills Point*

*district contest
Cross Country

Sept. 20
MHS @ Palestine
KHS @ Eustace
EHS hosts meet

*District contest



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