Sports and Outdoors


 Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 320.68
Water Temperature:
na degrees - top
degrees - bottom



  Panthers pop Tigers in fight-marred game
By Ricky Tharp
Special to The Monitor

MABANK–In a game that will unfortunately be remembered more for its ending, the Mabank Panthers dominated the visiting Terrell Tigers 35-21 Friday night.
The Panthers improved to 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in District 15-4A play, while Terrell dropped to 2-4 and 0-2 in district play.
Mabank will travel to Red Oak for a district contest against the Hawks Friday, while Terrell will be idle. The Hawks suffered a narrow 31-29 loss to Lancaster last Friday night.
Friday’s score did not reflect the control the Panthers had throughout the contest, as all three of Terrell’s touchdowns came as a result of big plays, two of them clearly blown coverages by the Panther defensive secondary.
Mabank also had a number of dropped passes, including at least three certain touchdowns, as the Panther receivers suffered from a pretty bad case of stonefingers – maybe because they were so wide open much of the time.
Having used an I formation and a split backfield in past contests, the Tigers opened in a spread formation against the Panthers, and churned out two straight first downs before stalling near midfield.
The Panthers showed their grit by taking the Tiger punt and driving for a touchdown on their first possession.
Senior quarterback Kolton Browning (26-of-44 for 305 yards, three TDs and no picks, along with 16 carries for 135 yards) capped the march with an eight-yard scoring toss to a wide-open Jake Birch at the 7:49 mark. Michael Blackburn’s extra point attempt was good.
The Tigers punted again on their second possession, and the Panthers used a big play to take a 14-0 lead.
Browning threw deep to Brandon Rasco, who ignored an early bump by Tiger defender Keithian Willis to gather in the pass and hotfoot up the Mabank sideline for an 81-yard touchdown.
The Panthers declined an interference penalty against Willis, and Blackburn’s second PAT put Mabank up 14-0 with 4:00 left in the first quarter.
Behind quarterback Logan Smith (who returned to the lineup after being out with an injury), the Tigers again started moving, and stunned the Panthers with a 48-yard catch-and-run by P.J. Morris, the first of two blown coverages by the Panther secondary.
Dropped passes killed the subsequent Panther drive, and the Tigers put together their first sustained march, moving 72 yards in 10 plays, capped by a five-yard run from Marquice Strange.
J.D. Simmons’ PAT kick tied the score at 14-all with 10:07 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers again moved deep into Tiger territory, but a dropped fourth-down pass at the Tiger 10 gave Terrell the ball.
The Tigers wasted no time in marching back into Panther territory behind runs by Wren, but Nolan Duncan stopped the march with an interception, which he returned to near midfield.
Mabank opened the second half with another systematic scoring march, using short passes from Browning, mixed in with some designed runs and a couple of scrambles (Browning averaged 8.4 yards per carry on the night).
Browning hooked up with Rasco for a second touchdown, this from 13 yards out, and Blackburn’s PAT kick gave the Panthers a 21-14 lead with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Not much would go right for the Tigers the rest of the night. On their next possession, Smith would throw his second interception, this one picked off by Darius Robertson.
As most people know, turnovers often turn into points, and the Panthers capitalized on the turnover, with Anthony Hendrix capping the drive with a 10-yard scoring run. Blackburn’s fourth PAT gave the Panthers a 28-14 lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter got underway, things would continue in much the same fashion, as Terrell continued to be frustrated by the Panther defense.
Using another short-pass/run drive, the Panthers again marched downfield, with Browning keeping the ball for a two-yard score.
Blackburn’s fifth PAT kick gave the Panthers a 35-14 lead with 8:55 left in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers pulled off their third big play on their subsequent possession.
Smith threw a screen pass to Josh Winfield, who took it all the way for a 51-yard touchdown with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Simmons nailed the PAT kick, but at that point, a fight erupted in front of the Mabank bench.
Both benches emptied, and by rule, the game ends when bench players enter the field.

’Dogs open district at Mineola
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–Following an open date last week, the Eustace Bulldogs are anxious to begin District 14-3A play Friday night against the hosting Mineola Yellowjackets.
“I think we had a good off week,” Bulldog head coach Doug Wendel said Monday. “We got after it, and were physical, and I believe the kids are ready to hit somebody besides ourselves.”
Going into the district-opening contest, the Bulldogs are 2-3 and the Yellowjackets are 3-2. Both lost their Sept. 26 games – Eustace fell to the hosting Ferris Yellowjackets 30-14, while Mineola had their homecoming spoiled with a 35-6 loss to the Mt. Vernon Tigers.
Field position likely will be a key factor in the contest, Wendel said.
“They have a very aggressive defense,” he said. “I don’t know that we can go in there and expect to score 35 points, because they have a good defense.
“I could see a game in the mid-20s, and also see it going down to the last two minutes, like all our other ballgames,” Wendel added.
Inconsistent special teams play has been a problem for both the Bulldogs and the Yellowjackets, and Wendel said “not beating ourselves on special teams” will be a key.
“They want to run the ball,” Wendel said. “They use the spread and the pro I, but they want to run No. 34 (Jacobbey Sinches Jr.).”
Not a big back at 165 pounds, Sinches is very quick, but not blazingly fast. The Yellowjackets may have a slight edge in speed at the skill positions, Wendel said.
According to Mineola Monitor reports, the Yellowjackets have not shown the ability to throw the ball effectively, although their only score against Mt. Vernon came on an 82-yard pass play.
“Defensively, they’re very multiple,” Wendel said. “They’re going to give us a lot of different fronts and a lot of blitzes.”
Mineola has had turnover problems throughout their first five games, which makes field position more important, Wendel said.
“We’re going to try and make them have to drive the ball,” he said. “They have put the ball on the ground more than we have.
“It’s going to come down to field position and who doesn’t beat themselves,” Wendel said.
Directions to Yellowjacket Stadium: From Eustace, take Farm-to-Market 316 north to FM 2709. Turn right (east) on FM 2709 to State Highway 19. Turn left (north) on SH 19 and follow it through Canton to the intersection with U.S. Highway 80. Turn right (east) on U.S. 80 and follow it east through Grand Saline to Mineola. As you enter Mineola, look for the John Deere tractor dealership on the right, and turn left on FM 564. The Mineola Country Club golf course will be on your left. Follow FM 564 north for about a half-mile, and the stadium will be on your right. Driving time from Eustace will be about an hour.

Kemp to visit Van for opener
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Kemp’s Yellowjackets have faced the Van Vandals each of the last three years, and the fourth meeting Friday night in Van will mark the District 14-3A opener for both teams.
Each team took a week off last week, and for the ’Jackets, that meant getting back some banged-up players.
“We got some good work in, and got some people healed up,” Kemp head coach Greg Anderson said Monday. “We’re pretty close to 100 percent.”
For the last three years, the Vandals relied on an all-state talent, former 3A Player of the Year Jermie Calhoun, who has headed north to the University of Oklahoma.
“They don’t have one guy they depend on anymore, so they spread it around,” Anderson said. “(Blake) Pennington is probably their best all-around player.”
Pennington, the son of Vandal head coach Brad Pennington, is an outstanding athlete who starts at free safety, is one of several key receivers in the Vandals’ spread offense, and also handles their punting and placekicking duties.
In Van Sept. 19, Mabank’s Panthers were able to shut down Pennington as a receiver, but he still beat them by kicking a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left to give the Vandals a 17-16 victory.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s also an intelligent football player,” Anderson said. “His dad is the coach, and he’s grown up around the game.”
Pennington played quarterback against the ’Jackets two years ago in Kemp, but when the Vandals went to the spread last year, Calhoun was the quarterback and Pennington became their top receiver.
This year, junior Tyler Sharpe has stepped into the quarterback spot, and has done a very good job of spreading the ball around to six or seven different receivers, Anderson said.
“(Sharpe) does a great job at running the offense,” he said. “We can’t focus on just one (receiver).”
The Vandals are acknowledged as a very physical football team, particularly on defense.
“They’re pretty multiple on defense,” Anderson said. “They run a base 4-3, but they do a good job mixing it up.”
Both the Vandal offensive and defensive lines are strong and hard-hitting, he added.
“They do a good job of running to the football, and they’re not afraid to hit you when they get there,” Anderson said.
Having seen the Mabank game tape, Anderson said the key for the ’Jackets will be eliminating turnovers.
“We want to maintain possession and keep that offense off the field,” he said. “In the last two games we’ve played, we’ve gotten much better at that.”
At 2-3, the ’Jackets go into Friday’s contest on a two-game winning streak, having come from behind to nip Rains 24-20 and then posting a near-school-record 63 points in a blowout of Palmer.
At 4-1, Van comes into Friday’s game off their first loss of the season, a 28-7 setback at the hands of Spring Hill.
In both of their wins, the ’Jackets had two backs with more than 100 yards rushing, seniors Josh Carr and Korey Henderson.
Since Carr was a 1,000-yard rusher last year, most defenses have geared up to stop him, which opens up opportunities for Henderson on the counter trap. When defenses adjust to stop the counter, Carr gets yards up the middle.
“We’ve got to figure that Van is trying to figure out how to stop that play (the counter),” Anderson said. “You’ve got to figure they’ll try to stop Josh first, and that opens up other things for us.”
Junior quarterback Jeremy Quick has also become a passing threat, and when the running game is working, that makes play-action passes effective.
“One thing that’s helped us in the two wins has been (offensive) balance,” Anderson said. “It makes it pretty tough to defend when you’ve got all three things working together.”
With two straight wins, the ’Jackets are confident they now can compete at a high level, Anderson said.
“They’re not over-confident, but they’re ready to get back on the field,” he added.
Directions to Van Memorial Stadium: From Kemp, take U.S. Highway 175 to Mabank, and turn left (north) on State Highway 198. Follow SH 198 north to Canton, and jog right at the first stoplight to State Highway 19. Follow SH 19 north to Interstate 20, and turn right (east) on I-20. Follow I-20 to Van and take the Farm-to-Market 314 exit. Turn left (north) on FM 314 and follow it to dead-end into FM 16. Turn right (east) on FM 16 and follow it through downtown. The stadium will be about a mile ahead on your left, just past the old junior high school.


Upcoming games


Oct. 10
MHS @ Red Oak*
KHS @ Van*
EHS @ Mineola*

Oct. 17
MHS vs Mesquite Poteet*
KHS @ Wills Point*
EHS vs Canton*

*district contest

Oct. 10
MHS @ Red Oak*
KHS @ Van*
EHS @ Mineola*

Oct. 14
MHS vs West Mesquite*
KHS vs Mineola*
EHS @ Wills Point*

Oct. 17
MHS vs Mesquite Poteet*
KHS @ Wills Point*
EHS vs Canton*

*district contest
Cross Country

Oct. 11
MHS @ Jacksonville
KHS open
EHS @ Van



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