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’Dogs to host Canton
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–While there were a lot of good things that came out of Friday’s 7-6 loss at Mineola, Eustace Bulldog head coach Doug Wendel had to think that was a district win that just slipped away.
“We certainly had plenty of opportunities to win it,” Wendel said Monday.
“Overall, following an off week and our loss to Ferris, I thought we played about as well as we could,” he said. “I feel our defense is improving every week, but we’ve got to find a way to get off the field on third down.
“I’m pleased with our conditioning, and I thought our offensive line played about as well as they have all year,” he added. “The bottom line is we’re not going to win any game in this district with three turnovers.”
Of the three, the one that really hurt was fumbling inside the Mineola 10, after taking the first half of the fourth quarter to march the length of the field.
The Bulldogs got the ball back after holding the Yellowjackets, but a third fumble with 3:09 to play allowed Mineola to run out the clock.
Missing an extra point kick “is just unacceptable,” he said, “but even that didn’t cost us the game. We had an opportunity to score 21 more points and we didn’t do it.
“They had a good defense, and they didn’t beat themselves,” Wendel added. “That’s why they won the game.”
Now 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in district play, the Bulldogs return home to host the Canton Eagles this Friday.
One of the pre-season favorites to win District 14-3A, the Eagles are 4-2 on the season and 1-0 in district following a come-from-behind 27-24 win over Wills Point Friday night.
“They have the best defensive lineman in the district in noseguard Destry Hesskew,” Wendel said. “He’s a dominate player. Their linebackers and secondary are fast, so it will be tough sledding for us.”
Defensively, the Eagles have allowed about 26 points per game in their six contests, and have scored right at 31 points per game with their spread offense, while Eustace has scored about 25 points per game, but given up a little more than 28 points per contest.
“We expect to score more than six points, but we can’t expect to score 40,” Wendel said.
“(The Eagles) do a good job with their offense,” he said. “They spread you out and run a lot of screens – wide receivers, inside receivers, running backs.
“They set you up to bite on the screens, and then they throw over the top,” Wendel said. “On top of that, they run the ball about 50 percent of the time.”
Canton will be a challenge for the Bulldogs, and Wendel said the players and coaches are excited at the prospect of playing a quality team at home.
However, the Bulldogs don’t want to be 0-2 with just three district games left to play, since running the table in this district would be extremely difficult.
“The district race will be interesting,” Wendel said. “I think you’ll have a logjam (for the playoffs) with two-win teams.”

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace Bulldog defenders, including Justin Calhoun (22), Tony Alfarro (68)
and Trevan Johnson (4), gang up Friday to stop a Mineola Yellowjacket running
back during the fourth quarter of Mineola's narrow 7-6 win over the visiting
Bulldogs in the District 14-3A football opener for both teams.

’Jackets head to Wills Point
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–After a disappointing loss to the hosting Van Vandals in last Friday’s District 14-3A opener, the Kemp Yellowjackets face another stern test when they hit the road again this Friday to face the Wills Point Tigers.
Wills Point fell to 0-6 and 0-1 last week with a very narrow 27-24 loss to the hosting Canton Eagles, but the Tigers are probably the best 0-6 team in East Texas.
“That was the first thing we talked about this morning – don’t look at their record,” Kemp head coach Greg Anderson said Monday.
“You look at their size, their height, their speed,” he added. “They gave Canton all they wanted and more Friday night.
“If they ever put it together, they’re going to be hard to stop, because they’re more athletic than anyone in the district,” Anderson said.
Wills Point has victimized themselves with turnovers and inopportune penalties. For example, the Tigers had more offensive yards than the Kaufman Lions in their Oct. 3 matchup, but the Lions won 35-7 because the Tigers had four turnovers and committed 10 penalties for nearly 100 yards in losses.
Turnovers and penalties weren’t the problem for the ’Jackets (2-4, 0-1) last Friday night against the 5-1 Vandals, Anderson said.
Although the Vandals have used the spread most of the time this season, the ’Jackets saw the old Van Power I most of the night.
Van kept the ball most of the second half, running up 229 yards on the ground, most of it from Chase Rabe (21 carries, 136 yards).
Anderson said the loss of Van’s senior standout Blake Pennington to a knee injury on the first play from scrimmage may have prompted them to stay with the tried-and-true Power I.
“I think it was in their game plan to get in the double tight (end formation), but when (Pennington) went down, that convinced them to stay with it,” Anderson said.
“They chewed up over half of the third quarter with one drive,” he added. “We had to punt, and they wound up chewing clock well into the fourth quarter.”
While Anderson expected discipline and few mistakes from a Brad Pennington-coached Vandal squad, he was disappointed with the Yellowjackets’ play, particularly in the last eight minutes of the first half, when Van blew open a 12-7 game to take a 26-7 halftime lead.
“I was a little disappointed in the play of our defensive line,” he said. “We reverted to how we were playing in the first two games (both big losses).
“Anytime people line up and come right at you, and you don’t play well up front, it’s going to be hard to get them off the field,” Anderson said. “We didn’t get it together on both the offensive line and defensive line.”
The only bright spot for the ’Jackets came on their third possession, when they put together a 15-play, 82-yard scoring drive behind the running of Josh Carr. However, that one drive represented half of Kemp’s total offensive output for the game.
Against Wills Point, the ’Jackets will need to do a better job of executing the offense and maintaining control the ball and the clock, in order to keep the Tigers’ offense off the field, Anderson said.
“They have a young quarterback, but you can tell he’s maturing quickly,” he said.
Wills Point has plenty of speed and quickness at the skill positions, and balance the run and pass pretty well.
“In the Canton game, they kept it pretty balanced, and I think that helped them put some points on the board,” Anderson said. “They eliminated a lot of those penalties and turnovers.
“It will be important to limit their big-play ability,” he added. “On defense, we’ve got to do a great job of pursuit and run to the ball.”

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kemp senior running back Korey Henderson (25, with ball) struggles for extra
yardage in the grip of three Van Vandal defenders during Kemp's 40-7 loss to
the hosting Vandals Friday.

Panthers prep for Pirates
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–A narrow miss on a last-second field goal forced the Mabank Panthers into overtime Friday against Red Oak, and a turnover during the extra frame wound up costing the Panthers in a 32-26 loss.
The Panthers certainly had a better-than-even shot with junior Michael Blackburn trying a 35-yard game-winner with time running out.
“About half the people in the stadium thought that kick was good,” Mabank head coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday.
“I don’t ever watch the kick or the officials,” he added. “I fix my eyes on the kids, and their reactions always tell me if it’s good or not.
“Our kids jumped up and down and hollered, and their kids all hung their heads and started walking off the field,” Cantrell said.
However, one official said the kick was just outside the upright, and the game went to overtime.
“It was a dogfight, but we knew it would be,” Cantrell said.
“I thought our kids played extremely well with all the distractions and issues we had to deal with, what with the fight and all,” Cantrell added. “I thought the kids did an excellent job.”
Two Panther starters were suspended for Friday’s game after participating in a bench-clearing brawl that halted Mabank’s 35-21 victory over the Terrell Tigers Oct. 3.
Terrell was idle Friday, but seven players will be suspended when the 0-2 Tigers host Red Oak this Friday.
Last week’s narrow loss dropped the Panthers to 3-3 on the season and 1-1 in District 15-4A play.
Mabank returns home to host the Mesquite Poteet Pirates this Friday. Poteet comes into the contest at 1-6 and 0-3 in 15-4A play, following a 45-14 loss to visiting West Mesquite last Friday night.
“Our objective is to make the playoffs first, and the district championship is still there,” Cantrell said, pointing out the Panthers have yet to play any of the district front-runners.
That said, Cantrell expects another “dogfight” against the Pirates, who run a spread offense much like Mabank’s.
“They’re faster than we are, but then most everybody will be,” Cantrell said.
“Defensively, they’ve shown just about everything, both even fronts and odd fronts,” he added. “We won’t know what we’ll see until we line up Friday night, but then we’ve already seen just about everything.”
The Pirates have had to deal with a number of injuries, along with changes at the quarterback spot, now manned by a sophomore.
Poteet has good speed at the skill positions, perhaps as much as Red Oak, and it will be a challenge for the Panther defense to contain that speed, Cantrell said.
“We just need to keep being positive,” he added. “We’ve got to keep in mind that we’re not that far away from being undefeated.”
That’s true – the Panthers’ three losses have come by a total of 14 points.
Red Oak was favored by as much as 35 points going into last Friday night’s contest, and Cantrell dryly noted, “I think the element of surprise might not be a factor anymore.”
The Panthers had some turnovers against Red Oak, but then, Mabank’s defense collected their share of Hawk miscues.
“All you can expect of any football team is to put yourself in position to win the game in the fourth quarter, and we did that,” Cantrell said.


Upcoming games


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

*district contest

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

*district contest
Cross Country

Oct. 18
MHS @ Mesquite Poteet
KHS @ Mesquite Poteet
EHS @ Lufkin


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