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Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
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Panthers to host Forney ’Rabbits
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–With one District 15-4A win under their belt, the Mabank Panthers host one of the district’s front-runners this Friday night, when the Forney Jackrabbits come to Panther Stadium for a key loop contest.
A mistake-prone Panther team managed to shut down the hosting Mesquite Poteet Pirates in the second half Oct. 15 to take a narrow 21-17 victory, giving them a 1-2 district mark.
A 1-7 Pirate team riddled with injuries all year definitely brought their “A” game for the Panthers, Mabank head coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday morning.
“It was a Thursday night game, and we never play on Thursday,” he added. “It took us a while to get into a rhythm ... I’m pleased that we were able to come from behind to win.”
Poteet is open for Week 10, but play at Terrell this Friday and will host Red Oak next Friday, Oct. 30.
“If they play those two games like they played us, they could win both of them,” Cantrell said. “You couldn’t tell they were 0-for in district.”
While the Panthers made their share of mistakes, they cut way back on the penalties that had plagued them in the first two district games, particularly in the area of drive-killing offensive penalties.
“The penalties that we’re getting are effort mistakes,” Cantrell said. “This was the first time the other team had more penalties than we did.”
Mabank has three more district games. “If we win three of three, we’re in (the playoffs), and two of the three are at home,” Cantrell pointed out.
Forney comes into this week’s game at 2-1 in district play, having dropped a narrow 30-27 decision to visiting West Mesquite last Friday night.
“Forney had a 27-10 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter, and I decided to go on home,” Cantrell recalled. “When I got home, I found West Mesquite had come back to win.
“West stopped throwing and started running the ball,” he added. “I’m sure Forney thinks they let one slip by on them.
“They still have to play Terrell, Red Oak and us,” Cantrell said. “This thing is far from over. I think Red Oak is the only one who’s sealed a playoff spot, with four wins.
“Forney is a quality ballclub,” Cantrell noted. “They may not be the most talented team, but they’re certainly one of the most well-coached.”
Senior quarterback Blake Blanton leads the Jackrabbits, and is “very talented, one of the most talented (athletes) we’ve seen,” Cantrell said.
“Their best running back lines up under center,” he added with a slight grin.
Defensively, the Jackrabbits play an even front, “and they play the pass really well, which is our bread and butter,” Cantrell said.
The ’Rabbits may have had a couple of defensive players hurt late in the West Mesquite loss, he said.
“I don’t know if those kids will be out or not, but that’s just part of (the game),” he added.
Panther junior linebacker Cameron Cantrell (shoulder) played just three downs against Poteet, and remains very questionable for Friday’s contest, “but (senior) Michael Henderson came in and did an excellent job (11 tackles, two for loss),” Cantrell said.
Forney has a returning all-district linebacker in Lesley Booker, but he also has battled injuries.
“(Booker) is a difference-maker for them,” Cantrell said. “I know he tried to play against West.”
Panther senior quarterback Jordan Featherston suffered an injury to his throwing hand in the first half against Poteet, but came back and threw well in the second half, so he will likely be ready to go, Cantrell added.
Cantrell also singled out Nolan Duncan (19 tackles, four for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles) and Bob Cron (eight tackles) for their play, adding “I thought Matt Lowe (eight tackles, one recovered fumble) had his best game.”
Defensively, Mabank’s biggest challenge will be to stop Blanton, and his top receiver, Juan Villarreal.
“If we can stop those two guys, we win the game. But, that’s easier said than done,” Cantrell said.

Eustace to host Kemp for crucial 14-3A contest
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–If past performance is any indicator, folks heading to Eustace’s Bulldog Stadium Friday night should see a dandy District 14-3A showdown between the hosting Bulldogs and the Kemp Yellowjackets.
Both teams come into the contest on different trajectories, even though their season records are pretty close – Eustace is 3-4 while Kemp is 2-4.
However, the Bulldogs are 2-0 in district play, thanks to a wild 68-53 shoot-out victory over the hosting Canton Eagles Friday night, while the Yellowjackets are 0-2, dropping a 33-0 decision to the Wills Point Tigers last week.
“Kemp has played the two best defenses in the district, and I think they have the third-best defense,” Eustace head coach Doug Wendel said Monday.
“(After playing Wills Point) we’ve got to turn around and play another offense that’s just as explosive, with a whole different scheme,” Kemp head coach Greg Anderson said Monday.
Wendel noted Kemp scored more than 50 points in the final two non-district games, but hasn’t scored in district play yet, dropping the Oct. 9 opener to Van, 3-0, in double overtime.
“I don’t think they’re a team that scores 50 points a game, or a team that scores zero,” Wendel said. “I think those four games balance out.”
Anderson admitted the ’Jackets didn’t play very well against the 2-0 Tigers “from start to finish,” but pointed out Wills Point is a very good football team.
Wills Point hosts Van Friday night, “and I fully expect them to beat Van when they match up,” Anderson said.
It’ll take a pretty good defensive effort to shut down the Bulldogs’ Veer attack, which ran up 617 yards (513 rushing) against the Eagles.
“It’s unusual that a running team scores that many points, but I have to be pleased with our execution and poise,” Wendel said. “We converted three fourth downs – two of them on passes.
“I think our offensive line played their best game,” he added. “They’ve continued to improve, and have made great strides over the last three weeks.”
“It was a crazy game to watch on film, that’s for sure,” Anderson said. “We’ve got our hands full. Doug and his staff do a great job.”
Both coaches pointed to the development of slotback Joseph “JoJo” Bradburn as a crucial factor in the Bulldog offense.
Senior three-year starter Trevan Johnson, one of the district’s fastest players, is a known threat, but defenses can’t key on him anymore, because Bradburn has become just as big a threat to the other side, he explained.
“He (Bradburn) has really made them balanced,” Anderson said.
“The key to their offense is (senior Chris) Compton at quarterback, reading the option at the right time,” he added. “(Compton) does a great job. He’s a good athlete, and you can tell he has great football smarts and is well-coached.
“You have to keep up with all four – the quarterback, fullback, Trevan and JoJo, and just when you think you’ve got all four covered, they can go with play-action and throw it over the top of you,” Anderson said. “CC is a more than adequate passer, and they’ve got kids who can catch the ball.”
“I’m very impressed with (Kemp’s) aggressiveness and technique on defense,” Wendel said. “I’m also very impressed with their defensive line. They’re aggressive, and they don’t stay blocked.
“Those kids are exactly where they’re supposed to be, and they’re playing faster than they probably are,” he added. “That’s a sign of a well-coached defense.
“(Offensively) they’re difficult to prepare for, because they use a lot of formations,” Wendel said. “Greg actually sees what you’re doing (on defense) and can adjust for it during the game.
“He’s one of the most innovative coaches I know,” Wendel added. “He comes up with something every week, and they execute it pretty well, and that’s really unusual.”
“We’re not going to be able to line up and overpower people, so you’ve got to keep them guessing what you’re going to do,” Anderson said. “We try to create mismatches.”
“I really like their quarterback (senior Jeremy Quick),” Wendel said. “He doesn’t make mistakes, and he’s got a great arm.”
“They played one defense against Mineola, and they played a whole different scheme (a nickel package) against Canton,” Anderson said. “I think we’ll see a variation of both of those. We’ll have to prepare for several different looks up front.”
Both coaches noted the teams’ history of down-to-the-wire contests over the past few years, and each expects the same this year.
“He (Wendel) hopes his defense plays a little better, and we hope our offense plays a little better,” Anderson said. “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see it go down to the last possession.”
Turnovers and field position likely will play the key roles in determining who wins the game, both coaches pointed out.
“We’ve done a good job in the past two weeks of not making mistakes, but this is a better defense than we’ve seen in the past two weeks,” Wendel said. “It’s the best defense I’ve seen at Kemp since I’ve been here.
“I expect a close game, probably in the mid-30s,” he added. “Talent-wise and numbers-wise, we’re very similar. I fully expect it to go down to the last five minutes.
“It’ll be fun,” Wendel said. “We enjoy this rivalry, and there’s a lot riding on it for both teams.”
A loss by Kemp will drop them to 0-3 and probably out of the playoff picture, while a win would tie Kemp with the winner of Friday night’s matchup between Canton and Mineola. Kemp still has both of those teams to play.
A loss for Eustace will drop the Bulldogs into a tie with either Wills Point or Van, with both of those teams still to play.
Both coaches said they believe a 3-2 district mark will secure a playoff spot, while a 2-3 record probably won’t.
“Our kids know their kids – they all play soccer and baseball with each other,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be fun and interesting, and I think it’ll wind up being a big game.
“When the dust settles three weeks from now, I think we’ll both be able to look back at this game as determining whether or not we make the playoffs,” Anderson said.


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As a reporter, you would:
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Upcoming games

Cross country

Oct. 26
MHS idle
KHS @ 14-3A meet
EHS @ 14-3A meet
(4 Pines Ranch, Eustace)

Oct. 31
MHS @ 15-4A meet
(Samuell Farms, Mesquite)

Nov. 7
Region II meet (4A, 3A)
(Vandergriff Park, Arlington)

Nov. 14
State CC meet
(Old Settlers Park, Round Rock)

Oct. 23
MHS vs Forney*

Oct. 27
MHS vs Terrell*
KHS @ Van*
EHS @ Mineola*
(end regular season)
(*district contest)

Nov. 2-3
Bidistrict playoffs

Nov. 5-7
Area playoffs


Oct. 23
MHS vs Forney*

Oct. 30
MHS @ Lancaster*
KHS vs Mineola*
EHS @ Wills Point*

Nov. 6
MHS vs West Mesquite*
KHS @ Canton*
EHS vs Van*
(end regular season)
(*district contest)


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