Sports and Outdoors


Mabank gets nod in new district
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Reports

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The bible of sportswriters, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, names the Mabank Panthers as the team to beat in the new District 13-3A.
Veteran Waco sportswriter Dave Campbell (who is a very nice guy, by the way – this reporter met him while visiting the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco several years ago) has developed a nearly sure-fire way of picking winners since starting the magazine in 1960, and his Texas Football magazine is required reading for anyone covering a football beat in Texas.
Last year’s magazine, for example, correctly picked Mabank to finish fourth in a very tough District 14-4A behind Lancaster – although it didn’t say the Panthers would fall one point short in double overtime to Lancaster in the final regular-season game to finish fourth and miss the playoffs.
Even though the Panthers graduated most of their skill people, including wide receiver/placekicker Stephen Gulledge (the only player picked to two first-team all-district positions) and first-team quarterback Tyler Hamilton, they return most of a massive offensive line, including first-team all-district pick Alan Ott.
Also, the Panthers dropped from 4A competition back to 3A, and that gives them an edge, according to coaches contacted by Texas Football.
The Kaufman Lions, who won the District 12-3A title last year (as predicted by Texas Football), is picked to finish second in the new district, followed by Crandall, Ferris, Eustace and Kemp.
Kaufman finished 9-2 last year, including a 5-0 district mark, but returns under a new coach, Todd York, and also graduated much of a very talented team, so that pick carries a big question mark.
Crandall’s Pirates, who qualified for the playoffs last year with a losing record (4-6) after going 2-2 in District 12-3A play, return most of their starting backfield – including quarterback Kolton Kvapil and running back Antuan Aaron, both all-district picks – but lost heavily on defense.
It’s a question why Eustace is picked to finish fifth, as injuries decimated the Bulldogs last year, leaving them winless in district play.
The Bulldogs are projected to return eight starters on offense (including quarterback Mike Cook) and nine starters on defense. If they can stay healthy – and unfortunately, that’s a big if, given their recent history – they should do better than projected.
Ferris is picked to finish fourth after finishing 3-6 last year, including 0-3 in a five-team district schedule. The Yellowjackets are projected to have five offensive and six defensive starters returning.
Kemp’s Yellowjackets are picked to finish last, although they return five starters on offense (including senior running back Leif Skierski) and seven starters on defense.
The ’Jackets also may be picking up some other athletes who previously chose to bypass football for basketball – namely unanimous district MVP Jacarri Culberson, who should provide a big target (with great hands and leaping ability) for whoever steps in at quarterback.
Again, injuries will play a big part in determining if either Kemp or Eustace can do better than the Texas Football projections.
Turning to other area teams, the Athens Hornets, who have struggled to win single games in recent seasons, are picked to finish in the middle of the pack (which would actually be an improvement) in District 14-3A, behind loop favorite Van, Brownsboro and Canton, and ahead of Tyler Chapel Hill and Bullard.
Canton, with the loss of all-everything quarterback G.J. Kinne – who transferred to Gilmer – and his dad, coach Gary Joe Kinne (who went to Baylor University as a linebacker coach) faces a major rebuilding task under new coach Lance Angel, who comes to Canton from Cooper.
Speaking of G.J. Kinne, the senior graces the cover of this year’s Texas Football, along with other top passers, who surround legendary Tyler running back Earl Campbell.
Malakoff’s Tigers are picked to finish in the middle of the District 20-2A pack, which includes familiar foes Kerens and Frankston, as well as newcomers Italy, Corsicana Mildred, Rice and Blooming Grove.
Kerens’ Bobcats are picked as the 20-2A winner, followed by Italy and Mildred.
Trinidad, coming off an 11-1 state quarterfinalist season (losing only to state champion Throckmorton), and with five projected starters back on both sides of the ball, is picked to win Division 1 District 11 in six-man competition.
The Trojans, who were unbeaten in district play last year, are picked ahead of Cooledge, Penelope, Avalon and Dallas Gateway in their new district.
Gateway’s Gators, although listed in Trinidad’s district last year, did not field a varsity team, although they did play a junior varsity schedule.
Cooledge’s Yellowjackets finished last year as Division II state champions with a 15-0 record. They return all their starters, but will have a new coach.


Upcoming Games

7-on-7 League
June 27 @ Eustace
6 p.m.
Kemp vs Mabank
Eustace vs Kaufman
7 p.m.
Wills Point vs Malakoff

CC Christian Softball League
Saturday, June 24 (make-up games)
8 a.m.
CC Bible Bearers of Light vs CC Church of God
9 a.m.
Prairieville Armadillos vs FBC Mabank Puddle Monkeys
10 a.m.
St. Jude Saints vs Aley Mustangs
11 a.m.
CLC Flame Kickers vs Aley Mustangs
Legendary Baptist vs CLC Flame Kickers
1 p.m.
FBC Mabank Sea Donkeys vs Hillcrest Red
2 p.m.
FBC Eustace Disciples vs CLC Crushers
3 p.m.
FBC-GBC Halos vs CLC Frogs
4 p.m.
Providence Baptist vs FBC Kemp
First team listed is home team