By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The helmets and pads are getting ready to come out for local high school football teams as they get prepared for scrimmages. It will be the first time since November that players will be able to suit up and play against other schools.
The Mabank Panthers will play their first scrimmage against Scurry-Rosser at home at 7 p.m. Aug. 11. They will go on the road to play Palestine Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. in their second scrimmage.
The scrimmages will be helpful for the Panthers to get ready for their first non-district game. They will also held second-year Head Coach Mikey Thompson settle the quarterback battle between Brady Manning and Clay Conway.
The Panthers are coming off a 2-7 season and a second straight year without a district victory. They will be in a tough district this season with five teams ranked in the pre-season top 30 of the state.
The Kemp Yellowjackets will have their first scrimmage Aug. 12 at home against Grand Saline at 6 p.m. Their next scrimmage is Aug. 18 on the road against Quinlan Ford at 11 a.m.
Kemp will be returning 17 starters from last years playoff team so not many positions battles will be settled during scrimmages. The two games will give the players a chance to warm up and shake off any rust that may have formed between now and last November.
Kemp will have an explosive offense this season led by quarterback Dreyson Watters, running back Alan Quezada and receiver Elijah Gardiner. Kemp went 4-7 last season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Eustace Bulldogs will have their home scrimmage against Quinland Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. They go on the road Aug. 18 to take on Kerens at 6 p.m.
With only nine starters returning, Eustace has lots of question marks this season. The scrimmages will give new sophomore quarterback Alejandro Sanchez a chance to get his feet wet and get used to the Friday night lights.
Eustace finds themselves in one of the toughest districts in all of Texas with four state ranked teams in Malakoff, Teague, Groesbeck and West.
Eustace went 3-7 last year and 0-5 in district play. They missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Posted by : August 10, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Posted by : August 5, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
MABANK–School might not be in session yet but the Mabank track team is already hard at work getting in shape for the season.
The team ran at the T.A.A.F (Texas Amature Athletic Federation) State Meet in McAllen July 16 and had four athletes win their events.
Aaron Wilson won the 1600 and 3200 meter runs. Sky Wolf won the 400 meter dash and Jacob Johnson and Tanner Henderson won the 800 meter run.
The team is looking to improve on the success they had last season and to be in shape when the season starts again.
T.A.A.F. State Track & Field qualification begins at the local level with the track athlete being registered through their member city track team, affiliate track team or as an unattached athlete. Circuit meets, depending on region, are available to the athlete for practice. The T.A.A.F. registered athlete must qualify through regional competition. Once the athlete qualifies at region level, he or she advances to the T.A.A.F. State Track Meet held at the T.A.A.F. Summer Games of Texas.
Posted by : August 3, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The helmets and pads are came out again as Texas high school football teams began two-a-days on August 1. Several local teams around the lake are gearing up for the first game of the season August 26.
The Kemp Yellowjackets will compete in district 6-3A and are picked to finish fourth in the district, grabbing the last playoff spot. The eight-team district is picked to finish with Sunnyvale in first place, followed by Grandview, Dallas Madison, Kemp, Scurry-Rosser, Maypearl, Life Oak Cliff and Palmer.
Third-year coach Brandon Hankins has turned the football program around for Kemp. The winless 2014 season is a distant memory as the Yellowjackets attempt to prove they belong back in the playoffs.
Kemp returns 17 starters including sophomore quarterback Dreyson Watters. Watters was the District Newcomer of the Year last season when he ran for 2,500 yards and threw for 1,950 more as a freshman. He had 28 total touchdowns.
Watters won’t be short on targets to throw to either. Receivers Elijah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington and Alec Cooper all return for their senior seasons. Running back Alan Quezada ran for 750 yards and six touchdowns in a back-up role last year. Kemp will lean on him as the starter this year. Tyler Garrett, Kasey Cockrell and Joseph Lopez all return on the offensive line.
The biggest question mark on defense is linebacker. All three of Kemp’s linebackers graduated leaving a huge void. Sophomore Boomer Irvin will step in from a JV team that went 8-2 last year to help make up for the loss.
Passing against the Yellowjackets will be a risk with a secondary led by safety Kane Johnson. Corner back Jaise Bowie started as a freshman and will look to improve in his second season.
Kemp finished with a 4-7 record last season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and lost to Kirbyville in the first round of the playoffs.
“We have had a great couple days of practice, Hankins said. “The kids are hungry and looking forward to getting better every day. People are aware of the fact that we have talent. We have the potential to be a really good football team and we would love to bring a district championship to Kemp.”
The Mabank Panthers are competing in district 8-4A this season. The Panthers still have improvements to make before they can ascend into the playoffs but a 7-2 JV team could mean that things are about to turn around.
Second-year coach Mikey Thompson will have strong lines on both sides of the ball. Noel Rojo and Brandon Pierce headline a big offensive line that will protect whoever plays quarterback.
Running the ball against Mabank will be a tough task with defensive lineman Jacob Felts and Kevin Turner returning from last season.
Mabank has a solid foundation to build from but the skill players are young and inexperienced. If Mabank wants to have success and take steps toward becoming a playoff team, those young players must grow up quickly.
Mabank went 2-7 last season with wins over two playoff teams in Kemp and Canton. The Panthers went winless in district and missed the playoffs.
“I feel like we are working hard and getting better every day,” Thompson said. “Every day is a chance for improvement and improvment is a process. I’m excited to see our hard work start to pay off when we hit the field in week one.”
The Eustace Bulldogs and coach Heath Ragle find themselves in a tough spot. They are picked to finish last in district 9-3A and have a lot of people to prove wrong. The Bulldogs only return nine starters and have a JV team that went 2-7 last year.
On offense the Bulldogs will have to replace running back Keenan Hargest who did almost everything for the team last year, including playing quarterback.
James East and Cam Rodgers will split carries and take the load off new quarterback Alejandro Sanchez. Under Ragle, the Bulldogs have never been known as a passing team but they are hoping Sanchez’s speed gives them an edge.
Offensive lineman Mikey Marshall missed 2015 with an injury but returns for his senior season to anchor the line.
Defensively, the biggest player for Eustace will be linebacker JJ Hughes, who had 87 tackles last year. The defensive line will be stacked with Michael Schultz and Dylan Hunacker both returning. Stone Wadsworth will roam the secondary and is the most experienced defensive back on the team.
Eustace went 3-7 and 0-5 in district last season and missed out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs only have one district win in the past two seasons.
“The guys are really improving and learning the pace of practice.” Ragle said. “We feel good about what we got and what we are building. We are in the toughest district in the state and we love being the underdog.”
Ragle said that the offense won’t change very much with Sanchez under center. He said they will be “pretty multiple” on offense and will work to highlight their skill players.
The high school football season starts on August 26. Mabank starts the season at home against Palestine. Kemp takes on Rio Vista at home and Eustace goes on the road to Scurry-Rosser.
The Monitor will release it’s fall sports preview August 25. It will have information on all the local football, volleyball and cross country teams.