Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2016

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By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Yellowjackets are back in the winner’s circle after claiming their first playoff berth since 2008.
“It felt good to make the playoffs last year,” said Head Coach Branson Hankins. “It felt good for the program and for the community. Now that the kids got a taste of the playoffs, they will be wanting more.”
The success brings a feeling of optimism that the Kemp football program hasn’t had in a long time.
“It’s a different feel around here,” Hankins said. “In the past we didn’t always know what we had, but now I know what we have in our kids and what they bring to the table. We are confident and we are hungry.”
The Yellowjackets will be channeling that hunger against a new set of district rivals. This year Kemp faces off against Sunnyvale, Scurry-Rosser, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Palmer and Maypearl. Gone are top-ranked Malakoff and Teague, and local rival Eustace. The move suits Hankins coaching staff just fine.
“We go back to the Dallas-area schools this time around and it fits us well,” he said. “We don’t have to travel as far and we like that.”
Top returning starters for Kemp this year are Elijiah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington, Kane Johnson, Dreyson Watters and Tyler Garrett. Big move-ins include Caleb Bolin and Taylor Little.
“We have a lot of guys that are helping us out and we’re excited about that,” Hankins said. “Some of the new players that came in from out of town will help us out, as well as the kids that have been here for four years. It’s a great vibe around here.”
Kemp will run a spread offense again this year with a 4-2-5 defense (four lineman, two linebackers and five in the secondary for pass defense). “It fits our kids and our personnel,” he said.
The ’Jackets hope to get prepared for district competition by facing preseason opponents Rio Vista, Mabank and Rice.
Hankins said the first few games of the season are pivotal even if they don’t count the district standings.
“It’s important to win some games right away and compete,” he said. “We know we have a lot to prove and we are excited to get out there and make it happen. When we strap on the pads we always want to win and improve each week. Staying healthy is important. If you’re not healthy in 2A or 3A football, it hurts with the numbers. We have some good depth now so we are going to get better and roll into district strong.”

Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2016

Overview scene

Westbound traffic progresses slowly during rush hour Monday through downtown Gun Barrel City as numerous emergency units worked the scene of an accident involving five vehicles, including a trailer hauling donkeys. The emergency call went out about 5:30 p.m. on Main Street in front of Brite Smiles Dental. A domino effect took place on the eastbound lanes when the male driver appeared to be suffering a heart attack or some similar health issue while driving. Several persons were injured and carried from the scene by ambulance. Three responded to the 9-1-1. In addition to Gun Barrel City fire department, Payne Springs Fire Rescue was on scene with mutual aid. Details of the wreck were still being sketched out by police when the report went to press the following day.

Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2016

IMG_1567cmyk USE
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–We are Mabank. The words are plastered on signs all over town, on t-shirts and even the band bus. It’s just three words, but sometimes small things can help bring teams and communities together.
“The words are about bringing an attitude to Mabank that will unite the entire school to be proud of who we are,” Panthers Head Coach Mikey Thompson said.
The words are helping with optimism and attitudes, now it’s up to Thompson and the coaching staff to bring the best out of the Panthers to win some games in the highly competitive 4-A District 8.
“I’m excited about this year’s team,” Thompson said. “Our biggest strength is on the offensive and defensive lines. The will do some heavy lifting for us this year. We will have a hard time winning if they don’t play their best.”
Thompson says the team is gelling together well during workouts and practice.
“We’ve build a lot of team comradery so far,” he said. “We’ve been here working out all summer. The kids have bought and committed to our program and to what we are trying to do here.”
The Panthers will get some new looks in their predistrict schedule this year, facing off against Palestine, Canton and Ferris. However, some things are better when they don’t change. The Panthers will face their familiar rival Kemp, in their yearly tradition, Sept. 3 in Kemp.
“We will be playing against some quality opponents before district play begins,” Thompson said. “They should help us be ready for district play.”
The Panthers will be facing familiar district foes Athens, Van, Kaufman and Brownsboro, as well as gaining Crandall and Terrell. Terrell dropped down two classifications to join 4A.
Starters for this year’s Panthers squad include running back Jace Lair, tight end Kegan Richardson, cornerbacks Hunter Caves and Jacob Bishop, linebackers Tyrce Grey and Jacob Zubl and linemen Noel Rojo and Jacob Felts. The quarterback position was still undecided during two-a-days, as sophomores Clay Conway and Brady Manning were competing for the job.
Thompson says the heart and soul of the Panthers team is Rojo.
“Rojo is the guy every one of us respects,” Thompson said. “He is the hardest working man in Mabank.This is his third year on the varsity squad and he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He’s everything that we want to teach the kids here in Mabank.” Thompson’s praise continues. “Rojo is a vocal leader and leads by example. He pushes the kids hard and they let him. We love him to death, all 115 football players, 15 coaches and 16 athletic trainers. He’s the model citizen of what we want Mabank ISD to be all about.”