By Jay Neal
The Jacksonville Fight'n Indians' 2013 football schedule is just about as good as it gets considering that the Tribe must face the likes of Class 3A perennial powers Carthage, Gilmer and Henderson among their non-district encounters, plus the aways-rigorous adventures of 16-4A football which features Whitehouse (Class 4A, No. 6) and John Tyler (Class 4A, No. 10) for starters.
It’s generally a boost for a team to be able to open a new season at home and that's exactly what the Indians will be doing this fall when they host Class 3-A's top-ranked outfit, Carthage, on August 30.
The Jacksonville boys will be young and green in most positions this year, so playing the opener in front of the home faithful could serve to take some of the edge off when the Tribesmen take on Carthage.
Jacksonville also commences the 16-4A portion of its schedule at Tomato Bowl this season.
The league lid lifter will take place on the 11th day of October when the Dragons of Nacogdoches come calling.
In addition, the Indians will close the regular season out on Nov. 8 by taking on Corsicana in Jacksonville, which could be huge if the district's playoff representatives are still undecided at that time as it is never wise to write off the Tribe's chances when playing at Tomato Bowl.
Another plus is three of the Tribe's five district tilts are scheduled to be played at home – Jacksonville’s other league affair is slated for Oct. 25 when the mighty John Tyler Lions come calling.
Conversely, there is a potentially treacherous portion of the Indians' 2013 docket that is a cause for concern.
Jacksonville will close out non-conference play by visiting Henderson (Sept. 20) and marshall (Sept. 27) in consecutive weeks before enjoying a pre-district bye week.
Although Henderson is expected to be down this year and Marshall was one of East Texas cupcake teams a year ago, neither game should be overlooked.
That's because Henderson is always tough when playing before the Lions' usual rapid sell-out crowd.
As for the Mavericks, Marshall has a brand new coach in Clint Harper and the early reports are that harper and company are working feverishly to return the program to its luster of past years.
Bottom line, Indians can't afford to go into the bye week having suffered a loss to Marshall if they are to enter district play with sufficient momentum.