Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 18, 2013

JHS coach Kelley says all Indian fans will be needed Tuesday

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Never mind the regular-season records.

When post season play begins, those records, and if applicable state rankings too, should be tossed out with the trash, because they are absolutely worthless.

The Jacksonville Indians (32-1), the District 16-4A champions and the No. 10 team in Class 4A, are scheduled to test a very recognizable opponent — the Lancaster Tigers (14-17), who ended up as the fourth-place representative from District 15-4A — in the bi-district round, which is schedueld for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Eustace High School.

Jacksonville hoops fan should be familiar with the Tigers.

And that familiarity hasn't been pleasant, by any means.

That's because Lancaster knocked the Tribe out of the playoffs a year ago when the Tigers notched a 53-42 win over the Indians in a bi-district game that was played at Fairfield High School.

On Feb. 27, 2009 the Lancaster boys dispatched the Tribesmen in an Area Round battle, winning 79-71 at UT-Tyler Herrington-Patriot Center.

And while this year's group of Tigers may not seem quite as fierce as some of the Lancaster teams in the past, Jacksonville head coach Brent Kelley said that not only his players should be taking Lancaster serious, but that Indian backers must do so, too.

“Our fans have really been supportive this year,” Kelley said. “And the players have noticed that and they really appreciate that.”

“I just want our fans to know that we need everyone of them to be in Eustace Tuesday night. Sometimes it can be easy to say, “well I will go to the game on Friday because there is no school or work the next day and I will skip the Tuesday game.” People have to realize that if we don't win Tuesday, there is no game on Friday, it will all be over, period.”  

Lancaster fans have traveled well for past meetings with Jacksonville, very reminiscent of the uber- passionate John Tyler fanatics in many ways.

Lancaster will enter the game having won its last three outings, while Jacksonville tasted defeat for the first time this season on Tuesday when the Tribe were tripped up by John Tyler in Tyler.

The Tigers' district includes two teams that have won over 25 games apiece in state-ranked Arlington Seguin (28-4) and Mansfield Legacy (26-8).

“Lancaster always seems to have plenty of speed and athleticism, and year-in-year-out they continue to put strong teams out on the floor and we don't expect anything less from them this year,” Kelley said. “We will need to play well to be able to win and many times in a close games, as we have seen this year, fan support can give one team an edge that they need to be able to win, so that's why we don't want our fans to take any thing for granted and we want to them there Tuesday.”