Area Football Previews: Rusk, Bullard look to start off strong at home

Bullard quarterback Tristen Shewmake, pictured during a scrimmage against Jacksonville last week, will lead the Panthers into the season opener against Pine Tree on Friday. Kick off at Panther Stadium in Bullard is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Rusk Eagles (0-0) vs. Fairfield Eagles (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jim Swink Field at Eagle Stadium, Rusk

What to Watch For — Rusk's last regular season non-district win came on Oct. 6, 2017 when the Red and Black outlasted Madisonville, 48-45... A determined-to-win flock of Eagles from Rusk should be in the house on Friday...Rusk played well in its latest scrimmage against No. 2-Malakoff and should be ready to fire right out of the gate this year...Fairfield graduated 24 seniors, with the only experienced players on the offensive side being on the O-line, so it could take a couple of games for Fairfield to get up to speed. Rusk will travel to Athens next week.

 

Bullard Panthers (0-0) vs. Pine Tree (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Frtiday, Panther Stadium, Bullard

What to Watch For — Pine Tree returns 11 starters and is predicted by some to be a playoff team out of District 9-5A-II...The Panthers bring back eight starters from a year ago, plus quarterback Tristen Shewmake, who started at quarterback for Jacksonville in 2018...The Panthers will have to find a way to limit Pine Tree wide receiver J.J. Sparkman's productivity. Sparkman (6'-4”, 220 lbs.) has verbally committed to Texas Tech...Bullard's defensive secondary had issues last season and in a scrimmage against Jacksonville last week...This game could turn into a scorefest.

 

Troup Tigers (0-0) vs. Tenaha Tigers (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Tiger Stadium, Troup

What to Watch For — Troup has not played well in scrimmages against Sabine and West Rusk...Troup had some significant losses due to graduation, including its quarterback and at least two good sized linemen who are playing on Saturdays this fall, but still return 14 starters...There is talent in Troup, but it could take several more weeks for everything to gel. Tenaha returns 12 starters off of a 10-win team a year ago...Troup's defense could have its hands full in trying to stop Tenaha quarterback Hayden Jenkins, who ran for over 2,600 yards and threw 28 touchdown passes a year ago.

 

Brook Hill Guard (0-0) vs. FW Southwest Christian Eagles (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Young Field at Herrington Stadium, Bullard

What to Watch For — Guard will host the Eagles, who managed just three wins in 2018, for the 5th Annual America State Bank/Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl. While Brook Hill does have a new field general in Garrett Esposito, a transfer from Bullard High School, it appears the Guard have more answers than questions when it comes to personnel. The Cards, on the other hand, are strong on the lines, but have a plethora of questions at the skilled positions. It could be a long night for the boys from Cowtown.

 

Alto Yellowjackets (0-0) vs. Palestine Westwood Panthers (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Cam'Ron Matthews Field at Yellowjacket Stadium, Alto

What to Watch For — The Jackets come in to the new season with high hopes for a district championship and a deep playoff run. The Panthers went 1-9 last season, but are expected to be better this time around, with 20 lettermen back. Despite that fact, it appears Alto could be sending fans home with a big win on Friday evening.

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