Prep football: 6 must see games this season

Quarterback Jaylon Hall (6'-4", 210-pounds) is back to lead the Rusk Eagles this fall. The Eagles' last non-district game (Oct. 4 at Pittsburg) has been identified as a key game for Rusk this season. The Eagles are the defending District 7-4-A-II champions.

Aug. 30 — Carthage Bulldogs at Jacksonville Indians

Being that this will be the first game played in the newly renovated Historic Tomato Bowl; it's a no-brainer that this season-opening skirmish will be an important one on several different fronts.

Carthage, coming off of a 14-1 season last year, is once again stout, with 14 starters back. The Bulldogs are the preseason favorite to win it all in District 10-4A-I (again), and are ranked No. 2 in the state by Texas Football.

Jacksonville will have a lot of new faces in the lineup, with only eight starters back from a year ago.

One Tribe newbie will be quarterback Patrick Clater, who, barring any unforeseen occurrence between now and the last Friday night in August, should be making his first varsity start of his career in this contest.

Heck of a challenge for the young man with Carthage's All-State linebacker Rayvon Ingram (128 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three sacks last year) staring you down.

Since 2008 the Bulldogs have won 6-of-7 meetings against the Tribe.

Make sure you watch for the debut of the new “Flamin' J” and check out the action on the video board; the clarity of which can't be topped by many high school stadiums.

 

September 20 — Alto Yellowjackets at Garrison Bulldogs 

This game should tell us a lot about Alto.

The Jackets return a solid core of talented players and could be in a position to overtake Price-Carlisle for the District 10-2A-I title this fall.

After opening up with Westwood, Timpson and New Diana, Garrison may be the first time that the Mean Sting are really tested.

With a dozen starters back from a 10-3 team last year, Garrison has been predicted to finish in first place in the 11-2A-I standings.

The Alto defense is top shelf this year and they should be put to the test by Bulldog running back Sebastion Porter, who ran for 2,461 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2018.

With Alto having its open date the following week, a win in this game could put the Jackets on top of the world to open conference at Big Sandy on October 11.

 

September 27 — Jacksonville Indians at Nacogdoches Dragons

District 9-5A-II is forecast to be a real dog fight this year and the Tribe and the Dragons could both be battling for the final playoff spot on the last week of the regular season, so whoever can get the head-to-head win would be at an advantage.

This is the conference opener for both teams and comes right after the bye week.

The Tribe probably will feel like they have a score to settle with the fire breathers after Nacogdoches outlasted the Indians 45-41 last year.

Both teams will desperately need a win in this one to have a reasonable chance at the playoffs.

The Dragosn have 30 returnees to Jacksonville's 14; but Nac only has four more starters coming back than the Tribe.

 

October 4 — Troup Tigers at Harmony Eagles

This game could actually determine the District 10-3A-II champion, as most predictions have Harmony and Troup at the top of the District 16-3A standings.

Former Jacksonville assistant Tim Russell and his staff are doing wonders in Harmony. The Eagles have won 30 games over the past three seasons and will be tough at home.

Troup won 10 games a year ago and with 14 starters back for this go around, no one is feeling too sorry for the Maroons.

Looks like one of those good old fashioned slobber knockers.

 

October 4 — Rusk Eagles at Pittsburg Pirates

After going winless in pre-conference last year, the Eagles ran the table on their District 7-4A-II mates to secure the district championship last November.

This is the final non-conference game for the Red and Black this season and although Pittsburg has had Rusk's number in recent times, this year's Pittsburg team will be young and inexperienced, so things could shift over to the Rusk side.

The Pirates return only seven men and five starters off of last year's 10-win team, so the Eagles may have an opportunity to close out non-district play with a road win.

This should be one of Rusk's best chances to nail down a non-district victory.

A win over the Pirates would be big for the Eagles.

 

October 11 — Dallas Christian Chargers at Brook Hill Guard

Look for the Guard to really work hard at opening conference play on a positive note this year.

Last year the Guard lost 21-7, to Dallas Christian in Mesquite.

The Chargers bring back nearly three dozen boys from last year, but Brook Hill has the edge in returning starters, 14-10.

Expect the Guard to come out fired up in front of the home faithful.

Most coaches agree how important it is to start district off on the right foot, so Brook Hill should be jacked up for this one.

A nice-size Brook Hill crowd could be huge in what probably will be a close one, regardless of who wins.