Playoffs aren’t decided in the first week of the season, but it generally gives teams a good indicator on where they stand, and what they need to work on.
East Texas football isn’t a place for the queasy. Teams are tough, players are tough and, heck, the fans are even tough. And the schedules? They fear no one in East Texas or the Piney Woods.
There are several dozen games in East Texas area during Week 1, but here are seven that will have fans chomping at the bit as August ends and Friday nights in September begin.
Lufkin at Longview
This is an old-school rivalry with old-school bragging rights. Both of these teams are steeped in tradition. Remember that time last decade when both schools were ranked in the nation’s top 10 at the same time? Yes, this rivalry is an oldie but goodie.
2016 Result: Lufkin 35, Longview 24
Gladewater at Carthage
Gladewater’s non-district schedule is, for lack of better terms, brutal. It’s Carthage, Kilgore, Center, Chapel Hill and Lindale. But if you play in the same district with Gilmer, you need as much prep time you can get. Carthage? Well, the defending state champs are a prohibitive favorite to repeat with all that talent on the field. Will there be an upset? We’re not saying, but this could be a good one.
2016 Result: Did not play
Liberty-Eylau at Gilmer
This game was a shootout last year, and expect the same this year. Gilmer is already a favorite to unseat West Orange-Stark as the 4A DII state champs while the Leopards of Liberty-Eylau reload and look to make another playoff run. Gilmer’s Poppy Brown begins his journey at home on the opening Friday night.
2016 Result: Gilmer 61, Liberty Eylau 55
Mineola at Van
Mineola won the 3A DI state championship last season despite losing its first two games. The first was a three-touchdown setback to Van, which made the 4A state quarterfinals. Mineola restocks the cupboard and coaching staff this year and Van takes aim at another deep playoff run.
2016 Result: Van 41, Mineola 21
Terrell at Paris
The Terrell Tigers blanked their East Texas counterpart last season, and it launched them into a 9-3 record and area round playoff appearance. Paris went three rounds deep last year, losing only to very good teams along the way to a 9-4 record. The Paris Wildcats get home field this year.
2016 Result: Terrell 26, Paris 0
Dallas Bishop Lynch at Texarkana Texas
The Texas Tigers went 10-1 last year with a bi-district appearance while Bishop Lynch won the TAPPS Division I state championship. The TAPPS state champs lost to Texas last year, and they’ll drive to the Arkansas state line seeking revenge the first Friday night in September.
2016 Result: Tex. Texas 44, Bishop Lynch 21
Joaquin at Tenaha
Tenaha went 14-1 last year and fell to Bremond in the state quarterfinals for their only loss. The only team to play Tenaha to within two touchdowns in that 14-game stretch was the Joaquin Rams, which returns six starters on each side of the ball. But Tenaha returns 10 on offense and nine on defense. Then again, Joaquin knew how to play Tenaha close last year, and they may be the only team that can put a blemish on Tenaha’s record in regular season.
2016 Result: Tenaha 14, Joaquin 0
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