Sep

08

Posted by : admin | On : September 8, 2016

STANTON PEARCE

STANTON PEARCE

LAURIE PERRY

LAURIE PERRY

JAMES LITTLEJOHN

JAMES LITTLEJOHN


Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY– In his continuing attack on the drug trade, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse led a team of deputies on a house raid over the Labor Day weekend and arrested three people.
“Even on the holidays, we are on guard,” Hillhouse said. “Henderson County Sheriff’s Office is working hard to get these folks off our streets, just as I promised the people.”
The night of Sept. 3into the early hours of the next morning, Hillhouse and seven of his deputies executed a narcotics search warrant at a Chandler home.
Laurie Perry, 56 of Chandler was arrested for manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, a first degree felony carrying a penalty of up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
Both Stanton Pearce, 54, of Tyler and James Littlejohn, 30, were arrested at a residence on Lovely Drive in the Forest Grove subdivision in Chandler.
Both Pearce and Littlejohn were charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Investigator Brad Beddingflield presented Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd District Court with information that led the search warrant for the arrests.
Hillhouse called upon a team of investigators Beddingfield, Josh Rickman, Ray Yockey, Cayce Hampton, Jeromey Rose, Patrol Sargent Daniel Wright and Deputy Linus Multon to conduct the raid.
“These are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day,” Hillhouse said. “It is too easy to forget that real people, real law enforcement officers, risk everything to keep our community safe and drug free.
“We never know what is behind that door when we approach a home on a raid,” he said. “That is why these deputies deserve our thanks.”

Aug

04

Posted by : admin | On : August 4, 2016

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff
ATHENS–In view of the next two-week weather forecast with high temperatures in the triple digits and no rain in sight, Henderson County Commissioners agreed to post a burn ban as recommended by County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg. Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence opposed the action.
The ban went into effect immediately, Tuesday, Aug. 2 and lasts for the next 28 days unless the court rescinds it due to improved conditions. On Tuesday, Renberg said the average drought conditions in the county scored 624 on the Keetch-Bynum Drought Index, up from 608, last week. According to the long-range forecast, this number is expected to climb to 700 in the next two weeks, on a zero-800 scale. “The number of grassfires in the county are way up,” Renberg pointed out as ground moisture continues to disappear. Athens Fire Chief John McQueary said, the grass fires his unit has extinguished would not have been prevented by a burn ban he said. “However, any small spark can start one,” he said.
Renberg noted that the threshold for calling a burn ban is 575. And that a burn ban is always easier to rescind then to initiate.
Commissioners also agreed to a number of interlocal agreements to conduct the the Nov. 8 General Election on behalf of several taxing authorities in the county, including Caney City, Payne Springs, Tool, East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District, Enchanted Oaks and independent school districts in Brownsboro, Larue-Poynor and Murchison. They discussed some of the mechanics involved in a presidential election and the availability of voting equipment. Elections official Denise Hernandez didn’t make it to court that morning due to a collision in the courthouse square between a member of her staff and another vehicle, causing the staffer’s car to flip over three times, while having a 9-year-old daughter on board. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported, Hernandez said following the close of the meeting.
Commissioners agreed to consider an application for tax abatement submitted by Clayton Homes, along with the application fee of $1,000. A workshop is to be set to review various scenarios within the next 21 days, and public hearings to be held on the matter.
Athens Economic Development Executive Director Lisa Denton introduced Rick Groom of Indiana representing Clayton Homes to the court. His company has purchased a property formerly held by Champion Homes and plans to manufacture model homes. Groom, who will oversee operations, said the company plans to hire around 250 employees by the beginning of 2017. He added the base pay is targeted at $600 per week. The property was purchased last October and the production facility is 70 percent completed to begin manufacture operations in October.
Denton remarked that the City of Athens has already approved a tax abatement agreement. After the meeting, Commissioner Lawrence told The News that since its purchase by Clayton, the property has increased in value, more than doubling the tax assessments for the school district and Road and Bridge – at least two taxing entities that would be unaffected by the proposed five-year county tax abatement. “The county would get twice the tax money it is currently getting from the property, even with a tax abatement agreement,” Lawrence estimated.
Finally, commissioners approved a preliminary plat for a new residential subdivision along Lake Palestine called Windham Place. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin described the project as being built in two phases with a total of 43 homes on 42 acres. The plat includes a variance request of the 80-foot frontage required by subdivision rules for eight homes located on cul-de-sacs. “This is the first new subdivision in my five and a half years on the court,” Geeslin said. It gave him opportunity to become well acquainted with the county’s subdivision rules. He said the court should expect revisions from him on how the process can be revamped and steam-lined.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney commented that variances on the rules was not unheard of, as the court granted variances in 2011, he said.
In other business, commissioners
• granted right-of-way permits to Oncor for a pole-ing station to serve Gun Barrel City. Right-of-ways were granted along Pecan Road (C.R. 2938) and part of Peachtree Road.
• approved payroll distributions.
• paid bills totaling $238,051.11.

Aug

04

Posted by : admin | On : August 4, 2016

noah bush
malakoff flags
By Ryan Moulds
The News Sports Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–The helmets and pads came out again as Texas high school football teams began two-a-days on August 1. Several local teams around the lake are gearing up for the first game of the season August 26.
Malakoff
The Malakoff Tigers enter the season with more hype than any other team in the area. They are picked to win district 9-3A and are ranked number four in the state. The eight-team district is picked to finish with Malakoff in first place followed by Teague, Groesbeck, West, Palestine Westwood, Elkhart, Whitney and Eustace.
Everything starts with the quarterback for Malakoff. Judd Miller had 3,199 total yards and 46 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore. He returns as a junior with more experience and with two big targets to throw to in QT Barker and Tyler Russell.
Jamie Driskell’s defense will be led by Dan’Yal Littleton, a fierce defensive end who can get after the quarterback. Other standouts on defense are Larry Coker, Zee Bailey, Caleb Adams and Breashawn Williams.
Malakoff has an explosive offensive that has a chance to be even better than they were last year. They have a defense to match up with anyone and should be able to make a deep playoff run. The Tigers have a legitimate shot to hold up a championship trophy at AT&T Stadium at the end of the year.
Malakoff went 10-2 last season and was knocked out of the playoffs by three-time defending State Champion Cameron Yoe by one point. The Tigers finished second in district behind Teague, who beat Malakoff 28-7 in their rain-soaked match-up. Malakoff returns 13 starters and the varsity roster will be bolstered by a JV squad that went 8-2 last season.
“We have to take things one game at a time,” Driskell said. “Having all the pre-season hype is great, but the games are won on the field not on paper, and we have to show up ready to compete every week if we want to accomplish our goal.”
Driskell also said that he hopes for a rematch with Cameron Yoe in the playoffs this season. “The loss still stings,” he said. “I don’t know if it will ever fully go away but if we get another chance I think that things would go differently this time around.”
Athens
The Athens Hornets are in district 8-4A. Athens will be led by Head Coach Paul Essary who is in his eighth year at the helm.
The biggest hump that the Hornets will need to overcome is replacing running back Logan Fuller who had over 6,000 career rushing yards and signed to play at Tyler Junior College. Maalik Hall will split time at running back with Jaqualyon Bowman, and they will try to make up for Fuller’s absence.
Xavius Fulton will make the switch from receiver to quarterback. He will be tasked to replace Brandon Boyd. Athens is hoping to run the pistol on offense this season.
Defensively, linebacker Noah Bush might be the best player for the Hornets. He had 120 tackles last year as a junior and has already been getting attention from division one colleges. Between Bush, Hall, Zach Carson and Taylor Carson, Athens might have the best linebacker core in the district.
The Hornets will have the talent they need to compete on defense. In order to make it into the playoffs in a district with two state ranked teams, they must find what it takes to keep up on offense.
Last season, Athens went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Kennedale. The Hornets finished second in the district behind Kaufman.
“It’s an exciting time for Hornet Nation,” Essary said. “We are working on building a tradition of winning and anything short of the playoffs isn’t acceptable. We lost a lot on offense, but younger guys are going to step up and play hard for us. I think the sky is the limit for our team.”
Cross Roads
The Cross Roads Bobcats will be playing in district 10-2A this season. They are picked to finish last. The six-team district is picked to finish in the order of Big Sandy, Kerens, Gladewater Union Grove, Cayuga, Hawkins and Cross Roads.
The Bobcats are under new leadership this season. Former Skidmore-Tynan assistant coach Michael Gain takes over for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2003.
Despite history not being on their side, it may finally be time for optimism. Cross Roads won three games last season and only has one team on their schedule that finished last year with a winning record. Gain has been working hard with the team and thinks that they have what it takes to have success.
Taylor McKenzie will take over as quarterback for the Bobcats and Tyler Johnson is a proven work horse at the running back position. Johnson was injured halfway through the season last year and hopes to stay healthy to lead Cross Roads to more victories.
If everyone can stay healthy and the players buy what coach Gain is selling them, Cross Roads could sneak into the playoffs in a weak district.
The Bobcats went 3-7 last season and looked strong early on, but they went 0-5 in district play to end the year.
“We have the pieces in place to make the playoffs,” Gain said. “I like what we have on offense and defense, and we are all working hard every day to end the 13-year playoff drought. I want to make every day an adventure, and I want to get better while we have fun working.”
Trinidad
The Trinidad Trojans are picked to finish last in district 15-1A. The four-team district is picked to finish in the order of Milford, Mount Calm, Oakwood and Trinidad. The top two teams make the playoffs.
Trinidad hired a new coach after Scott Hayes announced that he was leaving to take a coaching job at Rice High School June 29. James Massarelli will step in and try to guide the Trojans back to the playoffs.
Massarelli will have one of the most exciting players in the district at his disposal in receiver Jerry Bannister. Colby Snider is a proven quarterback and will make the coaching transition easier.
Other players to watch include Johnny Ayala, Eli Arnold, Talon Sims and Ronald Marcus. The toughest task will be to replace Javonte Hornbuckle and his 18 total touchdowns. No one player will be able to pick up the slack by himself but, collectively, it’s possible.
The district is very top heavy and Trinidad is a very experienced team. The Trojans have the chance to compete and play spoiler. Trinidad finished with a 3-7 record last year and was 0-3 in district.
The high school football season starts on August 26. Malakoff will take on Bullard at home, Athens will be on the road at Mexia, Cross Roads will take on Frost and Trinidad will play Campbell.
The News will release its fall sports preview August 25. It will have information on all the local football, volleyball and cross country teams.

Aug

04

Posted by : admin | On : August 4, 2016

Bailey Hefley
James Nelson Jr.
Jefferson Daugherty
Joe St. Clair
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested four people July 28 for various crimes, including illegal drug possession, outstanding warrants and evading arrest.
According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, investigators arrested a 26-year-old Malakoff man at his home on Royall Blvd., where he was allegedly growing marijuana. “I’m proud of my team,” Hillhouse said. “A citizen complained about possible drug activity at a residence. Investigators Brad Beddingfield, Kay Langford and Josh Rickman followed up on that complaint and found Joe Eldon St. Clair to be in possession of marijuana.”
In a separate case, investigators Beddingfield, Langford and Rickman attempted to stop a vehicle in the Cherokee Shores subdivision. After a pursuit, they arrested two suspects. Bailey Marie Hefley, 26, of Gun Barrel City was arrested for evading arrest with a vehicle. Mabank resident James Noel Nelson, Jr., 30, was arrested for outstanding warrants for assault causing bodily injury.
After a traffic stop on Henderson County Road 2514, Patrol Sergeant Daniel Wright arrested Jefferson Daugherty for outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled substance, parole violation, bail jumping and misdemeanor theft.
“We search homes, stop vehicles, follow up on tips and confront suspects about illegal drugs every day and will continue to do so,” Sheriff Hillhouse said.

Jul

28

Posted by : admin | On : July 28, 2016

By Emmalee Doss
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–The Henderson County Commissioners Court met to determine whether a burn ban needed to be in effect, pay bills and accept the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission in honor of the Henderson County Historical Commission.
Much discussion passed as to how the upcoming rain would reduce the number of fires and whether it was time to put a burn ban into effect. Fire Marshal Shane Renberg made clear that there has not been a burn ban in effect up until this point, and the burn ban will be reconsidered at the next meeting if dry conditions continue.
The Commissioners Court accepted the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission in honor of the hard work of the Henderson County Historical Commission. The certificate awarded stated that the award was “in recognition of the county’s active and balanced preservation program.” Special thanks went to Sarah Jane, Betty Hallwell, Ivy Joe and everyone involved.
Commissioners agreed to pay the $137,601.97 in state fees and $159,818.57 for regular bills. There was speculation as to whether or not they were going through the budget faster than expected due to the state policy change regarding the addition of mental health care not budgeted in the medical budget.
The commissioners voted to approve a contract between the Department of State Health Services and the Henderson County Clerk’s Office regarding birth certificates.

Jul

28

Posted by : admin | On : July 28, 2016

mug shot
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–On Saturday, July 23, at approximately 8:25 a.m., the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a witness reporting there was a man near FM 315 outside of Chandler who had been held at gunpoint and was being beaten. The caller said that the suspect then tied the victim’s hands and feet together with a rope, threw him in the bed of a tan colored Ford pickup and drove away.
HCSO Sergeant Thomas Goodell and Deputies Tell Walker and Ray Yockey responded to the call. Deputies located the victim at his residence. The victim showed signs of having been assaulted and was bleeding. The victim, 54-year-old Dwayne Welch, told deputies that he was asleep in his tent. He said that the next thing he knew, he was thrown out on CR 4307 a mile or two from his residence. Welch suffered cuts and abrasions to his head, along with other contusions and bruises on his body. Welch was transported to East Texas Medical Center in Athens where he was treated and released.
Deputies searched the area for a truck matching the description given by the witness. Sergeant Goodell noticed a vehicle matching the description parked at a residence located near the end of CR 4307. Sgt. Goodell observed evidence indicating that the bed of the pickup truck had been recently washed. Goodell also observed what appeared to be traces of blood in the bed of the pickup.
Sgt. Goodell made contact with Derrick Cofer at the residence. Cofer admitted to striking the victim with a shotgun, assaulting him, binding him and transporting him against his will. Cofer said that he thought Welch had something to do with Cofer’s wallet going missing earlier in the morning.
Derrick Cofer was placed under arrest and booked into the Henderson County Justice Center on the offense of Aggravated Kidnapping, a First Degree Felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Judge Kevin Pollack who set bond at $5,000. Cofer posted bond and was released.

Jul

21

Posted by : admin | On : July 21, 2016

jannell dunnington pic
News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jannell Dunnington retired July 15 after serving the department for more than 21 years. She began her career with the department as a detention officer.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said, “She has been an outstanding deputy and helped and touched many people throughout her career here. She will be missed by so many. Once again, thank you Deputy Jannell Dunnington for your outstanding and dedicated service to Henderson County.”

Jul

07

Posted by : admin | On : July 7, 2016

The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY — The community mourns the passing of a nine-year-old girl after a boating accident ends in tragedy on the Fourth of July weekend.
Cierra Morman was boating with her family at about 7:15 p.m. July 1 near Malakoff, feeding rope to an inner tube, when she was tangled in the rope and fell overboard, striking the rear of the boat near the motor.
The girl’s death sent shockwaves through the community and devastated family and members of the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, for whom her father, Zach Morman, is a five-year member.
There were four adults and four children on board when the accident occurred. Investigators ruled the tragedy was purely an accident and no alcohol was involved. All the children were wearing life vests.
Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Conn said he and his entire department are still in a state of disbelief.
“This is hard. Really hard. We’ve shed a lot of tears and said a lot of prayers. We are going to miss her,” Conn said.
The fire department released a statement on Facebook saying the tragedy brought the “deepest sorrow and pain,” and asked for the support of the community.
Game Warden Mike Hanson said the Zach Morman was driving the pontoon boat at the time of the accident.
“It was purely an accident,” he said “It was a typical family outing turned tragic. These are by far the worst types of accidents. You just can’t explain it.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Malakoff Police Department, and several area volunteer fire departments responded.
A memorial fund was established to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be made directly to Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, or donations can be made online via PayPal. A link to the PayPal account can found on the fire department’s Facebook page.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Morman on July 8. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. at Huckabee-Tomlinson Funeral Home in Seven Points. The funeral will be July 9 at 2 p.m. at Lake View Assembly Of God in Seven Points.

Jul

07

Posted by : admin | On : July 7, 2016

becks chapel
The News Staff Reports
CROSS ROADS–Vandals recently struck Beck’s Chapel Church in the Cross Roads area. The doors appeared to have been kicked in, and several items were vandalized. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office took the report June 22, and the incident seems to have occurred between June 19 and June 22.
The historical church is located at 13960 County Road 1114. Regular services are no longer held at the church. It is only used for special events.
If you have any information about this crime, contact Henderson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-545-8477. Callers will remain anonymous. If your information leads to an arrest, you could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Jul

07

Posted by : admin | On : July 7, 2016

malakoff flags
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE AREA–The newest issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine hit stores June 26 and gave fans a first look at over 1,400 Texas high school football teams.
The magazine had different takes on teams around the area. Three local teams in Kemp, Athens and Malakoff were picked to make the playoffs.
The Mabank Panthers are competing in district 8-4A this season and are picked to finish last. The seven team district is picked to finish in the order of Terrell, Kaufman, Van, Athens, Crandall, Brownsboro and Mabank.
The Panthers still have improvements to make before they can become a playoff team but a 7-2 JV team could mean that things are about to turn around.
Second year coach Mikey Thompson will have strong lines on both sides of the ball. Noel Rojo and Brandon Pierce headline a big offensive line that will protect whoever plays quarterback.
Running the ball against Mabank will be a tough task with defensive lineman Jacob Felts and Kevin Turner returning from last season.
Mabank has a solid foundation to build up from but the skill players are young and inexperienced. If Mabank wants to have success and take steps toward becoming a playoff team, those young players must grow up quickly.
Mabank went 2-7 last season with wins over two playoff teams in Kemp and Canton. The Panthers went winless in district and missed the playoffs.
The Athens Hornets are also in district 8-4A and are picked to finish in fourth place and to secure the final playoff spot in the district. Athens will be led by Head Coach Paul Essary.
The biggest hump that the Hornets will need to overcome is replacing running back Logan Fuller who had over 6,000 career rushing yards and signed to play at Tyler Junior College. Maalik Hall will split time at running back with Jaqualyon Bowman and they will hope to make up for Fuller’s absence.
Xavius Fulton will make the switch from receiver to quarterback. He will be tasked to replace Brandon Boyd. Athens is hoping to run the pistol on offense this season.
Defensively, linebacker Noah Bush might be the best player for the Hornets. He had 120 tackles last year as a junior and has already been getting attention from division one colleges. Between Bush, Hall, Zach Carson and Taylor Carson, Athens might have the best linebacker core in the district.
The Hornets will have the talent they need to compete on defense. In order to make it into the playoffs in a district with two state ranked teams, they must find what it takes to keep up on offense.
Last season, Athens went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Kennedale. The Hornets finished second in the district behind Kaufman.
The Malakoff Tigers enter the season with more hype than any other team in the area. They are picked to win district 9-3A and are ranked number four in the state. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Malakoff, Teague, Groesbeck, West, Palestine Westwood, Elkhart, Whitney and Eustace.
Everything starts with the quarterback for Malakoff. Judd Miller had 3,199 total yards and 46 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore. He returns as a junior with more experience and with two big targets to throw to in QT Barker and Tyler Russell.
Jamie Driskell’s defense will be led by Dan’Yal Littleton, a fierce defensive end who can get after the quarterback. Other standouts on defense are Larry Coker, Zee Bailey, Caleb Adams and Breashawn Williams.
Malakoff has an explosive offensive that has a chance to be even better than they were last year. They have a defense to match up with anyone and should be in the running to make a deep playoff run. The Tigers have a legitimate shot to hold up a championship trophy at AT&T Stadium at the end of the year.
Malakoff went 10-2 last season and was knocked out of the playoffs by three time defending State Champion Cameron Yoe by one point. The Tigers finished second in district behind Teague, who beat Malakoff 28-7 in their rain soaked match-up. Malakoff returns 13 starters and the varsity roster will be bolstered by a JV squad that went 8-2 last season.
The Eustace Bulldogs and coach Heath Ragle find themselves in a tough spot. They are picked to finish last in district 9-3A and have a lot of people to prove wrong. The Bulldogs only return nine starters and have a JV team that went 2-7 last year.
On offense the Bulldogs will have to replace running back Keenan Hargest who did almost everything for the team last year, including playing quarterback.
James East and Cam Rodgers will split carries and take the load off new quarterback Alejandro Sanchez. Under Ragle, the Bulldogs have never been known as a passing team but they are hoping Sanchez’s speed gives them an edge.
Offensive lineman Mikey Marshall missed 2015 with an injury but returns for his senior season to anchor the line.
Defensively, the biggest player for Eustace will be linebacker JJ Hughes, who had 87 tackles last year. The defensive line will be stacked with Michael Schultz and Dylan Hunacker both returning. Stone Wadsworth will roam the secondary and is the most experienced defensive back on the team.
Eustace went 3-7 and 0-5 in district last season and missed out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs only have one district win in the past two seasons.
After nearly a decade of hard times, things are finally looking up for the Kemp Yellowjackets. They will compete in district 6-3A and are picked to finish fourth in the district, grabbing the last playoff spot. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Sunnyvale, Grandview, Dallas Madison, Kemp, Scurry-Rosser, Maypearl, Life Oak Cliff and Palmer.
Third year coach Brandon Hankins has turned the football program around for Kemp. The winless season of 2014 is a distant memory as the Yellowjackets enter this season looking to prove that they belong back in the playoffs.
Kemp returns 17 starters and everything starts with sophomore quarterback Dreyson Watters. Watters was the District Newcomer of the Year last season when he ran for 2,500 yards and threw for 1,950 more as a freshman. He had 28 total touchdowns.
Watters won’t be short on targets to throw to either. Receivers Elijah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington and Alec Cooper all return for their senior seasons. Running back Alan Quezada ran for 750 yards and six touchdowns in a back-up role last year. Kemp will lean on him as the starter this year. Tyler Garrett, Kasey Cockrell and Joseph Lopez all return on the offensive line.
The biggest question mark on defense is linebacker. All three of Kemp’s linebackers graduated leaving a huge void. Sophomore Boomer Irvin will step in from a JV team that went 8-2 last year to help make up for the loss.
Passing against the Yellowjackets will be a risk with a secondary led by safety Kane Johnson. Corner back Jaise Bowie started as a freshman and will look to improve in his second season.
Kemp finished with a 4-7 record last season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and lost to Kirbyville in the first round of the playoffs.
The Cross Roads Bobcats will be playing in district 10-2A this season. They are picked to finish last. The six team district is picked to finish in the order of Big Sandy, Kerens, Gladewater Union Grove, Cayuga, Hawkins and Cross Roads.
The Bobcats are under new leadership this season. Former Skidmore-Tynan assistant coach Michael Gain takes over for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2003.
Despite history not being on their side, it may finally be time for optimism. Cross Roads won three games last season and only has one team on their schedule that finished last year with a winning record. Gain has been working hard with the team and thinks that they have what it takes to have success.
Taylor McKenzie will take over as quarterback for the Bobcats and Tyler Johnson is a proven work horse at the running back position. Johnson was injured halfway through the season last year and will hope to stay healthy to lead Cross Roads to more victories.
If everyone can stay healthy and the players buy in what coach Gain is selling them, Cross Roads could sneak into the playoffs in a weak district.
The Bobcats went 3-7 last season and looked strong early on but they went 0-5 in district play to end the year.
The Trinidad Trojans are picked to finish last in district 15-1A. The four team district is picked to finish in the order of Milford, Mount Calm, Oakwood and Trinidad. The top two teams make the playoffs.
Trinidad is looking for a new coach after Scott Hayes announced that he was leaving to take a coaching job at Rice High School June 29.
Whoever the new coach is will have one of the most exciting players in the district at their disposal in Jerry Bannister. Colby Snider is a proven quarterback and will make the coaching transition easier.
Other players to watch include Johnny Ayala,Eli Arnold, Talon Sims and Ronald Marcus. The toughest task will be to replace Javonte Hornbuckle and his 18 total touchdowns. No one player will be able to pick up the slack by himself but collectively it’s possible.
The district is very top heavy and Trinidad is a very experienced team. The Trojans have the chance to compete and play spoiler. Trinidad finished with a 3-7 record last year and was 0-3 in district.
The Athens Christian Prep Storm will be playing in TAPPS Division II District Four. They are picked to finish second. The five team district is picked to finish in the order of Longview Trinity, Athens Christian Prep, Greenville Christian, Longview Christian and Henderson Full Armor.
Coach Shawn San Miguel admitted that the team has a series of question marks this season. Younger players will have to step up if they want a winning record and a return to the playoffs.
Quarterback Zay Ridgle returns this season after putting up record numbers last year. Other returning players include Micah Santelli, Eli Ridgle, Gavin Hardin, Kaenan Nix and Cody Hershey.
Athens Christian Prep finished with a 6-5 record last season. They went 1-3 in district but it was enough to make the playoffs. They lost in the first round to end their season.