The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Presidential election is of course, top of mind for most. Running on the Republican ticket is Donald J. Trump/Mike Pence and the Democratic ticket is Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine. Also running are Libertarians Gary Johnson/William Weld and Green Party candidates Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka.
United States Representative, Dist. 5 comes down to Republican Jeb Hensarling and Libertarian Ken Ashby.
Railroad Commissioner candidates are Republican Wayne Christian, Democrat Grady Yarbrough, Libertarian Mark Miller and Green Party candidate Martina Salinas.
There are several Justices of the Supreme Court elections. In the running for Place 3, is Republican Debra Lehrmann, Democrat Mike Westergren, Libertarian Kathie Glass, and Green Party candidate Rodolfo Rivera Munoz. Place 5 candidates are Republican Paul Green, Democrat Dori Contreras Garza, Libertarian Tom Oxford and Green Party candidate Charles Waterbury. For Place 9, the candidates are Republican Eva Guzman, Democrat Savannah Robinson, Libertarian Don Fulton and Green Party candidate Jim Chisholm.
Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 2 candidates are Republican Mary Lou Keel, Democrat Lawrence “Larry” Meyers, Libertarian Mark Ash and Green Party candidate Adam King Blackwell Reposa. Place 5 candidates are Republican Scott Walker, Democrat Betsy Johnson, Libertarian William Bryan Strange III and Green Party candidate Judith Sanders-Castro. Place 6 candidates are Republican Michael E. Keasler, Democrat Robert Burns and Libertarian Mark W. Bennett.
State Board of Education, District 9 candidates are Republican Keven M. Ellis, Democrat Amanda M. Rudolph and Libertarian Anastasia Wilford.
Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees candidates are Peggy Dewberry, Stephen Burkhalter, Duana Busch, Michael Kent Monroe and Jerry Spiva. Voters may choose up to three of the candidates.
Crossroads ISD Board of Trustee candidates are Shelly Robertson, Darren Himes, William “Russell” Giles, Jr., Dustin Cook, Kevin Hazelip and Shane Stanfield. Voters may choose three candidates
The City of Caney City has a bond election for $191,000 tax bonds for structing and equipping a fire station.
Also on the ballot for some voters in Precincts 1 and 4 is The Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 special election proposition to confirm the creation of the Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 and the levy by the District of a tax not to exceed the rate allowed by the Section 48-e of the Texas Constitution.
See page 3A for polling locations.
Posted by : October 20, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
Posted by : October 13, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–The Eustace Bulldogs lost 49-6 to the third-ranked Malakoff Tigers in Malakoff Sept. 7 at Tiger Stadium.
The Tiger’s offense was on a roll Friday night, dishing out 300 yards of total offense in the first half alone, while the Bulldogs were held to just 173 all game. The Tiger’s record raises to 6-0 and 3-0 in district 9-3A alone.
Malakoff quarterback Judd Miller was accurate all night, completing 15 of his 18 passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns. He added 57 yards rushing and one touchdown on the ground.
Tigers running back Breashawn Williams led the game in rushing with 130 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, including a 95-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Scoring got underway quickly, as Malakoff reached the endzone on the first drive of the game when Miller found QT Barker for an 8-yard pass. After the failed two-point conversion, Malakoff led 6-0.
The Bulldogs started to get an offensive drive going to fight back, but a pass was picked off by the Tigers to force the interception and turnover. The Tigers used that turnover to score again, this time on a 26-yard run by Miller. The two-point conversion was good and the Tigers led 14-0.
Eustace scored its lone touchdown of the night next, capped off by a 32-yard pass from Alejandro Sanchez to Clifton Johnson on a fourth down play to make the game 14-6 at the 10:50 mark in the second quarter.
The Tigers were not phased. Miller answered back with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Barker to take the 20-6 lead. The PAT was no good.
From this point on it was all Malakoff. Tiger touchdowns in the first half include a 20-yard Miller pass to Russell and a 6-yard Williams run.
Barker finished the game with six catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and Russell had five catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs used three quarterbacks in Shanchez’s first game back returning from an injury.
Cameron Rogers was the leading runner for the Bulldogs with 23 carries for 89 yards.
Posted by : September 22, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
TYLER–The No. 4-ranked Malakoff Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season with a 46-14 victory over the Tyler Grace Community Cougars Friday at Tiger Stadium.
QT Barker had a highlight-reel 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the game to bring the Tigers into a tie 7-7. In the second quarter the Tigers took the lead for good when Judd Miller found Tyler Russell for a seven-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion gave Malakoff the 15-7 lead.
JaQuaylon Hart helped the cause on defense, running back a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 22-7 lead. The final Tigers touchdown in the first half was another pass from Miller to Russell for a 9-yard strike. Malakoff led 29-7 at the break.
After halftime, the Tigers just kept bringing it to Tyler Grace. Barker got things going again with a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, followed by a PAT by Everardo Garcia to make the score 36-7.
Garcia booted a 28-yard field goal to build the lead to 39-7. Grace answered by their final touchdown of the night to make the score 39-14 in the fourth quarter.
RJ Carr scored the final touchdown on the night with a 86-yard run to bring the score to the 46-14 final.
The Tigers are back in action Sept. 23 in the District 9-3A opener against the Whitney Wildcats at Tiger Stadium.
Posted by : September 22, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff ISD School Board authorized the superintendent to negotiate funding terms to move forward on a plan to save the district thousands of dollars annually on its energy needs.
A representative from Ideal Impact presented a four-year partnership with the district to optimize all its energy systems, install unique software and act as a consultant to conserve energy and dollars. Ideal Impact views what it does as a ministry which has been returning massive amounts of funds back to schools and universities for the past eight years.
The partnership guarantees a return of savings above the cost of service. The board agreed to finance the $204,000 for four years of the partnership to save approximately $73,000 a year, a 28 percent reduction on energy expenditures.
Trustees learned there would be no other costs to upgrade or replace equipment, and that the program was not simply a light bulb exchange program. “Actually there’s very little savings opportunity in lighting, though a lighting team will be making recommendations,” the representative said.
A team from Ideal Impact conducted their own energy analysis of the district’s systems at its own cost, over 10 days, before giving the board its estimate of what it would require to deliver savings — $55,455.10, annually. “This is a good faith agreement among men of good will. After all is done to weatherize equipment, optimize controls for energy conservation and comfort, Ideal Impact trains any and all willing to learn how to maintain and monitor the efficiency of the system and documents everything in simple terms, so in the years ahead others can continue to realize the energy savings.
It also acts as a consultant on energy matters; including how to measure how much energy any given event might require for expense considerations, negotiating with energy suppliers for the best price and plans to expand or shrink facilities for the remainder of the four years. “Our goal is for the project to be self-sustaining,” the representative said.
“They’re offering to help us help ourselves,” Superintendent Randy Perry said.
Monthly comparisons on energy savings will include necessary adjustments to compare apples to apples, using 2016 as a base year. “Every month you’ll get a report off every meter,” the representative said. “The sooner we start the sooner the district can realize the savings. There should be between $6,000 and $7,500 savings right away. But it’s up to you when to start,” the representative said. “However, I suggest you start before the peak energy months (December, January, February) because these would set a new high demand baseline that would be applied to your billing for the next 12 months,” she said.
“If we don’t do this, we’re going to have to look elsewhere to save money,” Perry said. “For the long term, it’s the smart thing to do. When I’m gone and you’re gone, the district will still be saving money.”
Trustees agreed with Perry’s recommendation that they not use the district’s fund balance for the partnership but rather seek funding through a maintenance note coming from Maintenance and Operation funds. Preliminary research had found such a note at 3.5 percent from Government Capital. Perry said he would negotiate a rate of 3.25 or better for the partnership.
In other business, trustees:
• heard enrollment was at 1,344.
• heard teachers had until Oct. 4 to submit grant applications to the Malakoff Education Foundation.
• heard The Homecoming Parade was set for Tuesday, Oct. 11 and a tailgate celebration at Brookshire’s in Malakoff from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• heard Sen. Robert Nichols would meet with area superintendents regarding his fight against school vouchers on Oct. 12 in Athens.
• set homecoming for Friday, Oct. 14.
• noted Academic Designations at several of the campuses.
Posted by : September 15, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff City Council adopted its 2017 budget and tax rate Monday. The $1,853,000 budget includes adding staff and pay raises, an $87,000 bond payment and increases in the fire and police departments. The council approved a penny increase in the tax rate from 48 cents to 49 cents per $100 property value. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Commenting on the budget, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble said, “We’ve given our employees all the tools they need to get the job done.”
During the same meeting, council members unanimously approved a monetary gift for city employees of $250 each. No reason was given.
Two members of the Malakoff Economic Development Corp, Kasey Jamison and Vincent Bailey Jr. were reappointed for another two-year term. million budget.
During a public hearing on the budget and tax rate, David Hennessee pointed out that the ditch cleaning operations on Martin Street, where he lives has not been effective as now there is standing water where it has not been before, even washing back under the street and power pole. “The water is not flowing as it should,” he said.
City employee Tim Whitley answered that a water study is now underway by engineers to determine how best to correct the issue. Once done, the Texas Department of Transportation is to be brought in to help correct it.
Hennessee also noted that the administration line item went up quite a bit, to which City Administrator Ann Barker said that more personnel was being added.
Another resident asked that a street light be installed on North Lincoln, to which she was answered one is being ordered from TXU and that the paperwork had been sent in.
Also on the agenda were closed sessions with three employees, individually for evaluation; and a session with the city attorney regarding pending litigation touching on the fire department, and non-emergency calls being directed to the Malakoff Police Department.
Posted by : September 8, 2016| On :
By Delanda S. Johnson
Special to the News
MALAKOFF–On Aug. 28, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church celebrated its 119 years of existence.
Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1897 in the Cedar Creek bottoms,under a brush arbor on Abe Johnson’s Farm.
Johnson Chapel has gone through many trials and tribulations, but with the courage and strength of its members, descendants of Bro. Abe Johnson, and the local community, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church stands strong in the 21st century.
The program moved forward with Evangelist Alma Berry opening service along with Sis. Delanda S. Johnson interacting with the congregation with songs of praise and worship.
Bro. Gilbert Smith welcomed everyone to Johnson Chapel, “the friendly church where everybody is somebody and Christ is ALL.”
Rev. Rickey Barnes, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Malakoff and who is also a fourth generation descendant of Abe Johnson, spoke on behalf of the Johnson family. “We are honored to be here once again at this Annual Homecoming service to remember the past and to help keep the future of Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church alive and well.”
Rev. Linda Ross, Pastor of Johnson Chapel introduced the speaker; who was none other that the former Pastor of Johnson Chapel, Rev. I. B. Wells, Jr.
Rev. Wells is currently the Pastor of Stearne Chapel A. M. E. church in Bryan, Texas.
Rev. Wells graduated from Brownwood High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Tarleton State University. He is an educator certified to teach History and Physical Education. He has won Area, District and Regional championships and in 2014 he coached the Calvert Lady Trojans to play for the State title in basketball and became the State Championship runner-up. He was also selected as Brazos Valley Coach of the Year in 2013-2014.
Even though he loves coaching sports, he loves being a coach for God, winning souls on the battlefield of life. Spreading the gospel and leading people to Christ is what he is passionate about, praying for the sick, offering counseling to adults and students hoping to make a difference in the lives of God’s people.
Sis. Cydnei Wells performed a strong and spiritual praise dance before her father preached.
Rev. Wells acknowledged that he was happy to be back home (Johnson Chapel) and in the Malakoff community. “When I was Pastor here at Johnson Chapel, the Malakoff community supported me. Even when I was coaching at Calvert and we were playing for the State Championship, the Malakoff community supported me by watching the game on television. Also now that my Oakwood team comes to Trinidad and beats them, the Malakoff community supports me,” said Rev. Wells.
The service moved on with Rev. Wells giving his sermon, “Wake-up You Sleepy Head,” coming from Genesis 28:10-22.
Rev. Wells said that sometimes we feel that we are all alone, but as a child of God we must know that God is everywhere. He will never leave you nor forsake you; God will be with you know matter what.
“Ask yourself, how many times have you felt stressed out? How many times have you felt tired of running? How many times have you felt depressed? How many times have you just gone back and forth trying to find peace? You must know that God is there through all of your situations. He is the way out of no way. He is the Prince of Peace. All you need to do is turn everything over to the Lord,” said Rev. Wells.
Rev. Wells said that everything that God gives to you is holy and you must know that God will walk with you no matter what. “God will never turn His back on you. He shows grace and mercy on you each and everyday. So, “Wake-up You Sleepy Heads” and know that Jesus died to set us free from all sins. He is our salvation and He has all power in His hands,” said Rev. Wells.
After a soul stirring sermon, the Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr. award was presented. This award was started by Rev. Bill Burton, former Pastor of Johnson Chapel in honor of the late Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr., who was also a former Pastor of Johnson Chapel and Presiding Elder of the Northeast Texas Conference (known now as North Texas Conference).
This award represents the faithfulness and helpfulness that the person gives to the community and to Johnson Chapel.
This year’s winner was Bro. Clyde Bailey. He is a native of Malakoff and a graduate of Malakoff High School. He attended Henderson County Junior College (now known as Trinity Valley Community College).
Bro. Bailey works for Lumia Energy in Henderson and also does carpentry work, where he is a skilled brick layer and deals with concrete.
Bro. Bailey’s Christian walk started at Johnson Chapel A. M. E. Church. However he is now a member of Antioch Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the Trustee Board. Even though Bro. Bailey is no longer a member of Johnson Chapel, he gives his time and service whenever there is a need.
It is said that he is a man of the community, who gives a helping hand.
Posted by : August 18, 2016| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF-The Malakoff Lady Tigers emerged victorious in three sets over cross-lake rivals Eustace Lady Bulldogs in a Aug. 16 matchup in Malakoff.
The clean sweep by Malakoff was the only meeting of the two teams this season. The Lady Tigers won by scores of 25-19, 25-22 and 25-23.
In sub-varsity action, the Eustace freshman defeated Malakoff in two sets, 25-18, 25-15; and the Malakoff JV won in three sets, 25-23, 22-25 and 15-10.
Eustace jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game one before extending it to 11-8. The Lady Tigers fought back to take the lead 20-18 before securing the victory 25-23.
Malakoff never trailed in game two, jumping out to a 4-1 to begin the set. Eustace eventually tied it up 7-7, but the Lady Tigers reclaimed the lead and never surrendered it. Malakoff went up 15-12 before advancing the lead to 18-15, then 22-19. They won game two 25-22.
After the hard fought game both teams set their sights on the Eustace tournament this weekend. The Lady Bulldogs’ first game is August 18 at 8 a.m. against Blooming Grove. The loss drops Eustace’s record to 4-4.
The Lady Tigers open play in the Eustace tournament at 3 p.m. against Quinlan Boles. The win over Eustace gave Malakoff its first win of the season.
Posted by : August 18, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff School board adopted a tax rate equal to the same one it adopted last year, totaling $1.20 per $100 worth of taxable property value. The new budget was also adopted Aug. 15 based on 1,308 students attending or about $13,015 per student totaling a budget of $17,024.101. Currently, 1,311 students are enrolled, with more expected in kindergarten.
A little more than two million dollars will service the district’s debt in 2016-17, as it did last year. That’s about $1,546 per student.
However, the majority of the funding per student will go toward instruction and instructional support, about $6,940 per student. District operations will absorb $2,037 per student. A total of seven other services and expenses totals $2,161 per student.
Trustees unanimously approved five items including the Student Code of Conduct, insurance for vehicle property and general liability, final budget amendments for 2015-16 school year, naming Smith, Lambright & Associates to audit the 2015-16 finances and a list of principals, assistant principals to appraise teachers’ effectiveness under the new rules.
Trustees also agreed for Henderson County to operate its November 8 school board election. The deadline to file candidacy at the administration building is Monday, Aug. 22.
Three board members are up for re-election. They are Gary Woolverton, Mike Monroe and Jerry Spiva, who has been filling a term vacated by Billy Sparks.
Superintendent Randy Perry presented nine goals for the year. Priority was given to seeing students improve their short answer writing abilities to meet the state’s rubric. He also sees the door of opportunity closing for the district to move toward becoming a District of Innovation. This category would give the district flexibility as do many charter schools. He means to begin the process in September and finish it by March. He also wants to see the district’s Special Education students experience greater success on the STAAR test. “We just have to do whatever we can to help these kids, who work so hard to achieve their maximum potential,” he said.
His goals also include incorporating more collaborations via Google Apps and Docs to host Google classrooms for greater creativity and more efficient and timely adjustments for forward momentum. Perry also wants to see more students considered college ready by the TEA upon graduation. Toward that end, he hopes to have more students taking the college entrance exams and increase parent participation in the college selection process.
Because half of being successful in learning requires being in class, Perry wants the attendance rate to continue at 96 percent or better for the year.
On a celebratory note, Perry said he’s looking forward to marking the second Blue Ribbon campus in the district in as many years, when the announcement becomes official that Tool Elementary School has made the cut.
And finally go on providing a safe and orderly environment for students and staff.
In other business, trustees:
• Set meeting dates for November, December and January to accommodate holidays in those months. The board will meet as follows: Monday, Nov. 14, Monday, Dec. 12 and Thursday, Jan. 19.
• Heard all campuses Met Standard and the Distinguished list was to be released Aug. 26.
• Reviewed Update 105.
• Accepted the SHAC Report.
• Heard Principal and staff reports and gratitude to the board for $50 checks each teacher received during this week’s convocation.
• Considered future agenda item to repair sidewalk by the athletic entrance.
• Noted rock was delivered by Precinct 1 County Commissioner Scotty Thomas and spread in the driveway to the Agricultural Barn.
Posted by : August 11, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–More than 100 souls came out for a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Jeb Hensarling Aug.3 at the Senior Center in Athens. Each audience member who wanted to comment or ask a question was given two minutes to present, after which the 5th District Congressman from Texas responded.
The meeting was prefaced with a prayer by local minister Mark Hall, who asked God’s forgiveness for America’s departure from its founding principles of truth, morality and justice and asked courage on behalf of local citizens to stand united against tyranny and injustice.
The first question taken asked why so many Republicans in national office talk down about Donald Trump. “Why is he regarded so poorly?”
“I have publicly endorsed him as the Republican nominee for president, even though he wasn’t my first choice,” Hensarling responded. “I don’t know how he would govern, but I do know how Hillary Clinton will, and I vehemently oppose all her major policies. We can’t allow another liberal to be named to the Supreme Court for a generation. Further, I know Mike Pence, well. He’s a true conservative leader of high moral character and integrity. It speaks volumes that Trump named him as his running mate. I have no problem endorsing Trump, but reserve the right to disagree with him from time to time.”
Most of the other questions and comments had similar responses, pointing out that a change in the White House will be able to solve a lot of the issues under discussion. Those included dissolving the Sanctuary City program, birth-right citizenship to children of illegals, entitlement programs that attract illegal immigrants, accepting immigration from enemy countries such as Syria and Iraq and requiring work from welfare recipients.
Commenting on the latest news, Hensarling said Congress would launch a full investigation into the $400 million payment from the administration to Iran and the subsequent return of three Americans being held in Iran. “The paying of ransom for hostages is against U.S. policy and hadn’t been approved by the House,” he said.
Someone asked why Congress and the president were not enforcing the McCarran–Walter Act of 1952, which was enacted over President Truman’s veto. Sponsor Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), in a speech on the Senate floor March 2,1953 defended the legislation with these words:
“I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors. … However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain. The solution of the problems of Europe and Asia will not come through a transplanting of those problems en masse to the United States. … I do not intend to become prophetic, but if the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation’s downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.”
Posted by : August 4, 2016| On :
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.