Game of the Week
Mount Vernon Tigers (1-0) at Linden-Kildare Tigers (1-0), 7:30 pm, L-K's Jack Heatherington Tiger Stadium
A couple of Tigers tangle Friday night in our Week One Game of the Week. Both squads will be looking to move 2-0 on the young season. For the hosts from Linden-Kildare, its already a success following a heart-stopping 35-34 zero week verdict over Hooks. L-K, winners of just one game in 2012, rallied from a 21-point 4th period deficit to equal its victory total from a year ago.
Mount Vernon, Friday night's opponent, was able to hold off Rains, 28-22, in its 2013 debut. These two unlikely combatants have third year commanders with their sights set on improvement.
"Winning the first game of the season is always a good thing because of how much time and energy everyone puts into preparing for it, said Mount Vernon's Mike Alexander, who has a 10-11 overall record in two-plus seasons at the helm.
"I was encouraged the way we faced serious adversity and were able to battle back, take the lead, experience more adversity then maintain the lead for the win."
Third year L-K boss Todd Elliott was elated with his squads furious fourth quarter rally to nip Hooks at the end.
"I was very impressed with the heart and tenacity of our team. We never let up and continued to battle for 48 minutes. We were down 34-13 with 10 minutes to play in the game and found a way to win. Turnovers and penalties have been a point of emphasis for us this week, said Elliott, who is 7-14 in his two-plus seasons in charge.
"Getting your first win is always very important. However, for us it was even more important after last year. We were not very successful with a very young team. The win was important to give our kids a little confidence."
Players to take note of for Mount Vernon's Tigers include quarterback Sam Alston, who completed 10 of 16 for 316 yards and 3 TDs against Rains. Tailback Kris Ables totaled 322 yards in offense last week with 113 coming on the ground and 209 receiving. He also scored a total of three times.
"Mt Vernon is extremely good. We must eliminate turnovers and penalties. Our Defense must play our very best. Offensively we must try to keep the ball out of their high-powered offense's hands. Our kicking game has to step up and have a much better showing," offered Elliott.
The L-K Tigers counter with talented tailback Airon Brooks, who last week racked up 122 yards on 11 totes for a eye-popping 11.1 clip. Quarterback Curt Wells completed 9 of 14 passes for 92 yards with 2 TDs and one pick. The Tigers top pass catcher was Jordan Craver and J.J. Darty with three grabs each.
"Linden-Kildare is very athletic and playing with a lot of confidence after last week's comeback victory. It does not take long to look at the video and see a much-improved team from last season. I believe this is going to be a very good game. The keys to victory - win the turnover battle and special teams," said Alexander.
GEORGE'S PICK: Mount Vernon by 10
New Diana Eagles (1-0) vs. Harleton Wildcats (1-0), 7:00 pm, Lobo Stadium, Longview (Saturday)
If this game is anything like last season's opener, fans will be on the edge of their seats all night. New Diana ushered in the Brett Ratliff era with a last-second 17-15 win over Harleton in this neutral field contest. The Eagles got a 27-yard field goal off the toe of Sam King to prevail.
Both squads found the win column in zero week openers. New Diana surprised some folk with a 13-12 mild upset of Jefferson. It was a Garrett Barton 24-yard TD toss to Jobie Ainsworth that lifted the Eagles to victory. Harleton, meanwhile, pocketed a 36-25 win over West Rusk.
GEORGE'S PICK: New Diana by 3
Winnsboro Red Raiders (1-0) at Tatum Eagles (1-0), 7:30 pm, Eagle Stadium, Tatum
Tatum kicked off 2013 with a 21-6 win over Arp in last week's Game of the Week. The Eagles are 5th in this week's Old Coach, Class 2A DI rankings. Winnsboro started the season in fine fashion as well. The Red Raiders knocked off Harmony 30-14.
This game should be entertaining if Winnsboro keeps the chains moving on offense. Tatum is apt to score quickly and is very explosive. Slowing the tempo plays heavily into the favor of Winnsboro. The Red Raiders don't usually make many mistakes to beat themselves.
I see this one staying close for about three quarters before the more athletic Eagles pull away.
GEORGE'S PICK: Tatum by 15
Atlanta Rabbits (0-1) at Daingerfield Tigers (0-1), 7:30 pm, Mickey Mayne Stadium, Daingerfield
The Tigers, debuted at No. 3 in last week's Class 2A, DII rankings, were snookered with a safety in a 16-14 setback to Class 3A upstart Gladewater. The Rabbits, meanwhile, were being schooled by Class 3A juggernaut Gilmer 57-7.
One of these squads should get things turned back around and headed in the right direction. My guess is the Daingerfield Tigers will find the potion of recovery much sweeter than will the Atlanta Rabbits.
GEORGE'S PICK: Daingerfield by 21
SAY WHAT GEORGE?
LAST YEAR'S RECORD 36-12, 75%, AGAINST THE LINE 30-18, 63%