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Wildcats, Jackets try to hold the fort Friday night

By TYLER CLIFTON tclifton@marshallnewsmessenger.com
Oct. 3, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Waskom and Elysian Fields are both hosting their second District 9-2A Division II games of the season on Friday night, and although their situations are a bit different, their ultimate goal is the same when it comes to securing a victory in their crowded eight-team group.

The Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) entered district play with an undefeated record for the second time in as many years, but they've lost 19 straight district games. Their last victory in loop play was Oct. 24, 2008 at Beckville, and their last at home was three weeks earlier against West Sabine.

Paul Pewitt (0-4, 0-1) comes to town without a win after last week's tough 38-34 loss to DeKalb. The Brahmas did play a tough non-district schedule with games at Liberty-Eylau and Arp along with a meeting with Jefferson, and they continue to use their signature running game.

"I'm not going to say it's a must-win game, but pulling one out would help us convincingly," Waskom's Whitney Keeling said. "I think we've had some good days of practice, and we're up against some big linemen and a talented running back who takes advantage of the holes they give him."

The team which establishes its running game the best will be the one to even its district record. It's certainly Paul Pewitt's trademark, and the Brahmas have attempted three passes in four games according to Keeling.

Waskom's boss is also quick to point out how and why his team fell on the short end of the stick in last week's 30-20 loss at New Diana, and it wasn't offense or defense.

"Special teams play is what killed us last week, not them stopping us," said Keeling, whose team racked up 500 yards of offense to 209 for the Eagles. "We had three mistakes on special teams on a kickoff return, a fumble into the end zone for a touchdown and a play where we snapped the ball over the punter's head for a touchdown. You don't win very many games playing like this."

Waskom is led by two-way threat Kevin Johnson and has a talented offense consisting of William "Boo" McKnight, Denzel Hughes, Brandon Edel and Junebug Johnson among others as well as a defense with the likes of Nigel Brown, Justin Spurlin, Chan Amie and Damarcus Mitchell just to name a few.

Elysian Fields (2-2, 1-0) bounced back from a pair of tough non-district losses to win the first which really counted last week in a big way. The 46-0 shutout at Linden-Kildare sets the stage for Friday night's Homecoming Game against Ore City (0-4, 0-1).

The Yellow Jackets held L-K to 55 yards last week, where free safety Christian Smith and linebacker Tanner Norman were singled out for their play last week.

The Rebels have given up at least 46 points in their last three games, including two straight against the district's top two teams according to preseason picks in Hughes Springs and EF. They're led by junior quarterback Kenyon Whetstone.

Head coach Eric King talked about bringing the traditional Black Shirts out but changed his mind.

"We're going to wait, because we still have a problem of playing for one quarter and having a lull the next," King said. "I'm very proud of the way we played Friday, as Christian played lights out with his pass coverage and was striking people. Tanner did a great job with his 14 tackles at Mike linebacker, but I need to see some more consistency from our guys on both sides."

The offense certainly didn't disappoint, with Tanner Davis rushing past the century mark and Colby Simmons adding between 50 and 60 yards on the ground. Trevor Spear continues to emerge after the equivalent of a full season behind center.

King is crossing his fingers his kids will stay focused due to all of the week's festivities.

"Homecoming is always a distraction, and no coach in America enjoys it," King said. "It's nice to see everybody back in town, but we want our kids to focus on the job at hand of winning."

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