Tonight, Hallsville’s Nolan Sirmons will play his first home game of his final high school football career.

“I only get to do it one more year, so I’ve got to put on a show for everybody in the community,” Sirmons said. “It means a lot knowing you have people behind you, supporting you.”

Sirmons and his Bobcats are 1-0 after defeating the Terrell Tigers on the road in last week’s season opener. This week, they’re playing host to the Kilgore Bulldogs.

“They’re going to be big and fast,” Sirmons said of the Bulldogs. “They’re going to come off the ball and hit you in the mouth, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.”

Hallsville athletic director and head football coach Joe Drennon agrees, saying the Bobcats will have to win the battle in the trenches in order come with a 2-0 start to the season.

“We’ve got to control them up front,” Drennon said. “Somehow, some way, we’ve got to control the front offensively and defensively. If we can find a way to do that, we’ve got a chance to win the football game. They’re big up front on both sides of the ball. They’ve obviously got speed. We’re going to have to be perfect in our special teams stuff. We can’t make mistakes like we did last week but ultimately, we’re going to have to find a way to control the line.”

Sirmons knows it will also take the part of all 11 players on the field, which includes him at fullback but the senior has high expectations, not just for tonight but the whole season.

“Win ballgames,” he said when asked what his expectation is of the season. “That’s really what hit comes down to – get these young guys rolling.”

Last week in his team’s 33-21 win, Sirmons, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass, hopes to lead on and off the field.

“I like to lead by example,” he said. “As long as I can get these guys to follow, then I guess I’m off on the right foot.”

One way he has led by example is by switching positions.

“I’m an H-back,” he said. “I got moved here the beginning of last year. Before that I mainly played defense. It was different learning the offense but it’s been a pretty good transition so far.”

“These kids here have adjusted well to be honest with you, with what we’ve asked them to do,” Drennon added. “There’s not been any of this, ‘Well, I’ve played this for the last two or three years.’ It’s been more, ‘Hey, what do you need me to do?’ And that’s been real good for us so far. Anytime you’re a coach talking to a coach and you say, ‘Hey, I need you over here,’ and they say, ‘Yes sir,’ that’s a good feeling.”

“As somebody who came out here every day ready to work, didn’t goof off, didn’t do anything they weren’t supposed to be doing,” Sirmons said when asked how he hopes to be remembered by his teammates, adding he has learned a lot from the game of football.

“You’ve got to work for what you want. Nothing’s handed to you. You’ve got to come every day ready to take it.”

After high school, Sirmons hopes to play ball at the next level.

“Hopefully some college ball,” he said. “We’ll see. I haven’t really decided what I want to do yet. I’ve just got to play it by ear.”

Drennon is confident that will happen.

“Nolan is a great kid and a good leader,” Drennon said. “He practices hard. He plays hard. He’s a skill kid. He’s two or three offers already. So he’s a kid who, through his work ethic and some God-given ability, he’s going to get to play at the next level. He’s a fun kid to coach. In my opinion, he’s a great kid.”

“I want to major in business and I want a degree in animal science as well,” Sirmons added. “My aunt’s a vet. She owns a livestock veterinarian clinic and that’s something I’ve kind of looked into a little bit.”

In the meantime, however, Sirmons has plenty of football to play and tonight, his Bobcats are taking on the Bulldogs. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 at Bobcat Stadium in Hallsville.