There aren’t many football teams in Texas left practicing this week but the Waskom Wildcats are one of them. However, Waskom athletic director and head football coach Whitney Keeling said today, Thanksgiving Day, his squad is taking the day off from practice.

“We kind of have a routine during our Thanksgiving break,” Keeling said. “We practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday day we’re going to do all of our practice, walk-through, everything kind of combined. I know a lot of football teams bring their kids up on Thanksgiving. I’m not going to do that. I feel like that’s their opportunity to be with their family and enjoy their time off. We make sure we practice everything on Wednesday so that they can enjoy their Thanksgiving.”

The 11-1 Wildcats will enter the third round of the playoffs as they go up against the 10-1 Newton Eagles.

So far this season, the Wildcats have rushed for 4,807 yards and 80 touchdowns. They’re averaging 437 rushing yards per game. DJ Feaster has 62 carries for 1,104 yards and 18 touchdowns. Tesean Hamilton has 84 carries for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Cole Watson has rushed 96 times for 1,021 yards and 24 touchdowns. Passing-wise, Watson has thrown every completion for the Wildcats this season as he is currently 40-of-69 for 835 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. Carson Gonzalez leads the receiving squad with 14 catches for 369 yards and five touchdowns. Jayvis Jones has seven catches for 165 yards and four touchdowns while Feaster has caught nine passes for 148 yards and two scores.

Friday’s regional matchup will mark the fourth time Waskom and Newton have gone head-to-head in the postseason in recent years and Keeling is well aware that the Eagles will be anything but easy to defeat.

“Against Newton, we’ve got to make sure we’re lined up correctly and our players make plays,” Keeling offered. “That’s basically what it comes down to. You don’t have a lot of time to game plan for somebody like that. They don’t have a lot of time to game plan for somebody like us. So you’ve got to make sure that you get your guys lined up correctly and our players have to be better than their players.”

Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Nacogdoches High School’s Dragon Stadium.

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