Want to start a fight, or at least a robust argument? Round up 15 East Texas high school football fans, lock them in a room together and tell them they have one hour to answer one question.

Who’s the best football player to ever suit up in East Texas?

The folks at the Longview News-Journal, Tyler Morning Telegraph and Marshall News Messenger are throwing the first punch, and between now and Christmas Day – with help from our readers – we’re going to answer that question.

This will be a season-long project, with readers voting weekly and eventually narrowing a huge list down to five finalists by the end of the regular season.

Those five finalists will then go head-to-head for five weeks – the playoffs, if you will — and on Christmas Day, we’ll unveil who our readers believe is the GOAT – The Greatest of All Time.

More details will be available later, but for now we need your help getting a list together.

We want every school in our coverage area represented, so look at the list of schools below and send us some names. Don’t assume we remember every great player to come through East Texas. If a player comes to mind – from your school or another school – someone you grew up with or just grew up watching or hearing your dad or granddad talk about, let us know.

Here’s the list of schools included:

Longview, Tyler Lee, Pine Tree, Hallsville, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, John Tyler, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Whitehouse, Jacksonville, Texas High, Sulphur Springs, Liberty-Eylau, Pleasant Grove, Lindale, Kilgore, Carthage, Henderson, Spring Hill, Gilmer, Pittsburg, Brownsboro, Atlanta, Hooks, Mount Vernon, Van, Athens, Palestine, Chapel Hill, Canton, Wills Point, Rusk, Rains, Mineola, Grand Saline, Winnsboro, Quitman, Palestine Westwood, Elkhart, Malakoff, Winona, Alba-Golden, Edgewood, Troup, Arp, Frankston, Cayuga, Alto, Cushing, Garrison, Grapeland, Hughes Springs, Jefferson, Gladewater, Sabine, White Oak, Tatum, West Rusk, Harmony, Daingerfield, New Diana, Elysian Fields, Paul Pewitt, Ore City, Waskom, Big Sandy, Union Grove, Hawkins, Carlisle, Beckville, Harleton, Linden-Kildare, Tenaha, Overton, Union Hill (11-man only), T.K. Gorman, Grace, All Saint and Brook Hill.

KEY DATES

As I write this late on Friday, we’re exactly 10 weeks from the opening night of the 2019 high school football season.

Some other dates to remember:

Sunday, Aug. 5: Release of the 12th annual East Texas High School Football Preseason Dream Team, a list of the top players heading into the 2019 season as selected by the sports staffs of the Longview News-Journal, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Marshall News Messenger, Texarkana Gazette, Kilgore News Herald, Lufkin Daily News and Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel.

Sunday, Aug. 25: Publication of The Zone, the best preseason football magazine in East Texas.

SWITCHING GEARS

For those who think they have a future on the diamond instead of the gridiron, head to Marshall on Thursday and see if you can open some eyes at a tryout camp for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The camp, for ages 16-21, will take place at East Texas Baptist University’s Woods Field and will be conducted by Tampa scout Pat Murphy under the direction of Hallsville high school head baseball coach and Tampa scout Scott Mitchell.

Registration will start at 8:30 a.m., with workout to follow at 9 a.m.

Players will be evaluated on running, throwing, fielding and hitting. The Rays will provide all equipment, with the exception of gloves, spikes and catching gear.

For information, call Mitchell at (903) 424-8448.

Email: jstallard@news-journal.com; Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports