Whitehouse at Hallsville
Where: Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
2012 Records: Whitehouse 10-2; Hallsville 7-4
2012 Result: Whitehouse 35, Hallsville 18
About Whitehouse: The Wildcats are ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by the Associated Press and Texas Football in their preseason rankings. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a Texas Tech pledge, had his breakout performance in this game last year on the way to passing for 3,839 yards and 46 touchdowns on the season. His leading receiver is expected to be fellow senior Jake Parker, who had a monster game in last week's scrimmage against Mount Pleasant — four long-range touchdowns. The Wildcats defense is expected to produce some big hits this season, including a secondary that features Nate Brooks, Isaiah Burton and blue-chip junior Justin Dunning.
About Hallsville: The Bobcats are blessed with experience on offense with the return of eight starters. The list includes quarterback Macailyn Wilder, who produced 862 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground in only five starts last year. Wide receiver Andre Jones caught 49 passes for 692 yards and two scores last year. The defense brought back five starts including linebacker Tyler Martinez and defensive back Dewayne Johnson, among others.
Next Up: Whitehouse vs. Chapel Hill, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5; Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium; Hallsville at Van, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Carthage at Jacksonville
Where: Tomato Bowl, Jacksonville
2012 Records: Carthage 11-3; Jacksonville 4-7
2012 Result: Jacksonville 34, Carthage 30
About Carthage: The second-ranked Bulldogs have the firepower to challenge for a state title, considering 10 starters are back on the offense alone. Among the returning players is quarterback Blake Bogenshutz, a senior who passed for 2,870 yards and 40 touchdowns a year ago. Running back Tevin Pipkin carried the ball for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns while receiver Tee Goree caught 66 passes for 1,261 yards and 17 TDs. Defensive lineman Mario McCain produced eight sacks last year.
About Jacksonville: Despite finishing below .500, the Indians managed to break into the postseason in head coach Chris Taber's first season at the helm. But largely depleted through graduation, Jacksonville has a ton of question marks entering the season. But if junior quarterback Carter McCown stays healthy, the Indians will have a quarterback that passed for 1,310 yards and 13 TDs in limited action last year. McCown enjoyed a breakout game against the Bulldogs last year before missing time with a collarbone injury suffered in the game.
Next Up: Carthage at Lindale, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Jacksonville at Palestine, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5.
Van at Pine Tree
Where: Pirates Stadium, Longview
2012 Records: Van 9-2; Pine Tree 2-7
2012 Result: Van 41, Pine Tree 28
About Van: The Vandals lost their top offensive player from last year's team — quarterback Garrett Smallwood — and their top defensive performer — lineman Sid Moore — but still return plenty of talent. That includes six starters on offense and seven on defense, including junior running back Matt Savis and wide receiver Andrew Platter. Savis carried the ball for 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns while Platter caught 34 passes for 562 yards and five scores.
About Pine Tree: The Pirates open their new stadium — arguably the nicest venue in East Texas — in this game. They hope to do so in style with 6-6 quarterback Caleb Chumley leading the way.
Next Up: Hallsville at Van, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Pine Tree at Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Bullard at Quitman
Where: Bud Moody Stadium, Quitman
2012 Records: Bullard 7-3; Quitman 2-8
2012 Result: Bullard 58, Quitman 6.
About Bullard: The Panthers lost 16 lettermen and returned 12, but return only four starters on each side of the ball from a team that entered district unbeaten before falling in the 16-3A opener to Kilgore. Running back Brent Henderson is expected to headline the offense after producing 750 yards and 15 scores on the ground last year. The other top Panthers are expected to be quarterback Connor Mebane and linebacker William Baker.
About Quitman: The Bulldogs have gone two straight seasons without reaching the playoffs and will be trying to improve on last year's two wins. They return five starters on each side of the ball, including standouts such as all-district lineman Bobby Wells (6-3, 285), fullback Jessie Ramirez and running back/linebacker Colton Peak, among others.
Next Up: White Oak at Bullard, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Quitman at Redwater, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Tatum at Arp
Where: Bill Herrington Tiger Stadium, Arp
2012 Records: Tatum 9-3; Arp 9-3
2012 Result: Tatum 41, Arp 21
About Tatum: Head coach Andy Evans is three away from securing his 100th victory at Tatum and will be vying for the mark during the next month. Running back Jaylon Shans will be counted on to help deliver the mark after contributing 400 yards on the ground last year. The Eagles other top standouts this year are expected to be wide receiver Deyante Roberson and quarterback Chaston Brooks, among others.
About Arp: Arp is planning for another big season — district favorites — but had to replace seven starters on each side of the ball. But the Tigers return their quarterback in Chase Bonner, who provided 1,257 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air to the offensive production last season. Another leading returner on offense is running back Marcalas Johnson, who ran for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012. Much of the offense is expected to go through Johnson this season.
Next Up: Winnsboro at Tatum, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Arp at Paul Pewitt, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Elkhart at Alto
Where: Yellow Jacket Stadium, Alto
2012 Records: Elkhart 2-8
2012 Result: Alto 52, Elkhart 28
About Elkhart: In a matchup featuring star running backs, Elkhart contends with senior Jeffery Wilson. The 6-1, 190-pounder ran for 2,329 yards and 26 touchdowns last season and hopes to cross 3,000 yards this season. Elkhart needs to build experience on the offensive line and going against a team like Alto should deliver plenty of it.
About Alto: Alto's rushing standout is Jacolby Whitaker, who went for 2,692 yards and 42 touchdowns last season. Quarterback Zac Sturns is coming off a senior year that featured more than 1,000 yards through the air and more than 1,000 yards on the ground. His top target is receiver Anfernee Black, who caught 36 passes for 678 yards and eight scores.
Next Up: Elkhart at Frankston, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Groveton at Alto, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Hawkins at Big Sandy
Where: Wildcat Stadium, Big Sandy
2012 Records: Hawkins 2-8; Big Sandy 5-5
2012 Result: Big Sandy 22, Hawkins 18
About Hawkins: The Hawks will have a new identity on offense with fresh faces at quarterback and on the line. Sophomore Jason Hass is set to quarterback the Hawks' run-oriented offense. Other potential standouts include tailback/defensive back Drew Roden, fullback/defensive end Cole Harwell and offensive lineman/linebacker Skylar Phillips, among others. Following the narrow lost to neighboring rival Big Sandy in this game last year, Hawkins rebounded the next week to beat Cross Roads, 41-7, before dropping six consecutive contests.
About Big Sandy: The Wildcats returned four starters on offense and four on defense from last season's team. The Wildcats' top prospects for 2013 include quarterback Travis Willoughby and wide receiver Matt Easley on offense and defensive lineman Charles Ramsey and linebacker Caleb Smith on the other side of the ball. Willoughby passed for 1,515 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, while Easley caught 17 passes for 206 yards and four scores. Ramsey and Smith supplied more than 100 tackles each for the stop unit.
Next Up: Cross Roads at Hawkins, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Big Sandy at Winona, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
Winona at Overton
Where: Coach Chester Roy Stadium, Overton
2012 Records: Winona 5-6; Overton 7-5
2012 Result: Winona 52, Overton 22
About Winona: The Wildcats are riding a wave of momentum after reaching the playoffs for the first time in 18 years last fall. But only three starters return on offense from that team, meaning new players are being asked to contribute on that side of the ball to make it two straight postseason years. The players to watch appear to be running back Ke'Aaron Cobb, linebacker Devin Johnson and tight end Christian Mendez.
About Overton: The Mustangs will be looking for payback following last season's 30-point loss to the Wildcats. Running back Jamal Kelly, who also plays linebacker, ran for 513 yards on 46 carries was used gingerly because of an injury. The other top returning starters — Overton brings back five on each side — are Damion Dennis, Eric Hatton, Julian Herndon and quarterback Brayton Pierce, among others.
Next Up: Big Sandy at Winona, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; Overton at Beckville, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.