Two years ago the Malakoff Tigers were oh so close to making the state football championship game. They dropped a 28-24 heartbreaker to Yoakum in the state semifinals.
In 2018, the Tigers are in the state finals, but they say their mission is far from complete.
Malakoff (12-2) plays the Grandview Zebras (13-2) with state title dreams on their mind.
The Tigers and Zebras meet for the Class 3A Division I state football championship on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Fox Sports Southwest-Plus will broadcast the game on TV.
This is a rematch as the two clubs met Sept. 20 in Grandview with the Zebras winning 28-7.
Malakoff has won 10 of 11 games since that defeat, with its only loss a 22-20 decision to Kemp on Nov. 9.
Since that Kemp game, the Tigers have been rolling with five straight wins — 63-35 over Pottsboro in Mesquite on Nov. 16 (bi-district), 31-21 over previously unbeaten Jefferson in Mineola on Nov. 23 (area), 35-7 over Gladewater in Tyler on Dec. 1 (regionals), 37-22 over Atlanta in Longview on Dec. 8 (state quarterfinals) and 23-21 over Brock in Frisco on Friday (state semifinals).
Malakoff was the runner-up in District 6-3A to Kemp, but is now the Region II champion.
Grandview tied for the District 9-3A championship with West, but entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed as the Zebras lost to West 42-41 in overtime on Sept. 28 in Grandview.
The Zebras, the Region III champions, have won 10 straight since then and their only other loss was 52-30 at Glen Rose on Aug. 31.
Grandview playoff wins include 45-21 over Rockdale in Waco on Nov. 17 (bi-district), 42-14 over Woodville in Tyler on Nov. 23 (area), 24-21 over Franklin in Waco on Nov. 30 (regionals), 36-35 in overtime over Winnie East Chambers in Madisonville on Dec. 8 (state quarterfinals) and 28-14 over Yoakum in Pflugerville on Friday (state semifinals).
This will be the second time the schools have met in the playoffs. Malakoff won 45-0 in a 1990 bi-district game.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Joe Lee Smith, of Tyler, operates the TexasHighSchoolFootballHistory.com and he said Malakoff began playing football in 1925 and has compiled a record of 440-429-27 with 19 playoff appearances and 11 district titles.
The Tigers' playoff record is 18-17.
Grandview began playing football in 1909 and has a record of 479-418-43. The Zebras have made the playoffs 30 times with 20 district titles. Their playoff record is 26-28.
Neither team has won a state title and this is the first state championship game for both.
All fans will be subject to the stadium’s clear bag policy and will be searched upon entering the stadium. Fans will walk through metal detectors upon entering the stadium.
No powder, confetti or streamers will be allowed in the stands.
No artificial noisemakers are allowed at this event in the stands. No air horns or whistles will be permitted in the stands. Only man-made noisemakers will be allowed — jugs with beads, inflatable boom sticks, clackers and cowbells.
Tickets through Seat Geek
Tickets are good for all games on that day. No re-entry allowed. All spectators age 1 and up must have a ticket.
Tickets will be available at the stadium on the day of the game. Gates will open one hour before the start of the first game of the day.
Free admission will be allowed to members of the Texas High School Coaches Association and/or the Texas Six Man Coaches Association at the UIL Football State Championship games. The THSCA/TSMCA member is required to show their membership card and a picture ID at the pass gate to enter. Only the THSCA/TSMCA member is allowed free admission.
Parking will be $10 (credit card) and $15 (cash) per vehicle. If you are bringing a fan bus, bus parking will be $50 per bus.
All AT&T lots will be open.
Lots will open two hours before the start of the first game of the day.
On Wednesday, only Entry H will be open.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Entry C and Entry H will be open.
Gates will open one hour before the start of the first game of the day.
About the City of Malakoff
According to the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online, Malakoff is 8 miles west of Athens in western Henderson County.
The area was first settled by Jane Irvine, a widow from Alabama, who immigrated with her family to the area before 1835 and built a gristmill on Caney Creek 1.5 miles north of the site of the present town.
A small community, known as Caney Creek, grew up around the mill. In 1852 the name was changed to Mitcham Chapel after a Methodist church of the same name organized by the Rev. Hezekiah Mitcham. Around 1854 the town applied for a post office under the suggested name of Mitcham or Purdon. Both names had previously been used, so postal officials in Washington suggested the name Malakoff, after a Russian fortification where the battle of Malakoff took place during the Crimean War.
The town's residents accepted the idea, and in 1885 a post office was granted.
About the City of Grandview
According to the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online, Grandview is 12 miles southeast of Cleburne in southeastern Johnson County. Settlement of the community occurred in the 1850s, when J.F. Scurlock opened a general store 1 mile north of the present site.