If there’s one thing this Grace Community team is used to this year, it’s adversity. After losing star running back Kade Clayton to a season-ending injury in the second game, the Cougars stayed on track, clinching a playoff spot for the fifth straight year.

When top receiver Jonny Spitzer went down against rival Bishop Gorman, Grace grinded out an epic 7-3 victory.

Last week, Spitzer again was injured, but the Cougars were unable to keep it going against Bullard Brook Hill, which prevailed 27-14.

But Grace (7-2, 4-2) still has a shot to clinch second place in TAPPS D-II District 2 on Friday at Dallas Parish Episcopal (6-3, 5-1).

“I thought our kids have responded really well all year to adverse situations whether it’s Kade or Jonny,” Grace coach Mike Maddox said. “We look forward to the challenge.

“The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.”

The Cougars have to beat the Panthers to create a three-way tie with the Guard, which would result in point differential deciding the seeding. Parish Episcopal, by virtue of a 35-13 victory over Brook Hill, has a plus-22 differential. The Guard (5-4, 4-2), whose regular season is finished with a forfeit from Carrollton Prince of Peace of Friday’s scheduled game, has a minus-9 differential.

Grace, at minus-13, must win by three to secure third place and 18 to take second and secure a home playoff. A loss means the Cougars must travel across the state to play powerhouse Midland Christian.

“We know the challenge is tremendous,” Maddox said. “Our kids are looking forward to the challenge.”

— Travis Yoesting

CRUSADERS EYE .500 MARK

Bishop Gorman will look to complete the season at .500 in Friday’s finale.

The Crusaders (4-5, 2-4) travel to the Metroplex for the second straight week to meet Dallas Shelton (0-8, 0-6) in a TAPPS D-II District 2 matchup. Gorman was eliminated from the playoff race in last week’s 41-23 loss to Dallas Christian.

Despite missing the postseason, the Crusaders have turned things around and appear to be going up under second-year head coach Coby Gipson. Gorman won only two games last season and has played opponents much closer in this year’s losses.

The Crusaders’ district wins have come against Carrollton Prince of Peace (45-14) and Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill (51-42).

— Shane Stark

ALL SAINTS GEARING UP

FOR BASKETBALL

With football season complete, it is hoop-it-up time for the Lady Trojans and Trojans basketball teams.

The Lady Trojans opened Tuesday night with a 45-36 win over Ore City. Kelcee Harwood led the way with 20 points, while Kendall Rhodus and Sarah Bracken added nine and eight points, respectively.

The squad, coached by Karen Lanford, travels to New Summerfield on Friday for Game 2. The contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The Trojans, coached by Eddie Francis, open their season on Tuesday, playing at Canton. JV action starts at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity at 6:30 p.m.

All Saints’ home opener is Friday, Nov. 15, against Winona. The JV starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity at 7 p.m.

Like the Lady Trojans, the Lady Crusaders began their season on the right foot, edging Marshall 54-51 behind 24 points and six assists from Brooke Lee. The Lady Cougars open the season on Tuesday when Van visits Grace Gym.

— Phil Hicks

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