FORNEY - Robert E. Lee's dress rehearsal for the August 26th opener is Friday morning.
The Red Raiders will scrimmage Irving MacArthur at City Bank Stadium in Forney. The teams agreed to meet halfway for the scrimmage, which begins at 8:30 a.m. with junior varsity before the varsity takes the field at 10:30 a.m.
Lee coach Clayton George said Irving MacArthur is in a similar situation to the Red Raiders because "they also have a new head coach."
Both George and MacArthur's Ronny Mullins will make their debuts for their respective teams.
The MacArthur Cardinals are picked by Dave Campbell's Texas Football to finish fifth in District 7-6A after a 6-5 season in which MacArthur reached the playoffs and lost in the bi-district round.
George said MacArthur "runs a spread like us and will be a good test for our players" to get prepared for the season-opener against Class 5A Marshall, which reached three votes in the preseason high school football poll.
The varsity scrimmage will be similar to previous years. Lee's No. 1 offense will face MacArthur's No. 1 defense for 12 plays before MacArthur's No. 2 offense goes against Lee's No. 2 defense for 10 plays. Things then flip with the MacArthur's No. 1 offense going against Lee's No. 1 defense for 12 plays before the second-team units close out this portion of the scrimmage.
George said the teams will then square off for two quarters in a "game-like" scrimmage that will feature a running clock.
The Red Raiders went 5-5 last season and were picked by DCTF to finish last in District 11-6A.
This will the first time Chance Amie leads the offense in a scrimmage. Last year an unforeseen "family matter" caused him to miss the season-opening scrimmage. Amie later made his debut when it mattered most, in district play, because of an injury to starter Zach Hall. In a little over three games, Amie rushed for 394 yards and six touchdowns and completed 42 of 76 passes for 910 yards and nine touchdowns with only one interception.
He is part of three returning starters on offense with REL also returning three on defense.
The Cardinals return nine starters from their 2015 playoff squad, led by their defense with seven returnees. Defensive ends Jelani Arnold and Ruben Cruz will be the biggest challenge for REL's offensive line. MacArthur is also solid in the defensive backfield with cornerbacks D.J. Benford and Marcus Hudson.
MacArthur's offense, however, is a work in progress with junior quarterback Brion Lopez looking to get the ball to returning receiver Montrail Walker, who had 49 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.
MacArthur will open its season on Thursday, Aug. 25 at Garland at Williams Stadium. Lee will entertain Marshall as part of the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic on Friday, Aug. 26 at CTMF Rose Stadium.
Raider Rap: This will be the first recorded meeting ever by Lee and Irving MacArthur … Irving MacArthur High School has one state championship courtesy of its girls basketball team in 2010-11, which defeated Georgetown in the final … MacArthur's football team best season was in 1985 when the Cardinals reached the third round before losing to Midland Lee … The Cardinals have not advanced out of bi-district since 1991.