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  • Breaking down barriers

    Livingston Football 19OCT2020Photo by Linda Jacobs and Jo’Hannah Proctor Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz (3) dives into the end zone during the Lions’ 35-14 win at Splendora Friday night. Ruiz ran for two touchdowns and threw three more touchdown passes.

    By Brian Besch

    MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Livingston football keeps rolling, defeating the rival Wildcats 35-14 in Splendora Friday night. The team utilized the efforts of its defense and a balanced attack on offense to win in impressive fashion.

    The Livingston Lions have become one of the better stories of Class 4A football in 2020. A team for which many predicted a basement finish has won five straight games, has a 2-0 record in district play, and is trending toward a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

    “That was a long time coming,” Livingston head coach Finis Vanover said. “Three years of grueling misery, shame, embarrassment and whippings. These seniors stuck it out and went through three years of that misery and they have made a commitment and a promise, and they are fulfilling every bit of it right now. All it took was to trust us to show you how to get there and you have to trust the Lord’s gift that you have and not waste it.”

    It was just two years ago that Splendora defeated the Lions 87-21, with not-so-subtle celebrations after each score. Last year, the Wildcats enjoyed a 48-15 win on the same field. Proud of the team’s performance, the coach said accomplishments like the win Friday were something that would not have happened in the past.

    “Not the last two years, but this fall when they showed up, the way they scrimmaged and the way they played Needville, I knew there was something really special going on. We are not as good as we can even be yet. That is the beauty. They (Splendora) are tapped out,” Vanover said pointing to the opposing sideline. “They can't play any better than they have the last two or three weeks. They got matched physically tonight, speed beat them, scheme beat them, and a kneel down on the 1-yard line.”

    Splendora (3-4, 1-1) began with the lead at 7-0.

    Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz then led two touchdown drives, ending the first with a 26-yard touchdown strike to Julian Gardner and another on a six-yard run.

    The Wildcats’ Zane Obregon, who had both Splendora touchdowns and 106 yards rushing, scored once more. But the home team’s success ended there.

    The Lion defense that has been the squad’s reliable unit made a few adjustments and did not allow further damage.

    “We made some personnel movements and coach went to a different front,” Vanover said of the defense. “There was just a change in alignment with them and we moved them around to try to get them in some spaces. We couldn't match up with them and it took us that first series to realize that. We had to bring some blitzes and bring some heat from different directions and the coaches did a great job adjusting during the first half, but especially at halftime. (Defensive coordinator Dalton Murray), the secondary coaches and the outside linebacker guys did a great job getting the kids clued in on what we needed to do the second half to get some stops.”

    Ruiz (9-for-15, 219 yards, INT, 3 TDs) would later hit Izzy Enard on a 25-yard touchdown pass, sneak in his second rushing six-pointer, and find Gardner again for a 52-yard pass to score.

    Gardner had five catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, the junior standout added an interception while playing defense.

  • Bulldogs chomp Warriors, 28-14

    PSX 20201030 233925PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO A Corrigan-Camden wide receiver hauls in a pass as a Warren defender hangs on for dear life to try and bring him down Friday night.

    By Albert Trevino

    The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs defeated the Warren Warriors 28-14 on Friday.

    It was the first district win for new head coach Brett Ratliff, who finally witnessed real-game progress under his offensive system.

    "We have gotten better every week. I think we are finding weaknesses in different defenses. Sometimes, we have to run a little more or throw. Since we can play multiple, we are able to exploit those things." said Ratliff after the game.

    The Bulldog defense had another strong performance, making crucial third- and fourth-down stops throughout the game.

    "We definitely played a full team game tonight. When our offense stumbled, getting inside the red zone and not putting one in, our defense picked us up." Ratliff said.

    It was also a breakout game for Bulldog sophomore quarterback Christian Hood, who ran for three of Corrigan's four touchdowns.

    "[Hood] is a great athlete and has a heart on him." said Ratliff. "He never gets rattled and plays even keeled like a quarterback should. But he also plays physical like a running back."

    The Warriors scored first with an early touchdown by senior running back Kevin Kirk.

    Corrigan responded with Hood scoring his first rushing touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

    A turnover on downs by Warren in the second quarter gave the Bulldog offense a short field and a chance to take the lead. Hood finished that drive with 11-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 at halftime.

    The Bulldogs stretched their lead in the third quarter, as sophomore running back Anthony Harrell broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run. That score gave Corrigan a 21-7 lead going into the fourth.

    Warren's offense would keep fighting, with help from a personal foul call that kept a late possession alive. The penalty was immediately followed by a 43-yard touchdown run by Warrior sophomore back Jeremy Smith to make it a one-score game.

    Corrigan answered on its next possession, with Hood scoring his third rushing touchdown to help seal the win.

    Corrigan's final game of the season will be this Friday at home against the Newton Eagles.

  • Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs lose defensive struggle, 6-0

    Corrigan football 19Oct2020PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO The Corrigan-Camden defense takes down an Anderson-Shiro running back during Friday’s 6-0 loss in Anderson.

    By Albert Trevino

    POLK COUNTY– The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs fell to the Anderson-Shiro Fighting Owls in a 6-0 shutout from Grimes County.

    In a low-scoring showcase for both defenses, the Owls needed just one scoring possession to make the difference in Friday’s district matchup.

    Anderson-Shiro’s defense locked down on the Bulldog rush attack and put consistent pressure on sophomore quarterback Christian Hood throughout the night.

    On the opening drive, Corrigan’s offense put together a couple of runs to get past midfield before stalling out and having to punt. The Bulldogs continued to struggle in the first quarter with three-consecutive three-and-outs inside their own territory.

    The Owls also had trouble moving the ball early, although they averaged stronger field position.

    The Bulldog defense made key stops in the first half to help prevent Anderson-Shiro from reaching the red zone. This included a turnover on downs and two straight three-and-outs.

    Late in the second quarter, Corrigan started to find some rhythm, marching down the field from their own 8-yard line. Hood threw a first-down pass to sophomore running back JaVarion Williams, then ran the ball to help reach Owl territory.

    However, time ran out for Corrigan and the offense suffered two straight sacks looking for the deep pass play. This left it scoreless at halftime.

    Anderson-Shiro came out swinging in the third quarter and shocked the Bulldog defense with a quick scoring drive that would ultimately decide the match.

    Owl senior quarterback Cole Werner and senior tight end Kelvin Adair both ran for large chucks to reach a first and goal. This set up Adair for a one-yard touchdown run up the middle with the missed extra point for a six-point game.

    Corrigan’s offense continued to show decline in the second half, while the defense bounced back to prevent any further big-play opportunities for the Owls. Williams made the defensive play of the game late in the fourth quarter with an interception in the end zone.

    Despite having two more chances to respond in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs could not establish field position beyond a couple of first-down conversions.

    In the final minutes during Corrigan’s last possession, Hood converted on a fourth down with a pass to Williams to reach near midfield. The Owls responded with more pressure on Hood and forced a quick turnover on downs to seal the game.

    Corrigan is set to host the New Waverly Bulldogs for the next district game this Friday.

  • Crockett secures third place in 9-3A (VIDEO)

    Kickoff ReturnPHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY LAMB Trinity’s Marquavian Jaramillo returns the opening kickoff against Crockett Friday night.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs can breathe a little easier heading into the first round of the state football playoffs.

    Coach Jimmy Thompson’s crew took care of business in their District 9-3A DI finale by dominating the visiting Trinity Tigers 39-0 Friday night to secure the third place seed.

    Crockett plays District 10-3A runner-up Anahuac in bi-district while fourth-place Trinity faces No. 8 ranked East Chambers, the District 10-3A champion.

    The Crockett-Anahuac matchup will be played Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Woodville’s Eagle Stadium.

    In other key district matchups Friday, Coldspring defeated Diboll 20-12 to capture the District 9-3A title and will play Woodville Thursday night in Crockett’s Driskell Stadium at 7 p.m. Woodville defeated Anahuac 27-22 but Anahuac took second based on a tiebreaker.

    Crockett’s first touchdown against Trinity was courtesy of the defense.

    A pick-six by sophomore Zandric Anderson on Trinity’s fourth play got the ball rolling and kicker Antonio Cruz put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 10:51 in the first quarter.

    Anderson foiled Trinity’s second possession when he recovered a fumble at the Tiger 35. The Bulldogs scored three plays later on a 36-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jadyn Collins to senior Ty White. Cruz, who was perfect on extra points, made it 14-0 at the 8:58 mark.

    After an interception by Keshun Easterling near midfield, the Bulldogs drove to the Tiger 12 before coughing up the ball.

    Pick SixPHOTO BY LARRY LAMB Crockett’s Zandric Anderson returns an interception for a touchdown against Trinity in a showdown for third place in District 9-3A DI Friday night.

    Unable to move the ball, Trinity was forced to punt and a high snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety to give Crockett a 16-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

    Another interception by Easterling set up Crockett’s next touchdown. The junior snared the pass and returned it to the Tiger 48, but a penalty moved the Bulldogs back to their 35 yard line. Collins hit White for a 15-yard gain and found Randy Jones on a pinpoint 44-yard touchdown pass two plays later. The PAT put Crockett up 23-0 at the 11:00 mark in the second quarter.

    Crockett only had to travel 22 yards for its next touchdown after forcing Trinity to punt from the 10 yard line. Dennis Simmons picked up 18 yards to set up a four-yard blast by Easterling for a 30-0 lead at the 8:51 mark.

    Late in the first half Trinity reached the Bulldog 27 yard line on the running of junior fullback Andrew Crabtree before turning the ball over on downs.

    Crockett marched down the field but was unable to punch the ball in before fumbling at the Tiger 5 with :42 left in the half.

    After Jones returned the second half kickoff to the Crockett 17, the quick-striking Bulldogs extended their lead when Easterling took it to the house on an 83-yard run on first down just 21 seconds into the third quarter.

    Another high snap on a Trinity punt resulted in a safety that put Crockett up 39-0 with 7:46 to go in the third quarter.

    Crockett attempted an unsuccessful field goal from the 29 yard line on its next series.

    Trinity mounted a deep threat in the fourth quarter behind the running of Crabtree but ran out of steam at the 9 yard line.

    Crockett will also host a Class 4A bi-district game between Jasper and China Spring on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

     

  • Lady Jackets make easy work of Kennard, Apple Springs

    Chester Volleyball 101520JANA RAYBURN | TCB Lady Jacket Olivia Gilzow goes up for a kill in recent action. The Lady Jackets are currently 11-1 for the season.

    By Jana Rayburn

    TYLER COUNTY - The Chester Lady Jackets went two for two last week, defeating both Kennard and Apple Springs. These two wins bring the Lady Jackets to 11-1 for the season.

    The Lady Jackets defeated Kennard in three sets last Tuesday, Oct. 6. Brianna Kort and Jasmine Mitchell led the team in kills. Kort had seven kills and Mitchell had eight kills during the match.

    The Lady Jackets played a home game on Oct. 9 against Apple Springs. The Lady Jackets won in three sets. Linzie Romo led with six blocks. Kinsley Barnes had three blocks, and Olivia Gilzow had two blocks.

    The Lady Jackets will be at home on Friday, Oct. 16 as they face the Goodrich Lady Hornets at 4:30 p.m. Then on Tuesday, Oct. 20, they will travel to Kennard to take on the Lady Tigers for a 4:30 p.m. match.

    The junior high volleyball teams played against Groveton on Monday, Oct. 5 in Groveton. The Lady Jacket B team lost, but it was a very close game. The A team won in two games.

    The junior high teams will play their last game of the season on Monday, Oct. 19 at home against Latexo. The game will begin at 4 p.m.

    Yellowjacket Football
    The high school football team had a bye week to allow their athletes to participate in the Tyler County Fair.

    The Yellowjackets will travel to Buckholts on Friday, Oct. 16 to face the Badgers in a 7:00p.m. game. This game against Buckholts will be the last game before district play starts for the Jackets.

    The junior high football team have had a few weeks off, but will get some action on Friday, Oct. 16, as they travel to Buckholts for a 5 p.m. game against the Badgers. This game will be played prior to the high school game.

    Yellowjacket cross-country
    The high school cross country team competed in the Lufkin Coca-Cola Invitational on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Even though no one placed, they all competed well.

    The high school and junior high cross-country teams will travel to West Sabine on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, Chester will host their own invitational meet at The Gathering Place in Chester. For more information, contact Charlotte Barnes at Chester High School.

  • Lions playing for district title

    IMG 1437PHOTO BY JO’HANNAH PROCTOR Livingston running back Lynn Johnson (23) runs with several Little Cypress-Mauriceville defenders hanging on him trying to bring him down Friday night.

    By Brian Besch

    LIVINGSTON - The Livingston Lions ran their district record to 4-0 by defeating the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears 18-6 on Senior Night in Lion Stadium. The win sets up a District 10-4A Div. I showdown in Huffman for the final regular season game, as the Hargrave Falcons are also undefeated.

    For the first time since 1963 when Corky Cochran was taking handoffs, the Lions (7-2, 4-0) have won seven consecutive games in a season. It is an accomplishment for a school that had won just two games the three prior years combined. A win on the road Friday will have the school vaulting from worst to first.

    “The past two years have been rough,” senior linebacker Tanner Orn said after playing his final game at Lion Stadium. “My sophomore year, we were 0-10 and last year we went 2-8, so it kind of feels surreal right now, winning seven straight. We are going into the district championship undefeated and it really doesn't feel real. This is it for me. I'm playing out here 100% as long as I can. I just love football and I'm just trying to play.”

    Livingston was successful on the ground, led by junior Lynn “Tank” Johnson, who had 18 carries, 145 yards and two scores. Ja’Marri Green added 56 yards in 11 attempts. In all, the Lions ran for 238 yards.

    The story of the year for Livingston has been its defense. After holding the Bears to six points, they have now surrendered an average of 8.5 points per district game.

    Orn said a lot of the improvement for the defense is mental and emotional.

    “It is the attitude, 100%,” he said. “Everyone is in there playing for the person next to them, you know? In past years, it wasn't like that. Now it is. Everybody has the same goal.”

    The visiting Bears also performed well on the defensive side. The Lions were unable to convert many drives into points.

    “They played defense,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said of LC-M. “They were well-prepared, they moved people around on the chessboard that we haven't seen moved to those spots. They attacked us and got physical and we didn't answer back a couple of times real good. We figured it out enough to put points on them.”

    Livingston scored on its first drive of the game, going 10 plays in six minutes and ending in a Damian Ruiz 1-yard sneak. A missed extra point had the team chasing two-point conversions the rest of the night.

    Much the same as the Lion offense saw early in the season, the Bears brought pressure from both ends to contain rollout passes and runs outside the tackles.

    “They brought two people, and then they put their big boys out wide that we haven't seen all year,” Vanover said. “We were in a bind and we didn't handle it well. We have to get that smoothed out. I am very disappointed in our red zone offense. We had two possessions before the half and came away with nothing. They stopped two two-point conversions and that is just unacceptable.

    “It is also a tribute to their defense. It's what I was afraid of all week. If they get juiced up and get rolling and get confident, they would make some big offensive plays. I didn't want those skill guys out there, because I knew they I would throw it all over the field. I didn't think they could run it on us. They have some playmakers and they can go the distance in a hurry like they showed.”

    The time they went the distance was in the third period on a 78-yard slant to Brendon Pollock, cutting the lead in half at 12-6.

    Before that, Johnson sprinted in from 16 yards with 1:53 to go in the first half, capping a 14-play drive to put the Lions up 12-0. The final score of the game had the junior tailback outrunning the defense again, this time in the third quarter on a counter for 59 yards.

    Friday will decide District 10-4A Div. I. The Hargrave Falcons are 9-0 on the season after taking down Vidor 15-13 on the road. Both teams enter the clash with 4-0 district marks.

    “It is what you play the sport for,” Vanover said. “It is what everybody talks about from Aug. 3 until now — playing for the championship. Everybody snickered and snarled about the old Livingston Lions and here we’re fixing to be two undefeated teams playing game 10 for the district championship. What more can you say about a group of boys that have stuck it out, believed and achieved like you are supposed to do?”

  • Lions restore their roar (GALLERY & VIDEO)

    IMG 2503PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDA JACOBS AND JO'HANNA PROCTOR Livingston Lions celebrate their victory on Friday November 6, 2020 as they win the district championship.

     

     
    By Brian Besch

    HUFFMAN - From worst to first, or maybe more accurate, from the outhouse to the penthouse. After winning only two games over the past three years, Livingston football has won the District 10-4A Div. I championship.

    The Lions stunned the defending district champions on their home field, taking a 21-20 come-from-behind win Friday over Hargrave in Huffman. It is the first outright district championship for Livingston football since 1963.

    The Lions fell behind 20-7 when Falcon quarterback Luke Thomas powered his way in from eight yards out with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

    The Lions later answered with a Nigel Henderson interception that set the offense up at the Hargrave 15. Three plays later, freshman Ja’Marri Green took a sweep over the goal line from the three, cutting the lead to 20-14.

    With just 2:51 in the game, Livingston again needed just three plays to score. After a 5-yard run from Damian Ruiz, the quarterback then took to the air, completing a 40-yard pass to Julian Gardner. On the next play from the Falcon 30, Ruiz rolled right and threw back to his left, finding Green wide open. The young running back cut across the field, dodging defenders to help give Livingston the lead.

    On the next possession, sophomore Jontavian McNeal intercepted a pass to give Livingston the ball once more with under a minute to play. A first down from Green on third-and-five secured the win.

    Behind 6-0 at the half, Livingston head coach Finis Vanover said his team looked down in the locker room.

    “We sagged a little bit going into halftime and I told them, ‘It is like a morgue in here. We told you and told you that it wasn't going to be easy. These guys have been there for five or six consecutive years and they have beaten all comers, including us. They made fools out of us last year here and there were people dancing on our sidelines when we were 40 points down. There's only going to be one dance taking place here tonight, it is going to be when we win.’”

    Ruiz threw completions of 28, 6, 40 and 30 yards The first of those was a scoring strike to Chris Washington to put the Lions up 7-6 on the first drive of the third period.

    Washington is the only Lion to have played through the past four years. He began as a freshman and had only been a part of two wins before 2020.

    “Those four years were crazy,” the senior receiver said. “My (freshman and sophomore) year, we didn't win any games and coach Vanover told us to believe and that is what we kept doing. He told us keep believing and we are going to win and we are going to turn around the program. That's what we did. It has been a long, hard four years for me and I am just glad we came out with a win. It took a lot of hard work. I did my part and I did all

    I could. I just stuck it out. I didn't want to transfer and I didn't want to go anywhere. I stayed with my hometown and this is the outcome.”

    The coach said a big difference in the offense for the final two quarters was getting the running game in gear. Green provided much of that, going for 53 of his 69 yards in the second half.

    “We told our tailbacks, ‘If you didn't show up to play, get your tail on the bus and wait for us. We'll find somebody else that will run tough. Get busy running — and we did. (Coach) Seven (Armstrong) had some good talks with the offensive linemen about getting physical. They are the simplest defense (by scheme) that we played the entire year. Little Cypress (-Mauriceville, last week) was good, but these guys (Hargrave) are great.”

    The district champions will now face Tyler Chapel Hill 6 p.m. Saturday in the bi-district round of the playoffs at New Caney’s Texan Drive Stadium.

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  • Lovelady cruises past Evadale in bi-district (VIDEO)

    Lovelady FootballLAWANNA MONK Lovelady’s Shaun Easterling abruptly stops Evadale quarterback Chase Smith on a keeper during the Lions’ 50-12 bi-district victory Thursday, Nov. 12 at Cleveland High School. Photo courtesy of Justin Dobbins.

     
    By Lawanna Monk

    Lovelady Lions claimed the bi-district football championship with a convincing 50-12 victory over the Evadale Rebels Thursday, Nov. 12 at Cleveland High School’s Indian Stadium.

    The Lions won’t have much time to relish their victory, however, as they must begin preparing for a showdown with undefeated and top-ranked Mart in the area round Friday, Nov. 20 at Caldwell High School’s Hornet Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Mart recorded a Covid-19 forfeit over Cumby in the first round.

    Lovelady will carry a six-game win streak into the second round matchup.

    The Lions led just 8-0 after a quarter but a three-touchdown flurry in the second quarter opened up a 30-6 halftime lead.

    Lovelady scored with 5:13 left in the opening period on a seven-yard run by Keivon Skinner and two-point conversion run by Conner Martinez.

    At the 8:35 mark in the second quarter Shaun Easterling took it seven yards for a touchdown run but a two-conversion failed.

    Quarterback Slade Murray faked a handoff, rolled outside and took it to the house 60 yards with 6:41 in the second quarter. Easterling ran the conversion for a 22-0 lead.

    The Lions went up 30-0 when Murray connected with Caleb Gilchrist on a 66-yard TD pass and Eric Anderson carried for the conversion with 2:29 to go in the half.

    Evadale got on the scoreboard just before halftime on a pass from quarterback Chase Smith to Tom Boles.

    Early in the third quarter Skinner reeled off a 40-yard scamper to set up a 16-yard TD run by Easterling. A conversion pass was intercepted in the end zone, holding the Lions’ lead at 36-6 at the 10:16 mark.

    Lovelady went up 44-6 with :29 left in the third on a 19-yard run by Easterling and a conversion run by Eric Anderson.

    In the fourth quarter the Lions increased their lead on a four-yard run by freshman Jordan Blackmon.

    Evadale put together a 68-yard scoring drive late in the game.

    Lovelady was in the same district with Evadale for two years before moving to its current district. The Lions won both matchups 46-18 in 2019 and 40-6 in 2018.

     

  • Lovelady outlasts West Sabine

    LoveladyFootball Lovelady DefenseLovelady’s Joel Pomeroy (12) and Carter Murray (75) put pressure on the West Sabine quarterback Friday night in Pineland. Photo by Lawanna Monk

    By Lawanna Monk

    HOUSTON COUNTY - A 100-mile-plus trip to Pineland was worth it for the Lovelady Lions and their fans Friday night.

    The Lions fended off the West Sabine Tigers 44-34 for their second straight district victory.

    After West Sabine made it a four-point game late in the third quarter, the Lions put the game away with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

    Lovelady started its first series with good field position after Joel Pomeroy covered the kickoff on the Lion 49.

    Shaun Easterling took the ball on first down and reeled off a 34-yard run behind the offensive line manned by Matthew McFarland, Caleb Larkin, Jaxson Reeves, Mikey Montemayor and Carter Murray.

    Three plays later Easterling capped the drive and Eric Anderson ran the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 10:41 in the first quarter.

    Lovelady’s onside kick failed to go the required distance, so West Sabine took over on the Lion 43 and scored five plays later on a short pass. An extra point kick failed, leaving the Lions with an 8-6 lead with 9:02 left.

    The Lions went up 16-6 with an 11-play, 77-yard drive after Keivon Skinner downed the Tigers’ kickoff at the 23 yard line.

    Easterling carried five times, dragging defenders behind him on several plays. The drive also included a four-yard carry by quarterback Slade Murray and a nine-yarder by Conner Martinez. Easterling scored from four yards out with 3:14 left in the first quarter and Martinez ran the conversion.

    West Sabine took advantage of a momentum swing and scored two unanswered touchdowns to go in front by four early in the second quarter.

    Late in the first quarter West Sabine recovered a fumble at the Lion 25 and cashed in two plays later on a quarterback keeper. The Tigers threw for two points to close the gap to 16-14 with :06 left in the opening period.

    West Sabine took the lead, 20-16, with 7:39 left in the second quarter after taking over at the Tiger 17 on a punt. The Tigers drove down the field and scored from three yards out but were unsuccessful on the conversion.

    The Lions regained the momentum with back-to-back touchdowns before halftime.

    A fair catch by Pomeroy on the kickoff set up Lovelady’s offense at the Lion 38. Except for two short runs by Martinez and Murray, Easterling accounted for most of the yardage on the seven-play drive and scored on a 35-yard run. Martinez ran for the conversion to give the Lions a 24-20 edge at the 4:20 mark.

    After forcing a Tiger punt that went out of bounds at the Lion 43, Easterling picked up four on first down and then Murray connected with Skinner on a 53-yard touchdown strike. Easterling’s two-point conversion run gave the Lions a 32-20 lead at the 2:16 mark in the first half.

    The Lions weren’t able to breathe easy for long, though.

    After kicking off to the Tiger 28, West Sabine marched down the field and scored five plays later on a six-yard pass and then threw for the conversion to make it a four-point game, 32-28, with :24 left in the half.

    A crucial fourth-down stop by the Lion defense at the 10 yard line shifted the momentum back to Lovelady. Moore had several tackles while Martinez and Murray helped keep the pressure on the Tigers until they ran out of steam.

    The Lions then drove 90 yards down the field on five carries by Easterling, four by Slade Murray and three by Eric Anderson. Martinez capped the 13-play drive on a four-yard run and a two-point conversion was unsuccessful but Lovelady was up 38-28 with 1:19 to go in the third.

    Refusing to go away quietly, the Tigers roared back on their next possession and struck quickly on a two-play drive. After being stopped for a two-yard loss on first down, West Sabine took it the distance from 67 yards out on the next play. The conversion failed, leaving the Lions with a 38-34 lead with :28 left in the third.

    Lovelady started its next possession at its 40 yard line after the kickoff and put together an eight-play scoring drive.

    The Lions drove down the field on five carries by Easterling, a seven-yarder by Murray and a 15-yarder by Anderson.

    With the ball inside the 10, Easterling took it rest of the way for the Lions’ final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that sealed a 44-34 victory.

    This week Lovelady (2-1, 3-4) hosts Mt. Enterprise (1-2, 1-6), which fell to Tenaha 49-0 last week.

  • Playoff Bound: Lions clinch postseason berth with 21-7 victory

    Lions football against vidor 2020PHOTO BY JO’HANNAH PROCTOR Livingston wide receiver Chris Washington (7) sprints past Vidor defenders on a catch-and-run 76-yard touchdown play in the Lions’ 21-7 victory against the Pirates Friday night in Livingston.

    By Brian Besch

    The Livingston Lions pushed their winning streak to six games Friday, defeating district preseason favorite Vidor 21-7 in Lion Stadium.

    Livingston (6-2,3-0) kept its first-place standing in District 10-4A Div. I with an incredible defensive effort and a few big plays from the offense and special teams.

    “We played great, we really did,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “I don't think a lot of people really, truly believed yet that we were capable of doing that and we matched them physically and got in the ring and slugged it out with them.

    “They won three or four battles with their big boys and they hurt us with some pass rush in the second half, but we just kept missing the ball. We dropped a bunch of sure touchdown catches, but every one of them came back and redeemed themselves.”

    For much of the night, the offense missed on opportunities for points, but would break a scoreless tie on the first play of the second quarter. Freshman running back Ja’Marri Green set the offense up with gains of seven, 29, and four yards to end the first period before punching it in from a yard out to put the Lions up, 7-0.

    After a short Vidor (3-3, 1-2) punt, the Lions tried to convert a fourth-and-8. They were successful, as Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz (8-20-1, 183, 2 TDs) rolled to his left and completed a pass to Julian Gardner. The junior standout turned upfield and scooted the 41 yards needed for the end zone.

    Last week, Gardner caught five passes for 141 yards, two touchdowns and added an interception. He followed that Friday with three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense. That made him responsible for ending three of the four Pirate drives in the second half.

    Special teams played a large part in the game all night, and the final two scores of the night would occur in punting situations.

    The Livingston offense was headed in the wrong direction on a drive with over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but held a 14-0 lead. On fourth-and-29 from their own 24-yard line, the Lions faked a punt. Ruiz stepped in to take the snap and tossed to Chris Washington. The senior receiver not only made the long journey to the sticks, but used his speed to outrun the Vidor defense for 76 yards and a touchdown.

    “It was a different formation than we have used and we shifted the two running backs and didn't have the receivers there,” Vanover said of the fake punt. “We shifted them out of the backfield, so we knew they were going to vacate somebody. We told them, if it is there, we have to live with it. If it is not, get off a deep punt and get them off of us.”

    It was a gutsy call on fourth and very long, with the game just a two-score difference. Without the first down, the final five minutes of the game could have provided some anxious moments.

    “When you have talent and you believe in yourselves and you work all week to prepare for it, when the chance comes, you can't be afraid of the opportunity,” the coach said. “You just have to be man enough to live with the results.”

    Down 21-0 with 30 seconds left in the game, Vidor blocked a Lion punt and corralled the loose ball in the end zone, giving the visiting team their only points on the night.

    “On the punt, that was inexcusable. Especially when they think we may fake it again and we just watch the big boys go by and block it for a touchdown. That is unacceptable and we have to get that fixed.

    “We gave away a shutout in district play against the preseason favorite. But (having the shut out for that long) is a tribute to how hard our kids played — how much they believe in what we are teaching.”

    The Lions have clinched a spot in the postseason with their third district win. They will host Little Cypress-Mauriceville in the final home game Friday. A win there could set up a match of district unbeatens at Huffman, when the Lions face Hargrave to end the regular season.

  • Tigers clinch playoff berth (VIDEO)

    110520 trinity 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Trinity Tiger wide receiver Jamarian Hall runs through trouble during a Friday, Oct. 30, game against the Westwood Panthers. Trinity won the game 34-28.

    By Scott Womack
    TCNS Correspondent

    TRINITY — The Tigers entered the 2020 season with one goal, to advance to the playoffs. A 34-28 victory over the Westwood Panthers made that goal a reality.

    The victory was accomplished by a strong running game by Trey Goodman, who contributed 285 rushing yards and one passing touchdown; a defense that made timely stops and intercepted Panther passes three times, one resulting in a touchdown; and special teams that was able to recover an attempted onside kick that sealed the victory for the Tigers.

    The Tigers struck early with a 66-yard touchdown run by Goodman on just the second play from scrimmage. However, the Panthers were able to control the ball on their opening possession for a 15-play touchdown drive to take a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.

    Westwood scored early in the second quarter and take a 14-6 lead. With 2:24 left in the first half, Goodman was able to pick off a Panther pass and return it to the 24-yard line giving the Tigers a chance to even the score before halftime. Two plays later the Tigers gave up the ball on an interception.

    A timely stop by the defense forced the Panthers to punt. With just 25 seconds left in the second quarter the Tigers had one last opportunity to score. The Tigers needed one play for Goodman to find the end zone from a 35-yard run. Adding the 2-point conversion, the Tigers and Panthers entered halftime tied at 14.

    The Tigers took the lead for good on their opening possession of the third quarter when Goodman found Jamarian Hall for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers next offensive possession resulting in a T.J. Jaramillo interception on the Tiger 14-yard line. On the Tigers third play, Goodman broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run giving the Tigers a 28-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

    110520 trinity 1TONY FARKAS | TCNS Trey Goodman (No. 3) finds room for the Trinity Tigers’ opening drive score, scampering 66 yards on Friday, Oct. 30, in Trinity. The Tigers downed the Westwood Panthers 34-28.

    Trinity then drove to the Panther 28 yard line, but turned the ball over to the Panthers on a fourth-down run that came up short. An incompletion, a Raymond Balli sack and an interception returned 21 yards for a score by Romero Lopez gave the Tigers a commanding 24-14 lead with 6:47 left in the game.

    The Panthers made the game interesting by taking just over two minutes to score and another touchdown with just 1:09 left to play. Leading by 6 points, the Tigers lined up for a Panther onside kick, and with the recovery, the Tigers special team was able to seal the win.

    The win puts Trinity into the 2020 playoffs. The Tigers will end the regular season on the road against the Crockett Bulldogs, the winner of which will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. With a win the Tigers will own their first winning regular season and district winning record in several years.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.; once all the games become final, the Tigers will know their playoff opponent.

     

  • UIL Football Playoffs

    Has anyone been to any of the recent UIL football playoffs?