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Kilgore defense smothers Lions

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 Jerren James breaks away for a 45-yard touchdown. Jerren James breaks away for a 45-yard touchdown.

By Brian Besch
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Livingston football closed the 2023 season Friday night with a loss in the bi-district round to Kilgore, with a score of 49-8.

The Lions, led by the defense, were in a competitive game in the first quarter. The offense controlled the ball on a time-consuming drive that ended in a fumble. The two teams fought to a scoreless tie as they changed ends of the field, but it wouldn’t take long after for Kilgore to awaken.

Twelve seconds into the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored the first of what would be three second-quarter touchdowns and go into the half up 21-0.

Livingston would finally respond in the third quarter. With just under seven minutes to go in the period, a nine-play drive was capped by Jerren James going off tackle for 45 yards and over the goal line. James would also receive the handoff and convert the two-point try, closing the gap to 21-8.

“For three quarters, we played them with everything we had,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “Once we started getting some dinged up – we were just getting consistent on offense and (then) started turning the ball over again. We got it rolling, but we gave up a score defensively and they stretched it back out to 28-8. We were out of tight ends, with every one of them hurt. We had to reshuffle and do some crazy formations. At one time, we had three freshmen on the field and four sophomores filling in. They had just gotten moved up from the J.V. They all played their hearts out, but those guys are everything that is written about them. They are talented and we fought them for three quarters at different times. When they start breaking those big ones and they get hot, they are hard to control.”

Four fourth-quarter touchdowns made it look more lopsided than was the case for much of the contest. However, the state’s No. 3 team was too much for a Lion group short on depth.

Livingston rushed for 233 yards, but had just six more through the air. James was the top gainer with 93 yards on 14 attempts, while quarterback Damorian Hill had 65 rushing yards. Kilgore rushed for 270 yards and threw for another 163. Quarterback Derrick Williams was a dual threat, adding 99 rushing yards.  

The Lions will lose 21 seniors off the 2023 squad. The class is one of the more successful in recent Livingston history.

“They worked their tails off and committed and dedicated to it,” Vanover said. “I told them that the last five or six weeks, I could not thank them enough for working hard in practice every day to get ready. It seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong. They gave us all that they had and everything every day. They were committed to each other and the coaches, and did all the things that a good high school team is supposed to do. We are just not ready to be in that league with those guys yet.”

During their time in high school, the seniors made a trip to the postseason in three of the four years.

“There aren’t many senior classes that have been able to do that in the school. That is important. We didn’t fare very well, but we played some good and great teams. This one is picked to win the title and they just beat the mess out of Chapel Hill the other week. Chapel Hill two years ago beat us and went to the semifinals. That district is big time. Our district hasn’t fared very well against them at any of the levels. This bunch (of Lion seniors) has done a lot of things that nobody else here has done.”

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Goodrich harriers among state’s top 10

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Hornet cross country turned in a top-10 team finish Friday morning at Round Rock’s meet of the state’s best. COURTESY PHOTOHornet cross country turned in a top-10 team finish Friday morning at Round Rock’s meet of the state’s best. COURTESY PHOTO

Goodrich boys cross country represented Polk County with an eighth-place finish at the UIL State Meet Friday morning in Round Rock.

Senior A’Mareion Bookman finished 18th overall with a time of 17:41.2, while Junior Eliseo Garzon was 61st overall with an 18:53.4 time.

Sophomore Joel Resendez (81st), and freshmen Saul Guzman (96th), Marquis Robinson (99th), and Joel MacHuca (107th) were also Hornet competitors.

Coach Lester King said he was proud of his group, and felt they performed well for such a young team.

Comstock’s Sebastian Talamantez was first overall with a 16:25.1 time. Slidell is the team state champions with a score of 73. They were followed by Jayton (78), Comstock (106), Miller Grove (123), Zephyr (130), Sulphur Bluff (168), O’Donnell (219), and Goodrich (222).

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Falling to district champions

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Bulldog junior quarterback Michael Sullivan gets tackled on a short gain.Bulldog junior quarterback Michael Sullivan gets tackled on a short gain.

By Albert Trevino
By Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs suffered a 55-12 blowout loss against the Centerville Tigers to close out the regular season Friday.

While the Bulldog offense was limited in the regular season closer at home, the explosive Centerville offense racked up rushing touchdowns early to run away with their fifth-straight district win in as many tries.

“Coach (Kyle) Hardee has a great group that has come through and they are very senior-heavy this year,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “This group controls the field. When they come out here, they know what to do and are very machine-like.”

With heavy pressure on the Bulldog quarterbacks, Centerville’s defense kept receptions to a minimum and restricted Corrigan to focusing on their inside rush options

“Their defense did a great job of game planning against our play action. I thought we had some success overloading the strong side and running weak,” Ratliff said. “We did have some open receivers, but I knew their pass rush was so aggressive.”

An early fumble by Corrigan allowed Centerville their first possession. The Tigers pounded the ball and finished that drive with senior back Andrew Newman rushing along the right side for a walk-in touchdown.

The Bulldogs were later forced to punt, and a bad snap went into the end zone for a safety, which extended the Centerville lead to 9-0.

Newman followed up by evading several tackles for a 24-yard rushing touchdown to extend the early lead. The Tiger offense continued to exploit the right side, with Newman sprinting 88 yards for another touchdown. That score gave Centerville a comfortable 22-0 lead going into the second quarter.

The Bulldog offense later had their first possession that went into Centerville territory by rushing between the hashes. However, Centerville’s defense made adjustments and forced an incomplete pass on fourth down.

A short pass to senior running back Lamarcus Justice turned into a 70-yard trip to the end zone, which began to open the game wide in Centerville’s favor. Justice wasted no time on the next possession, going 73 yards for a rushing touchdown.

Corrigan would eventually threaten to score after a deep pass to senior receiver Brodgrick Price into the red zone. After senior receiver Ayden Sowders made a reception to get 12 inches outside the goal line, senior back Jarius Hood punched it in for the short rushing touchdown. This put Corrigan on the board with a 35-6 score late in the half.

The Bulldogs came out swinging with an onside kick recovery to start the third quarter. After marching down the field, Corrigan faced a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. A boot play-action toss from Bulldog sophomore quarterback William Ratliff was complete to Hood for a score, which made it a 41-12 game.

Tiger senior Zantayl Holley scored a short rushing touchdown, then freshman Amarius Phillips went 50 yards and into the end zone going into the fourth.

The Bulldogs are expected to play either the Timpson Bears or Garrison Bulldogs for the first playoff round in Lufkin next Friday. Details on the playoff match will be on the Polk County Enterprise Facebook page.

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Lions raided

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 Damorian Hill dives into the pile and over the goal line. Damorian Hill dives into the pile and over the goal line.

By Brian Besch
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Livingston football made the district champions’ work easy Friday, with penalties and turnovers leading to a 56-21 Lumberton win.

On the first play from scrimmage, Livingston threw an interception. It took seven plays for the Raiders to score, going up 7-0. It wouldn’t get much better from there.

The Raiders had 21 points before the Lions could run their fifth offensive play. When they did, Trenden Williams got the carry for 15 yards. The next play he went for five, and a third for 33 yards and a touchdown, to cut into the lead 21-7.

Lumberton scored through the air, on the ground, on special teams, and on defense. A 42-7 lead at the half made the final result obvious. They ran for 198 yards (175 in frst half) and threw for another 193.

“They are everything that is written up about them,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “They are big, fast, strong, skilled and well-coached. They are disciplined, and if you battle with them close and make a mistake, they are going to capitalize on it.”

Livingston scored its final two touchdowns on a 58-yard run by Jaren James and a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Damorian Hill after a seven-play march.

“We missed six opportunities for big plays in the first half where we wanted to go after it and take some shots,” Vanover said. “We had them there and didn’t make the catches on some throws. We had some folks open and we were going to try to get them off of us until we found the right formation that we could run the ball out of.”

Deondre Johnson and Ja’tarius Randolph were able to pressure the quarterback at times. Both Jerren James and Williams had 94 yards rushing and a touchdown. The Lions were called for 11 penalties for 95 yards in the first half, and none in the second. Hill had trouble completing passes, going 2-for-11 for 52 yards and two interceptions. Both completions were to Tristen McCue.

There was nothing special about the Lion special teams, which gave away possessions on a fumbled kickoff return and punt return. The punt team surrendered a touchdown and failed to get a second punt off when snaps were not handled.

“That is as good as a high school defense that you are going to see anywhere. Those guys are going to be playing for a long time this season and in their future. They are loaded with talent. They are fun to coach against and they should be fun to play against if you’re a competitor. They booted us around the field most of the night and at most positions.

“We were our worst enemy and most times, we just flew both feet off with mistakes at the worst possible time. That goes along with the undefeated run that they are. They have won seven in a row because of the characteristics of their talents. We were no match for them tonight, but that is life.”

The Lions will have plenty to work on before the bi-district round of the playoffs next week. The Polk County Enterprise Facebook page will have the updated information on when and where that game is to be played as it becomes available.

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Comeback falls short

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Bulldog sophomore quarterback Michael Sullivan takes a bold run to the pylon for a two-point conversion.Bulldog sophomore quarterback Michael Sullivan takes a bold run to the pylon for a two-point conversion.

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs fought hard, but suffered a 27-22 defeat against the Leon Cougars on Friday

In the road district match in Jewett, the Bulldogs were punched early by Leon, then let some late errors stop a potential winning drive.

“They limited us and put us in a bind trying to score in a hurry,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “We got the ball at the end, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We should have played better early.”

With each lead change, the sense of urgency to pass the ball grew for Corrigan as the Cougar defense held strong when it counted.

“At that point, our run game was out the window, and they did a great job staying disciplined in the secondary,” Ratliff said. “My hats off to Coach Thomas and their players who played really hard. I thought we played hard also.”

The Cougar offense tested Corrigan early with effective option runs and a long catch by senior wide receiver Caden Hughes. This quickly put Leon near the goal line to set up senior running back Gannen Wise to rush for the one-yard touchdown.

Corrigan started things off with a long reverse play, which allowed Bulldog senior Tony Cooper to quickly get into Leon territory. However, a couple of botched handoffs quickly forced Corrigan to punt.

Cougar sophomore Cooper Stevens helped Leon to another scoring drive later by catching it over the middle for a long touchdown pass. The score put the Cougars up 13-0 going into the second quarter.

The Bulldogs started to find new life on their next possession, with freshman Damere Arneson getting a strong run inside the red zone. This helped set up Cooper to make a highly contested catch as he was falling inside the end zone for a Bulldog touchdown. Bulldog junior quarterback Michael Sullivan followed it up on the extra try, taking a bad snap and charging to reach the pylon for two points.

Corrigan’s offense would march down the field again in the late moments of the half. Near the goal line, Sullivan would find the seam on the misdirection play to run inside the end zone for another score. With the extra point, the Bulldogs stole a 15-13 lead at halftime.

The Cougars would come out fighting to start the second half, recovering the opening onside kick to steal a crucial possession. This time, Stephens would run it in to finish Leon’s scoring drive to go back up 19-15 over the Bulldogs.

Arneson fought hard on the next Corrigan possession to get the ball into the red zone. Later, inside the 1-yard line, Bulldog senior Jarius Hood caught the short touchdown pass from Sullivan. After the extra point, Corrigan took the 22-19 lead.

Going into the fourth, Cougar sophomore receiver Landon Thomas made a deep reception to get Leon into Bulldog territory. Cougar senior back Gannen Wise finished it off with a strong effort up the middle for a rushing touchdown to put the Cougars back up 27-22 with a two-point conversion.

The Bulldogs stayed alive on their next possession on a facemask penalty, then again on a Cooper reception. Despite this, Corrigan could not convert a third-straight time and turned the ball over with just minutes left in the game.

It looked like Leon would get the game-winning first down, but fumbled the ball and the Bulldogs would get one last chance. However, a couple of late mistakes in the final seconds kept Corrigan out of enemy territory and short of a victory.

The Bulldogs will play back at home this Friday at 7 p.m. against the West Hardin Oilers.

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