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Lions to invade Vidor

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102022 lions advance

By Brian Besch
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Lion football will need to recover from a 35-12 loss to Little Cypress-Mauriceville quickly, because a physical team awaits them in the Golden Triangle Friday. Livingston is now 3-4 on the season, but 1-1 in district. The 1-1 mark in 10-4A Div. I ties them with LC-M, Hargrave, and Vidor. Lumberton sits atop the league with a 2-0 mark.

“It is going to be a physical deal and Vidor plays like they always have,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said of this week’s opponent. “They play like they weigh 250 pounds and run 4.4 40s. There may not be a guy on the team over 200 pounds, but they play with great passion and toughness. If we can match their passion for the game and it is that important to us, I think our skill level can take over and put us on top. Their entire program is built on toughness. If it is a scheduled 15-round fight, they want to go 18. We just have to match their desire to play fast and tough.

“We are shorthanded and we need to make some changes on some things that we were really getting good at, both defensively and offensively. Without Connor in there, things have to change.”

Defensive end and running back Connor Starr was hobbled after a run Friday with an ankle sprain. He will not be available Friday versus the Pirates. 
“That happens to everybody and you have to be able to replace folks. That’s why you have a bench and depth and why everyone has been practicing the whole time,” Vanover said. “Someone has to rise up and fill in. We don’t have one guy that will be able to do all the things that he did, but we have three or four on both sides of the ball that can give us the same thing he gave us at defensive end and running back.

Penalties have continued to be a problem for the Lions. It is an area the team can clean up that will show immediate results.

“We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot the other night, we blew our whole leg off. We looked like Alabama on Saturday with their record-setting penalty performance. It destroys the greatest teams. We had about 125 yards of offense and possibly two scoring possessions called back on penalties that we created. Every one of them were game-changing momentum stoppers.”

There is no wondering what the Vidor offense will look like. For the past couple of decades, Coach Jeff Mathews and the Pirates have been in a Slot-T and are very likely to lead the district in rushing once again. They now have 2,198 yards as a team, over 300 more than Livingston, who is next on that list. It is rare that they pass (186 yards on the season), but defensive backs have to be on alert for the surprise.

Jason Watson has 678 yards and an average of 6.52 per carry, good for third in the district. Daigen Venable is two spots behind with 451 yards and a 5.43 average. Dane Villadsen rounds out the top 10 with 314 yards, but an average of 8.49 per tote.“They all trained under Curtis Barbay and will give you a wing to one side and a nasty slot to the other, a two-back offset, or all three of them in the backfield. They use motion, but will attack those off-tackle gaps like crazy. They use the counter and then the buck sweep. They sprint to the line and snap the ball. When you start coming down, they throw it over your head. You have to be simple and sound and tough in what you do defensively. The defensive backs can’t come and help until they know he’s broken the line of scrimmage with the ball. It isn’t fun to coach against or play against, but it is pretty fun to watch. They are going to bust a couple and we have to match them immediately.”

This week, more than any other, the Lions will need to get off to a good start. They were in a 14-0 hole versus Little Cypress-Mauriceville just a few minutes into the game. A start like that this week may put the team in a position from which they cannot recover.
Vidor will again be in a 50-front defense. They are lacking the size the team possessed last year, but the coach says this year’s version makes up for it in effort.

“They are aggressive and real quick. I don’t think there’s a guy on their defense over 200 pounds. They explode off the ball real fast and get from A to B. You have to get in there after them and hammer them just like they want to do. They pursue like crazy and if somebody gets beat, there are three more covering for them about six yards later. They are extremely well coached on both sides of the ball at what they do. They understand the parameters of their talent. From a pure coaching standpoint, it is a pleasure to watch them.”

Livingston’s Zaylon Bogany leads the district in tackles for loss with nine, but just behind him are a pair of Pirates. Tate Ardis has eight and Blayden Laughlin has seven. Those two are also a few of the team’s leading tacklers, along with Bryce Dubois, Westin Baker, Aiden Vallafano, Kruz Lozano and Brayden Root. Jason Watson leads 10-4A in sacks with six.

A large step toward the postseason was taken two weeks ago when the Lions were able to defeat Hargrave. Additional wins will improve seeding that would make the first-round game more advantageous.

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in our kids,” the coach said of his team. “We had a great Saturday after a bitter, disappointing thing. There was a bunch of walking wounded in here Saturday morning and a lot of it was just the psychology of it and exacerbated by a loss. Their pride was hurt as bad as their bodies were and made it feel worse. I love our kids to death and they are doing everything they can to win. They are playing tough.” 

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Bulldogs superior in shutout victory

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100922 corrigan football

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs dominated week one of district play with a 51-0 shutout win against the Normangee Panthers Friday.

The Bulldog offense had one of its strongest performances in recent history and managed to score at will with multiple playmakers as the game progressed.

“This game allowed us to be more multiple on offense, which is what we had been working on during the open week.” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “We were able to open up tonight and it was fun.”

Corrigan’s defense was also back in full form, delivering its first shutout of the year.

“That was our goal all along. Coach (Amaro) Villareal said it was time to shut somebody out.” Ratliff said. “We played some good football teams and had points scored on us, but we held out teams when we needed to.”

Bulldog senior quarterback Christian Guzman returned under center to start Friday’s game and broke away for a huge gain into the red zone.
However, the Bulldogs were unable to cash in points and turned the ball over on a fourth-and-goal.

Normangee suffered a quick three-and-out to start and Corrigan would quickly get another short field. This time, Bulldog senior running back Ja’Varion Williams would take the snap and break tackles for an early touchdown run.

The Bulldog offense found another spark late in the first quarter with Guzman throwing a bomb to Williams into the red zone. This set up a walk into the end zone by senior Anthony Harrell to extend the early lead.

Early in the second quarter, Guzman would keep the ball and take it all the way for a long touchdown to make it a three-score game.

Things got even worse for the Panthers with the following short kickoff recovered by Corrigan. Harrell would finish that drive going up the middle near the goal line for another Bulldog touchdown.

Guzman continued to strike gold with the run attack, speeding past the right side for a long touchdown run. Bulldog junior receiver Tony Cooper also caught a touchdown pass in the second to help put the game away several minutes before halftime.

With a comfortable 42-0 halftime lead, Harrell later intercepted a pass attempt from Panther senior quarterback Kade Stone in the third quarter. This set up a late touchdown run by Williams.

Bulldog senior kicker Pablo Jimenez capped off the night in the fourth quarter with a 35-yard field goal in the closing minutes.

Corrigan will host its next district game this Friday against the Leon Cougars, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.

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An offensive explosion in Huffman

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100922 lion footballQuarterback Ta McNeal (right) celebrates with lineman Bryce Stiegler after a touchdown. Photos by Aisley Garrett

By Brian Besch
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Behind their most impressive offensive output in many years, the Livingston Lions steamrolled the Hargrave Falcons 69-34 in Huffman Friday.

Tied at 21 near the end of the first half, Livingston scored two touchdowns in the final 1:47 to go up 34-21 before the break.

“We played fast and physical and sound as can be,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “We got some penalties, but they were all aggressive penalties that we committed. They matched us score for score and they wouldn’t go away. We found two or three little things that they had no capability of stopping and we just stayed in it. Offensively, we were absolutely amazing.”

The Falcons were able to stay in the game behind 355 yards passing from quarterback Justin Evans.

Once again, the offensive line was key to Livingston’s success. Hargrave did not have an answer for a unit that bludgeoned them for 235 rushing yards in the first half and 403 rushing yards for the game.

“We absolutely mugged them up front,” Vanover said. “They were pass blocking our defense like crazy to begin with and we couldn’t get a rush. We gave up a couple of big scores because we couldn’t get a rush, but the minute we started getting to the passer, it was over. We told them that nobody plays them this way, and nobody attacks them unmercifully and dares them man to man. It was a great team victory on both sides of the ball.”

The first Lion possession of the second half produced a 15-play, 55-yard drive of over eight minutes for a touchdown. The coach said the plan at halftime was executed well.

“We told them that if we can run 11 minutes off the clock in that first possession, we’re going to do it. You’d better be patient and you better be excited and happy that we’re making three and four yards each play. We were going to make (Hargrave) like it all the way down the field. We needed to be ruthless in that first drive and get points and take a ton of time off that clock, and we did it.”

Vanover said Friday was the most impressive offensive performance since he has been at Livingston.

Quarterback Ta McNeal added 133 yards and two touchdowns through the air, both to Chevy Peters. McNeal needed just one passing attempt in the second half.

McNeal also scored on the ground – along with Landon Leggett, Trendon Williams and three from Connor Starr.

The Lions put up points in all three phases, with a blocked punt by Connor Starr resulting in a recovery in the end zone, and a 92-yard fumble recovery by McNeal.

Starr had 12 carries for 116 yards and Williams carried nine times for 103 yards to lead the Lions. The quarterbacks also combined for 100 yards, as McNeal had 68 and sophomore Demorian Hill had 40.

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Polk County Football District Standings

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092922 pce fb standings

DISTRICT 10-4A Division I

                                           District   Overall
School                               W-L        W-L     PF       PA

Lumberton                          0-0          4-1      218    128
Little Cypress-Mauriceville 0-0          2-2      114     68
Huffman Hargrave              0-0          2-3       87      173
Livingston                           0-0          2-3      113     166
Vidor                                   0-0          2-3      114     151
Splendora                           0-0         1-4        55     179

Columbus 42, Huffman Hargrave 7
La Grange 38, Splendora 7
Livingston 21, Madisonville 9
Lumberton 48, Tatum 42
Vidor 22, TC-Addison 14
Spring Legacy at Little
Cypress-Mauriceville, 7:30 p.m.

DISTRICT 12-2A Division I

                              District  Overall
School                  W-L        W-L     PF     PA

Corrigan-Camden 0-0          5-0      201   123
Centerville             0-0          3-2      135   105
West Hardin          0-0          2-3       95     125
Groveton               0-0          1-4       82    118
Normangee           0-0          0-4       28     206
Leon                      0-0          0-5       81     243

West Hardin 20, Hull-Daisetta 14
Alto 32, Groveton 20
Corrigan-Camden 56, Hempstead 20
Lovelady 50, Leon 7
Buffalo 46, Normangee 0
Centerville 30, Jefferson 28
No games scheduled



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Tony Munson Relays

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092922 lion ccLivingston boys cross country were runners up at the Tony Munson Relays in Liberty. The Livingston girls finished ninth in Liberty. Courtesy photo

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