DAWSON — It’s all about keeping a streak alive at Frost, and about killing one at Dawson.
That’s what’s at stake and more Friday night when these two rivals meet in a game that means so much to each team.
“We know if we win and Hubbard beats Wortham that we will clinch a playoff spot,’’ Frost Coach Eric Blenden said. “It means we will make the playoffs in back-to-back years, and that’s only been done once at Frost. We have been talking to the kids about that this week.’’
Last year’s deep run in the playoffs changed the climate at Frost, where the Polar Bears emerged as a Class 1A power, and everyone in Frost wants another trip to the playoffs.
“The goal at the beginning of the year was to go to back-to-back playoffs,’’ Blenden said. “It would be great to be undefeated but at the end of the day it comes down to did you make it to the playoffs or not. This game is huge for us.’’
For Dawson, it’s time to end a losing streak that’s in its third year.
“It would be huge for us to win this game,’’ said first-year Dawson Coach Larry Prince, who has seen his team improve this season. “We’ve seen good progress. It’s always a penalty or a crucial turnover that we don’t seem to overcome. That’s what we’re looking for, to get past that and get over that hump. We need to put together four quarters of football and play a complete game.’’
Dawson comes into the game with is own playoff hopes.
“We’ve talked to the kids about making the playoffs,’’ Prince said. “We’re still fighting for a playoff spot. We can make the playoffs if we win to of our last three games.’’
That could start Friday at home with an upset.
“We went a long time without winning a game, but sometimes it just takes that one win and it explodes,’’ Blenden said of Dawson’s losing streak. “They’re going to play hard. I’ve seen them on film for three games, and they play hard. They are learning a new offense and a new defense, but they are making strides. They have a couple of guys who scare me, (quarterback) Lane Dotson and (running back) Dalton Long.’’
And of course, there is a rivalry factor.
“You can throw away the records when Dawson plays Frost,’’ Blenden said. “We’re so close. A lot of the kids go to the same churches. They know each other.’’
The rivalry adds some spice to the game, but Frost (4-4, 1-1 in District 9-1A DII) is coming off a big 41-12 win over Wortham in which the Polar Bears broke out of a scoreless tie at halftime to run away with the game. Alex Cruz had a monster game, scoring four touchdowns, rushing for two, catching a 6-yard pass for another and returning the second half kickoff for an 85-yard TD. Cruz also intercepted two passes.
“We had a big game from Alex,’’ said Blenden, who lost his most explosive player, Kobe Hailey, to an injury last month. Hailey is out for the season, and Frost went through a three-game losing streak.
“We had that tough stretch against some good teams,’’ Blenden said. “We played good teams but we didn’t play very well. Last week our defense held and we scored 41 points in the second half. We kind of looked like the old Frost team from last year.’’
While Frost wants to capture part of its past and make another runin the playoffs, Dawson is looking toward the future .
The Bulldogs aren’t only playing better this season, but they’re doing it with young blood. Prince is building for the long run and has a team that starts eight freshmen and 16 underclassmen. The Bulldogs will return eight starters on defense and eight on offense next year, including Dotson, who is only a sophomore, and tailback Ian Norwood, another sophomore.
“We have three freshmen on the offensive line who have done pretty well for us, Cody Zellmer, Dakota Greer and Rylan Wade,’’ Prince said.
A win against Frost would make everyone at Dawson feel like they have grown this season and could define a season for the Bulldogs, who would surely celebrate onthe field with a W.
A win for the Polar Bears would mean a taste of history and a celebration all their own.
“There’s not a better feeling,’’ Blenden said. “We were able to finally feel that last year. It was the best feeling just seeing the looks on those young faces.’’
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week