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.’’
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.
GC Basketball; Kerens' Ames signs with Cloud (Kan.) Community College
There's nothing quite like signing day, and Taylor Ames was all smiles and beaming about her future Wednesday when she signed a letter-of-intent, accepting a basketball scholarship to Cloud County Community College in Kansas in front of family, friends and coaches at Kerens, where Ames leaves a legacy like no other.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris
Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
She had no idea.
And she didn't care.
Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.
GC: Mildred's O'Sullivan and Bland chosen to play in FCA All-Star games
Mildred’s Devin O’Sullivan and Callie Bland have been selected to play in the FCA’s All-Star games on June 1.
CHS Baseball: Lindale haunts Tigers again with critical 4-0 win
Lindale has been poison to Corsicana all year.
The Eagles won a bizarre game in Lindale to keep the Tigers out of the football playoffs and ruined the boys basketball season with two gut-wrenching wins in the final week of the season.
They did it again Tuesday, beating the Tigers 4-0 at Price Field to take over second place in the District 16-4A race.
Lindale (6-2) had one big inning to hand Corsicana (5-3) its second loss in a row.
GC Volleyball: Kerens' Kelly signs with Paris Junior College
She prayed about it. She lost sleep about it. And she prayed about it some more.
That's just a glimpse of what Marqueshia Kelly went through before deciding to turn down a half dozen basketball scholarships and accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Paris Junior College.
The journey might have been a little sleepless, but in the end it wasn't that tough for Kelly, who is a multi-sport star at Kerens.
“I followed my heart,'' she said on Tuesday just moments after signing a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Paris in front of family, coaches and friends.
CHS Tennis: Tigers play well in powerhouse region
Corsicana's tennis team finished its season with a strong showing in the Class 4A Regional Tournament at UT-Arlington before falling to some powerhouse players from Dallas.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Blooming Grove edges Mildred 1-0 (Adds Dawson-Hubbard baseball)
Blooming Grove kept its baseball playoff hopes alive, winning a pitcher’s duel, 1-0, in Mildred Tuesday night. Dalton Blake struck out 11 and scattered five hits in a well-pitched game that took an hour and a half to complete.
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