Much like he did last season, Steve Almuete will don Bobcat green Friday night in Kerens.
But instead of standing on the Kerens sideline, he'll be wearing the headset for the Cross Roads Bobcats in the two teams' 6-1A, Division I opener Friday.
"I think our kids will be up for playing against him," Kerens coach Russell Anderson said Tuesday. "They thought a lot of him and had a lot of respect for him.”
Almuete has spent the better part of the last decade at Dawson, Blooming Grove and Kerens, and he took over for Anderson while he missed time dealing with cancer last season. Almuete was hired at Cross Roads in the spring and has since piloted the Bobcats to a 2-3 record, already an improvement from back-to-back one-win seasons.
"He's done a top-notch job over there," Anderson said. "From watching the film we traded, they're playing hard and fundamentally sound, and they're definitely a team you have to take notice of."
Anderson said he and Almuete remain in contact during the season, talking weekly — though maybe not this week.
"We talk more when we don't play each other," Anderson said.
The Bobcats return to the field this week ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll, one spot behind Alto, which Kerens defeated 21-7 before last week's bye.
Though Cross Roads is a team in rebuilding mode, Anderson knows Almuete will be ready for Kerens.
"We know he's a good football coach and will have his team ready," Anderson said. "We're going to preach to our kids to be mentally prepared and ready to play."
Sports Editor Joe Zigtema can be reached at joe@