Dawson's Bulldogs take the field

Photo/Zac Byrd

Bodey Martinez (15) leads the way as Dawson's Bulldogs take the field at Waco ISD, where they opened their season last month. The Bulldogs play their biggest game of the year Friday when they meet Hubbard in the Highway 31 Rivalry game.

This is one of the biggest weeks of the season because finally everyone in the Golden Circle will be playing district games from now on.

This is the real season.

Corsicana’s Tigers started early because they play in a nine-team district, and Mildred, Rice and Blooming Grove are two games into the District 7-3A race, but Kerens finally opens district play this week and the three GC teams -- Dawson, Frost and Hubbard -- that play in District 11-2A DII open play this week.

There’s no bigger game in the GC than the one in Hubbard, where the Jaguars host Dawson’s Bulldogs in the Highway 31 Rivalry game.

This is always a big game between the two neighbors that share the same highway, and this year’s showdown is a beauty.

Both teams are 4-1 and both returned a lot of talent from playoff teams a year ago.

Dawson won last year’s game in Dawson 28-13 but the two rivals ended up tied for second with Frost because Frost knocked off Dawson and then Hubbard beat Frost in the Mudbowl at Hubbard.

Hubbard has 19 returning players and the Jags have played like it, winning four of five games, including their last district warmup with a big victory over Cayuga.

Hubbard’s Big 3 -- Logan Morrison, Cooper Martin and Chance Hasse have all had big seasons already and are at the heart of Hubbard’s success.

Coach Russell Anderson says this is his best team at Hubbard since 2015, and the folks at Hubbard would like nothing better than to put an exclamation point on that sentence with a win over Dawson.

Dawson’s got it’s own bright lineup, starting with quarterback Brendan Horner, who leads the Bulldogs every way.

Jakoby Moore is off and running and a key for Dawson along with the Hamilton Twins, Da’Mariyea and Ja’Mariyea. The twins have both had breakout moments in the first five games.

Coach Ronnie Striplin says the biggest difference in this Dawson team -- the best in years -- is that the seniors are his kids.

“The seniors have been with me since the start,” he said, referring to the fact they were sophomores for his first team three years ago.

The seniors grew up during Dawson’s four-year losing streak and can appreciate the success the team is having now as much or more than anyone.

But it’s the same story at both Dawson and Hubbard — If you could win just one game, both teams would pick this one.

It will loud and crowded at Jaguar Stadium.

Get there early and stay till the end. It should be a classic.

Kerens opens district play this week at home against Cross Roads, and this will be a big week for the Bobcats who can make everyone in Kerens happy by getting their first win of the season.

This is the youngest team in years at Kerens, and nothing will help the growing pains like getting a victory.

The only thing better than that would be a win in the district opener.

That’s my prediction: Kerens 28, Cross Roads 20.

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