By JUSTIN RAINS
In a seven-team football district, all teams’ playoff odds are slightly diminished thanks to the sheer number of teams.
That makes games like the one Frankston has Friday all the more important.
With district-leading Winona looming next week, the Indians welcome in Union Grove to Jeff and Opal Austin Stadium (100 W Perry St — Frankston, Texas 75763) for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off.
The game is made even bigger by the fact that the Lions (2-3, 1-0) beat West Rusk last week, a team that was supposed to figure in the playoff discussion while Union Grove was not.
“It’s huge. We get Union Grove, who beat West Rusk last week and most people in the district would’ve said that it would’ve been Frankston and West Rusk fighting for that third playoff spot,” FHS coach Matt Nally said. “It’s a wake-up call to the district that this district is kind of wide-open. It seems like everybody needs to come play their A-game Friday nights.”
Both of the Lions’ victories this season have come on their home field, while they are winless on the road.
While Nally thinks that could be a factor, it doesn’t mean his team can just come out expecting Union Grove to lay down for every road game.
“Hopefully it’s something we can key on,” Nally said. “People don’t understand, Union Grove is a good team. This a good football team, so for them to come to our place, I’m excited.
“At the same time, if we don’t execute, they can win their first road game of the year.”
Frankston had last week off for its bye week, and last took the field in a 15-7 loss to Alto Sept. 21.
Nally said the bye week did his team good, and the Indians come into the district slate well-rested and as healthy as they’ve been all season.
“The bye week is fantastic...everybody needs a little break,” he said. “Some of our kids have healed up, but we still have some kids that are limping around. As a whole, we’re pretty healed up.”
Frankston will play the game without receiver Cory Winks (12 catches for 100 yards this season) who is battling an injury.
Union Grove will present a challenge up front on both sides of the ball just because of sheer size.
The Lions’ defense is led by middle linebacker Garrett Gibson, who Nally called a “tackling machine.”
Offensively, it’s the first team that will line up tight and try and run over the Indian defense.
“All year long we’ve seen the spread, from scrimmages on,” Nally said. “It’s the first team that’ll line up in the wing-t and the wishbone and they’ll try and run it right at you. The big key for us is to not get pushed around.”
Jonesboro at OAKWOOD
Panther Field in Oakwood will play host to yet another top-10 matchup, according to sixmanfootball.com, Friday.
Oakwood, ranked seventh in Division I by the site, hosts Division II No. 8 Jonesboro Friday.
Oakwood (3-1) is coming off of its bye week, but routed Trinidad, 72-26, last time out.
The Eagles put up 78 points last week in a big win over Dublin Premier, bouncing back from a 60-36 loss to Zephyr the week before.
Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Oakwood’s Panther Field (Holly St. at Knowles St., Oakwood, Texas, 75855).
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org