By JUSTIN RAINS
The Oakwood football team opens district play Saturday, but to do so, the Panthers have to travel more than 220 miles.
The Panthers (4-2) head down to High Island, which is halfway between Texas City and Port Arthur along the gulf coast, to take on the Cardinals (5-1-1, 1-0).
It’s the longest trip any local team will make all season, and OHS coach Mike Heckathorn said the thinks the trip will have an affect.
“It’ll be the first time most of them have ever seen the ocean and it’s going to be an experience for them,” he said. “We had a really good week of work outs last week and we duplicated it this week, so as far as being prepared I think we’ll be able to go down there and execute.”
Oakwood got back in the win column last week, topping Emory-Wiener 78-48.
The game shapes up to be a big one for both teams, with possible playoff implications.
With Apple Springs currently 7-0 and rolling along to what seems to be an inevitable — though not certain — playoff spot, that leaves only one spot left from District 16, Division I.
The winner of Saturday’s matchup would go along way toward becoming that team.
“That’s what we’ve been telling the kids all week,” Heckathorn said. “It’s a must-win situation, really.”
The Cardinals come into the game hot, winners of four-straight since their lone loss of the year, a 53-40 loss at the hands of Sugar Land’s Logos Prep Academy.
Since then, High Island is scoring almost 50 points per game, while giving up only seven.
The Cardinals opened district play last week with a 58-6 win on the road at Chester.
“I don’t think they’ve seen our speed,” Heckathorn said. “I think if we play up to our capabilities, then we can win this thing, and I think that we will.”
Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at High Island’s Cardinals Nest Stadium (6th St. at High School Road, High Island, Texas 77623).
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org