10 Observations from Malakoff’s 22-20 loss to Kemp

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

MALAKOFF — The Kemp Yellowjackets kept their district record perfect Friday night, beating the Malakoff Tigers 22-20 to end the regular season.

The key play came with less than two minutes left when, with the score tied 20-20 and Malakoff lining up for an extra point to take its first lead of the game, a Kemp player leaped over the Malakoff line to block the kick. The ball was tracked down by Yellowjacket Jaise Bowie and returned 78 yards for a Kemp 2-point conversion.

It was a game of big plays, big penalties, injuries, shifting momentum and an unmistakable undertone of animosity.

As always, here are my 10 Observations and Game Balls.

File photo

— Let’s deal with the blocked extra point right up front. The Malakoff sideline and stands were upset a flag wasn’t thrown for a Kemp player leaping over the Tiger center. I spoke briefly with the referee after the game and he said the Kemp player jumped through a gap in the line and that is legal, so that is why there was no flag. Either way, you have to give credit to Yellowjacket Jaise Bowie for making a big play when it looked like Malakoff was going to complete a most improbable comeback.

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TVCC Cardinals finish up spring practices at Bruce Field Saturday

Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

While the NFL was at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Saturday, wrapping up the annual player pageant called the draft, an elite Texas football team was actually using its field for its intended purpose.

And, no, I don’t mean the Cowboys.

The TVCC Cardinals finished their spring practice schedule with the Annual Spring Game at Bruce Field in Athens Saturday morning.

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No. 3 TVCC is set to take on No. 14 Blinn Saturday night

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

This is what it means to play in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference: a third straight week against a nationally ranked opponent.

No. 3-ranked Trinity Valley Community College (3-0, 2-0) will travel to Brenham Saturday night to take on the No. 14 Blinn Buccaneers (2-0, 2-0).

“I expect it to be another great game,” said TVCC Coach Brad Smiley. “I tell our kids every week, ‘Hey all you freshmen, every week’s a game.'”

Saturday night will match two teams that are leaning on their defenses early in the season.

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Athens gets ready for first road trip, Red Oak

(Podcast: Listen to Coach Essary talk about last week’s loss to Fairfield and the upcoming game against Red Oak above.)

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Athens Hornets will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Red Oak to take on the Hawks Friday night.

Both teams are 1-1 to start the season.

The Hawks will provide a good challenge for the Hornets.

“Red Oak is a good football team; well coached,” said Athens Head Coach Paul Essary.

Essary said Red Oak will be the biggest team the Hornets have seen so far this season.

“The play hard and the execute well,” Essary said.

The Hawks like to run the ball and stopping that will be a key for the Hornets.

“We’re going to have to be physical on the defensive side,” Essary said. “On the offensive side we’re going to have to stay on our blocks and execute. We’re going to have to start catching the football a little bit better, and we’re working on that.”

The Hawks are a Class 5A school, so they have a bigger student population, but that doesn’t worry Athens.

“They’re going to dress out 50 to 60 players on the sideline. They’re twice the size school we are,” said Essary. “But that’s OK, you only put 11 out on the field at a time. It doesn’t matter how many are on the sideline.”

“We’re going to line up and get after it,” he said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Red Oak.

TVCC moves up to No. 3; set to face third straight ranked team

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals (3-0, 2-0) moved up a spot to No. 3 in the nation when the NJCAA Football Poll Committee rankings came out Tuesday. 

Those same rankings, however, ensured that the Cards will play a nationally ranked team for the third consecutive week. Blinn entered the rankings at No. 14 this week.

TVCC will travel to Brenham, Texas to take on Blinn (2-0, 2-0) Saturday.

“We are blessed to have another opportunity to play an unbeaten team, and our third consecutive to play a team ranked in the top 14 in the nation,” said Coach Brad Smiley. “As for our ranking, it is good to be recognized as a program, but we all know rankings only matter at the end of the year. We will just focus on going 1 and 0 this week.”

Kickoff Saturday is scheduled for 7 p.m.

I will be in Brenham Saturday night and plan to live stream the game on Henderson County Now’s Facebook page.