Coming off a crucial district win over Garrison, the Crockett Bulldogs continue their push toward the state playoffs with a road game against the Hemphill Hornets on Friday, Oct. 31.
The Bulldogs must win one of their last two games to lock up a post-season ticket, and their focus this week is taking care of business at Hemphill.
Hemphill remains winless in district after playing Deweyville (34-18), Corrigan (52-0) and Garrison (40-0), but posted three non-district victories over Hull-Daisetta (22-14), West Hardin (50-0) and Burkeville (50-6). The Hornets suffered losses against West Sabine (20-29) and San Augustine (57-6).
Newton (3-0) is perched atop the district after winning a showdown with Corrigan 44-26. Corrigan and Garrison are both 2-1, followed by Crockett and Deweyville at 1-2, and Hemphill at 0-3.
The Bulldogs hope to build on momentum from their 45-14 win over Garrison.
"We played with a lot of intensity on both sides of the ball, and our special teams did a good job," said Bulldog head coach Jimmy Thompson. "I think the kids understood the importance of this game and they came out and responded. Especially after going on the road the last two weeks against two of the top five or six teams in the state, I thought we came back and played real well."
After leading 28-14 at halftime, the Bulldogs scored two touchdowns early in the second half on a pick-six and a long punt return that gave Crockett a 28-point cushion.
"That was our first punt return touchdown we've had all year," noted Thompson.
"Statistically we didn't have a big night on offense. We only had 50 or 60 yards the second half. By the time we touched the ball offensively, we were already up 42-14," said Thompson.
"After that it was just a matter of trying to run the clock."
The game started with Don Gilbert returning the opening kickoff 44 yards to Garrison's 41 yard line. "That was our best kick return this year," the coach said.
Defensively, Thompson gave the Bulldog defense high marks overall, except for two lapses that resulted in big pass plays by Garrison.
The coach added, "We had a great game. It was a big night for our kids."
Heading into their final two games, Thompson said the Dogs must continue playing at a high intensity level.
"We've played with intensity pretty much the whole year, except for the second half against Newton when I felt like we regressed," Thompson said. "But we obviously shook that off against Garrison and came out and played well."
Thompson said he's seen improvement every game since the season opener.
"I really felt like we've progressed almost weekly. We want to be the best that we can be that first week of the playoffs, if we're in there," he said. "We're still a program that's in its infant stages. We try to make sure we take positive steps each week. If we can do that, then we'll at least maximize our potential."