Fans of five Henderson County playoff football teams have already begun filling up the family van, writing positive support messages with shoe polish on the windows, while mom is remembering to leave a big bowl of Gravy Train for Rover.

These folks are headed to one of this state’s greatest claims to fame — Texas High School Football.

The Athens Hornets bi-district contest with last year’s state finalist, LaVega, doesn’t begin until 2 p.m. Saturday at Hanby Stadium in Mesquite, but Hornet fans were already gearing up with a big pep-rally Thursday night at Bruce Field.

Their fans are tickled silly by the fact that nobody but the Hornets had any idea this bunch would be going to the state playoffs after getting off to a disastrous start.

But like the old saying goes, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat-lady sings.”

So, come 2 p.m. Saturday, the Hornets will be right there lining up against a football heavyweight (LaVega) with every expectation of winning.

Never mind the modest 4-6 record; this team is looking for respect, and there’s no better place to find it than in Hanby Stadium Saturday.

By the time you read this, one of the five Henderson County playoff teams, Malakoff, will have already advanced to the next round, or been eliminated from the Class 2A tournament.

See sports page for more information.

Malakoff fans strolled into a pasture near the high school Thursday night, and then touched off a huge bon fire that illuminated excited Tiger fans, who were being led by cheerleaders in support of their favorite team.

A team that had lost 19 of its previous 20 games, shocked East Texas fans this Fall by winning eight of 10 under new Coach Jamie Driskoll, who sold this bunch on the value of team work.

Fans in Brownsboro will have to wait even longer than Hornet fans to get rid of the butterflies in their respective bellies.

The (8-1) Bears are right where people thought they’d be, teeing it up at 8 p.m. Saturday at Tiger Stadium against 7-3 Lorena in Corsicana.

The Leopards are fresh from a 49-42 win over Mexia, a team that took Athens apart early before the Hornets got it together.

If you’ve just got to have some football before this day is over, and your team didn’t make the playoffs, you could follow Eustace fans up U .S. 175 late this afternoon for a bi-district showdown between an oft-injured, but explosive bunch of Dogs. They’re healthy again, which means their 4-6 record is deceiving.

Coach Doug Wendel hopes his team can make that point against a very tough Farmersville bunch tonight.

In the few games in which they were healthy this year, the Dogs unveiled a powerful option offense that averaged 49 points a contest. That probably won’t happen this time, but bones should rattle in Hanby tonight.

Wendel has gone on record, saying he believes his team has a great chance to win.

Fans of the perennially-powerful 6-man Trinidad Trojans, need only drive to Hubbard (not all that far from Waco) on State Highway 31, to watch their team get it on with Abbott at Jaguar Stadium tonight.

The Trojans may have lost an uncharacteristic three games in the regular season, but nobody in six-man football can match the tough schedule Coach Kevin Ray has put his team through. He hopes all that seasoning will be invaluable in tonight’s contest.

This one gets under way at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, this reminder: The last fan out of Trinidad, and the last fan out of Eustace needs to turn out the lights when they leave.

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