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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cats 4-0 after another runaway face stiffer opponent Friday in 5A Pine Tree

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Longview Pine Tree HS vs Kennedale @ Wildcat Stadium 7:00 PM Friday, October 9, 2020

It has been hard times for Athletic Director Richard Barrett this year. He firmly believes that his teams have to face tough opponents to better themselves and to invaluable game experience for the playoffs. (Note: The Wildcats have not missed the playoffs in 19 years.) Normally, for Barrett that requires a full schedule.

But this late in the season, Barrett has been dealing with filling empty Friday night slots. Short of getting out the mules and putting the team in a wagon in search of a team to play, Barrett has considered all options.

A case in point is this week’s game against Pine Tree, a 5A high school out of Longview which was just recently scheduled. In looking for games for this week, Barrett had called schools in Texas as well as in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

He thought he had a possible game with a Louisiana high school playing midway at Longview. It didn’t work out. Another option was a possible game with Bryan Rudder High School. It fell through. Then the call came from Pine Tree Head Coach Kerry Lane. The Pirates had an open date this week and were willing to travel. Game on. Buy tickets

About Pine Tree ...

Pine Tree High School is part of Longview ISD, playing in District 9-5A Division II. District members include Mt Pleasant, Nacogdoches, Texas (Texarkana), White House, Marshall, Hallsville, and Jacksonville.

The high school is about 2.5 hours east of here and reported last year’s enrollment of 1,284. Kennedale reported 955 students.

The Pine Tree Pirates are 2-0 this year after beating Princeton 55-30 and Crandall 63-28, both are 5A teams. Texas High School Football Magazine (THSF) has the Pirates finishing in 3rd place in district play.

According to THSF, Pine Tree returns a strong core of players from last year’s team that went 5-6 and finished 4th in district. Heading the list is senior QB DJ Freeman who had 2,216 yards passing with 20 TDs and another 16 TDs on 1,160 yards rushing. Senior running back Tyler Sheffield was good for another 1,110 yards and 10 TD. Senior linebackers Ryan Levingston and Dallas Dixon led the defense. Levingston had 80 tackles with 6 for loss and 2 sacks. Dixon recorded 75 tackles, 9 for loss, and 7 sacks.

THSF notes that the team has “solid depth and leadership” with eight returning starting offensive players and seven on defense. And According to THSF, coaches can plug any holes with players from last year’s 9-1 JV team.

There will be no runaway this week. This game should be a true test for the still learning Wildcats.

Benbrook vs Kennedale battle for district title next week …

According to COVID-19 instigated scheduling this year, the Kennedale Wildcats have captured their side of District 6/4A DI play with dominating wins over Carter-Riverside (69-0, Eastern Hills (50-0) and Dunbar (57-0).

On the other side of the district, Benbrook (2-0) seems to be number one seed depending on the outcome of a game with Diamond Hill (0-2) this week. The Benbrook Bobcats have already taken down district opponents Western Hills (40-0) and Castleberry (54-14).

Backstory …

Before the season started this year, the district coaches decided to split the district in half and add a playoff for the district championship halfway through the district season. This was done just in case the season was cut short due to pandemic concerns.

After the Benbrook game, Kennedale will continue to play games against the remaining district teams to complete the regular season.

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