Hico welcomes Tolar while other area teams hit road

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Hico looks to wrap up Tolar Friday the way the Tigers did Dublin last week. || The Flash Today photo by RUSSELL HUFFMAN

TOLAR AT HICO
7:30 p.m. Friday at Tiger Stadium

Hico opens its new era under head coach Randy Thornton by being invovled in the game of the week from our crop of area schools for the second straight week.
Tiger fans shouldn’t mind, as it worked pretty well last wee with a 23-8 win over Dublin giving Thornton a vcitory to build on, and one over his own coach years ago and a lifelong mentor in head Lion Bob Cervetto.
Now it’s the first home game for Thornton, and it’s a tough customer that’s making the short trip to try and spoil the fun.

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LAST YEAR:
It wasn’t much fun last year, as Tolar dominated Hico, 47-13. Nobody would have ever predicted in that week 2 matchup that neither Keith Wood or Mike Franklin wold be on the sidelines for this one Friday.
NEW ON NEW:
Which brings up our next point. It’s all new head coaches who are meting up tonight as Jeremy Mullins takes over the Tolar program after serving as co-defensive coordinator at Saginaw Boswell, which reached a regional final in the 5A rankslast year. Thornton, we know, spent the past 10 years as head coach at Santo, where the Wildcats reached the Region II-2A Division II final in 2014.
THE OPENERS:
Thornton and the Tigers didn’t exactly have a walk in the park last week as Dublin was ahead 8-7 for a brief stint in the first half and was within one score until the fourth quarter. In the end, though, the Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage the bulk of the night, and with momentum in the balance, quarterback Briley Johnson broke off a 50 yard run on an option keeper in the third quarter and Dublin never responded.
Week 1 wasn’t as enjoyable for Mullins in his first game leading the Rattlers. Of course, playing Crawford is rarely fun for anyone. Tolar lost, 26-6, after Crawford had jumped out to a 20-0 lead with help in the form of two takeaways on fumbles an a pair of ill-timed Rattler horse collar penalties. Bryan Morgan made his debut as the starting QB for Tolar, and Jacob Sparks rushed the lone Rattler TD.
FOURTH STRAIGHT MEETING:
These teams are meeting for the fourth straight year, and oddly, it was two of the best Tolar teams in recent memory that lost to Hico, before the Rattlers dominated the Tigers last season. Following its magical semifinal run in 2013, the Tigers pulled off a massive upset of Tolar, 20-19, in 2014. The Tigers won again, 28-21, in 2015 before the Rattlers rolled to last season’s 34-point win.

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DUBLIN AT ALBANY
7:30 p.m. Friday at Robert Nail Memorial Stadium

Dublin is looking to bounce back from that season opening loss to Hico, and Albany is a tough bounce back foe. It’s Lions vs. Lions, and Albany’s bunch beat Colorado City, two levels above them and a likely playoff team, in a 28-0 shutout a week ago.
The Lions found tough sledding against Hico, and against Albany it won’t get any easier, so Dublin will have to correct its mistakes and be in top form.
Albany head coach Denney Faith is nearing – if he’s not there yet – legendary status in the small school ranks, and he may have himself another title contender. His red Lions, not  Dublin’s green ones, went 40-5  from 2014-16, including their 2015 2A Division II championship, a title that was a long time coming for Faith and company.

De Leon at Winters
7:30 p.m. Friday at Blizzard Stadium|

De Leon is fresh off a 50-0 victor over Baird and this week gets Chris Cox back after the versatile standout sat out last week with a slightly sprained ankle suffered during a scrimmage. Cox is fine, and the Bearcats will be this week, as well. Winters lost 42-7 last week to a San Saba team that isn’t on the Bearcats’ level.
LINGLEVILLE – IDLE
STEPHENVILLE FAITH – IDLE

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