Stallard: Ready for some football? We sure are
By Jack Stallard
Aug. 29, 2013 at 10 p.m.
We made it.
The 2013 high school football season kicked off last night with Gilmer's win over Atlanta and a handful of other area games. For the rest of the teams across the state, tonight marks the beginning of what they hope is a journey that won't end until the second or third week of December in Arlington.
Inside today's newspaper, you'll find the first weekly edition of The Zone. Your weekly guide (for the next 11 weeks) to high school football features a game of the week, predictions, a composite season schedule and capsule previews for 27 East Texas games.
Starting next week, we'll add updated season rushing, passing, receiving and defensive leaders as well as updated standings for 13 East Texas districts.
As always, I welcome your comments or questions. Email me or hit me on Twitter (information is below) or just give me a call at (903) 237-7760.
This week's <strong><em>GAME I'D PAY TO SEE IF I HAD TO PAY TO SEE GAMES</em>:</strong> Van at Pine Tree.
I'll admit I made this pick based in large part due to the venue, but I also expect Pine Tree and Van to put on another good show for the fans.
A year ago, Van notched a 41-28 win over the Pirates in a game that was tied at 14-14 after one quarter. I'm anxious to see how much Pine Tree's defense has improved under new coordinator Barry Bowman.
As for the new Pirate Stadium? First class all the way is the word I've been hearing.
I enjoyed covering games at old Pine Tree Stadium. Little cramped in the pressbox with the writers and scouts all in one section, but I was always able to do my job and there was usually plenty of pizza so no complaints here.
Still, the new stadium should be a source of pride for Pine Tree especially and Longview in general.
<h3>PICK A WINNER</h3>
Fans can be a part of the action this high school football season by logging on to pickem.etvarsity.com to play our Made-Rite Company/Dr Pepper Pigskin Pick'Em contest.
We'll select 20 area high school football games each week of regular season play for the public to pick the winners. If you pick correctly, you get a point.
The player with the most points at the end of each week will win a prize from one of our sponsors. At the end of the first 11 weeks, the player with the most points from their top 6 weeks will be named grand champion and win a one-year supply of Dr Pepper.
<h3>FROM ET TO THE NFL</h3>
Beginning this week and continuing throughout the regular high school season, I'll take a look at some of the East Texas high school players currently on NFL rosters.
This week: Longview's Josh Scobee (Jacksonville Jaguars), Trent Williams (Washington Redskins) and Chris Ivory (New York Jets).
Scobee, a fifth-round draft pick by the Jaquars in 2004, is set to begin his 10th NFL season and he's sixth all-time in games played for Jacksonville.
Scobee has connected on 192 of 240 field goals and 272 of 276 extra points in his career. A year ago he hit 25 of 28 field goal attempts and 18 of 19 PATs.
Williams will begin his fourth season after becoming the furth overall selection in the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season.
Ivory is starting his fourth season in the NFL out of Tiffin University. He played his first three years with the New Orleans Saints, and enters the 2013 campaign with 1,307 rushing yards and eight TDs – averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
(Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/lnjsports" target="_blank">@lnjsports</a>).