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Postseason field features perennial powers, surprises

By Hayden Henry
Nov. 9, 2013 at 11 p.m.


No matter who beat who, who was ranked where or what it took to get to this point, part one of the 2013 high school football season is in the books.

Part two is where the real fun begins.

It comes as no surprise that the playoff bracket is full of East Texas teams and while some are making their annual appearances, for others, it's been a return to the postseason years in the making.

Marshall, Waskom, Union Grove and Gladewater are a few teams returning to the playoffs - some after decades without a berth - while the likes of Longview, Gilmer, Kilgore and Carthage are back at it again.

For everyone, however, it all starts fresh.

"It's the end of one season and we're getting ready to start another," Kilgore head coach Mike Wood said.

The Bulldogs enter the postseason fresh off an instant-classic win over district foe Gilmer in a battle of two top five teams in Class 3A.

But Wood and the Bulldogs know that the big win is in the past.

"I told the kids to get excited about this win, enjoy this victory and district championship this weekend but Monday we've got to come in and go back to work and get ready for Van," Wood said. "One game at a time - that's how we've done it all season."

Like Kilgore and Gilmer, Waskom entered its finale with Hughes Springs with a district crown and undefeated season on the line with a postseason berth already wrapped up -- the first one in 21 years for the Wildcats, one year after Waskom was forced to forfeit seven games due to an ineligible player.

"It has been a long time since Waskom has been in the playoffs and it's been a lot of hard work to accomplish the goals that we set," Waskom head coach Whitney Keeling said. "We've got the whole community behind us, the school board behind us, the superintendent behind us - it's been a great atmosphere all along.

"It's back to work on Monday and hopefully the kids understand what the task is and we can ride the momentum of clinching the playoffs and winning a district championship into the playoffs and see how far we can go."

Waskom takes on Union Grove - who are in the postseason for the first time in 45 years - on Thursday in Hallsville.

The Lobos enter the postseason for the 13th-straight season fresh off a 9-1 regular season, including a dominating 5-0 jaunt through District 12-5A.

"We're really proud to be back in the postseason and for the 13th-straight year - that's a lot to proud of," Longview head coach John King said. "It's never taken lightly and it's time to focus on week one. It's a do-or-die situation."

With a storied regular season in the past, this week marks a six-week stretch that will tell the true tale and it's one that begins with a blank slate.

"We'll go to work on Monday and hopefully go out there on Friday and be a better football team then we were this past Friday," Wood said. "That's been our goal, to be a better football team next Friday night."

<em>(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/hayden_h" target="_blank">@hayden_h</a>)</em>

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