The University Interscholastic League’s latest guidelines pushing back the start of the season for Class 6A and 5A teams pushed Pine Tree out of the lineup for the 9th season of KYKX Games of the Week, but the replacement game for the opener has the makings of a classic.
Gladewater and Gilmer, already scheduled to meet on Thursday, Aug. 27 at Jack V. Murphy-Bear Stadium in Gladewater, will now be the KYKX Game of the Week to kick off a six-game schedule of Thursday contests.
Pine Tree was originally scheduled to visit Liberty-Eylau on Aug. 27 to begin the season and jump start the KYKX Game of the Week lineup, but the Pirates will now open the 2020 campaign at home on Sept. 25 against Princeton.
Gilmer and Gladewater, meanwhile, will tangle for the 59th time in a battle that will feature two first-year head coaches at the respective schools.
Gilmer will take the field under Alan Metzel, who spent 18 seasons as an assistant with the Buckeyes before being named head coach following the retirement of Matt Turner. The Buckeyes were 10-4 last season, defeating Farmersville (57-0), Fairfield (56-35) and Connally (35-20) before falling to Pleasant Grove.
Jonny Louvier, a 2002 Gladewater graduate and former assistant coach at the school, is now the Bears’ head coach. He spent the 2019 season at Spring Hill, leading the Panthers to a 6-6 finish, the school’s first playoff berth since 2007 and the program’s first playoff win since 2004.
Gladewater was 10-4 a year ago under John Berry, who resigned to take over as defensive coordinator at Longview. The Bears defeated Hughes Springs (32-0), Van Alstyne (72-43) and Winnsboro (27-7) before losing a heartbreaker (35-34) against Pottsboro.
Gilmer has won 11 in a row against the Bears, including a 41-35 thriller in a Class 4A Division II regional quarterfinal game at Lobo Stadium in Longview in 2014. The Buckeyes went on to defeat Atlanta (64-25) and Celina (67-14) before winning the 4A Division II state championship with a 35-25 victory over West Orange-Stark.
The remainder of the KYKX Game of the Week schedule has Hughes Springs at Harmony on Sept. 3, Winona at Elysian Fields on Sept. 10, Waskom at Arp on Sept. 17, Linden-Kildare at Union Grove on Oct. 1 and Ore City at Harleton on Oct. 15.
Hughes Springs finished 8-3 and Harmony was 8-4 a year ago. Winona was 6-5, Elysian Fields 7-5, Waskom 5-5, Arp 2-8, Linden-Kildare 3-7, Union Grove 4-6, Ore City 2-8 and Harleton 10-3.
Kickoff for all games is set for 7 p.m.
At each game, one athlete from each school will receiver a $1,005 college scholarship from KYKX 105.7.