LIBERTY CITY — Sabine’s unblemished mark remained intact with a 24-14 homecoming win over Winnsboro Friday night at James Bamberg Stadium.
Winnsboro entered Friday’s contest with a 4-2 mark with losses to Mount Vernon and Gladewater, which are both regarded as two of the top teams in East Texas.
Sabine has also positioned itself among the area’s elite with a strong start to the season and in District 8-3A Division I competition.
Senior quarterback Landon McKinney and sophomore running back Brannigan Willige both ran for more than 100 yards. Willige carried the ball 19 times for 139 yards, and McKinney had 17 carries for 126 yards with a touchdown. McKinney also threw two touchdown passes.
Sabine got the ball first and got to the Winnsboro 19 before attempting a 36-yard field goal, which was no good.
The Cardinals got the ball right back as Cayden Fortson came up with the interception on the Winnsboro 39-yard line. Sabine scored in eight plays as the drive ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from McKinney to Clayton Simmons, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Winnsboro lined up for a 35-yard field goal attempt, and the kick was off the mark.
Sabine quickly shifted field position as McKinney had a 49-yard gain. McKinney finished the drive with a 3-yard scoring run to make the score 14-0.
With less than a minute left in the half, McKinney and Simmons hooked up again, this time from 15 yards out, to give Sabine a 21-0 halftime lead.
Both teams had just three possessions in the second half. Winnsboro used more than seven minutes on its 12-play, 70-yard drive to open the third quarter that ended with a 9-yard touchdown run by Dominique Allen to cut the score to 21-7.
Sabine answered with a 34-yard field goal by Fernando Jaimes to go up 24-7 with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
Another long Winnsboro drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Keen Glover to Allen on fourth down to make the score 24-14 with 6:27 to play.
After Sabine had to punt with three minutes left, Winnsboro was stopped on fourth down, and Willige used two 11-yard runs to put the win away for the Cardinals.
Allen ran for 184 yards on 16 carries and had a rushing touchdown as well as a receiving touchdown.
Winnsboro’s first completed pass was with 6:50 left in the game and was for no gain, but the next play was the touchdown pass to Allen.
Among the defensive standouts for Sabine were Fortson, Brent Warren, Bre’den Ford and Jace Burns.
Sabine (6-0, 2-0) will play West Rusk on Oct. 18 in New London. Winnsboro (4-3, 1-2) will host Tatum.