It was another week full of big wins across Central Texas. The average margin of victory was 30.975 as teams like La Vega (62-7 win over Lampasas), Mart (53-0 win over Riesel) and Bremond (56-0 win over Meridian) continued their dominant play.
But in District 9-3A Div. I, the competition was much stiffer under the Friday night lights. Coming into week 9 of the high school football season, Malakoff and West were both 4-0 atop the district standings and gearing up to face off on the gridiron later in the week.
Meanwhile, Teague was close behind at 3-1 with Groesbeck, after giving the Trojans everything they could handle a week earlier, seated fourth at 2-2. That left Whitney — a team hopeful to send its senior class out with some playoff football rather than ending the season the second week of November — on the outside looking in.
West made its way to Malakoff in hopes of dethroning the reigning district champs with one of the top dual- threat quarterbacks in the area in Nathan Gerik. But the Trojans were without their leading rusher, Paeton McFarlin, who was injured early in the contest against Groesbeck the week before. West did have Kain Klish, who stepped up with 149 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in McFarlin’s absence in the win over Groesbeck.
Defensively, the Trojans knew they had to slow down a Malakoff offense that averaged 52.5 points in district games behind quarterback Judd Miller and a pair of talented running backs.
West did that early as the Trojans jumped out to a 21-15 lead with 7:25 to play in the first half. Gerik had already run for a pair of touchdowns (2 yards and 77 yards) before Klish’s 15-yard score gave West the lead. Malakoff scored once more in the second quarter to take a 22-21 lead at the half.
After a strong first half by the Trojans, West scored only once more in the second half, while the Tigers added two touchdowns and a field goal to take the 40-27 win and remain undefeated in district play.
Over 60 miles southwest of Malakoff, the Groesbeck Goats were looking for their first win over Teague since 2012. In the four years since, the Lions had outscored Groesbeck by an average of nearly five touchdowns. The Goats entered Friday’s contest after a fourth quarter near-comeback at West, while Teague had taken care of Whitney, 46-28.
The Lions took a 14-7 lead at the half, and Ty Hale ran for a touchdown to make it 14-13 after the extra point attempt was missed. From there, the two teams traded touchdowns as Teague held off the Goats for the road win.
Nearly 70 miles northwest of Groesbeck, the Wildcats looked to get back to their winning ways as Elkhart came to town. Quarterback Devin Wilson led the way for Whitney as he completed 13 of 24 passes for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Hunter Watson and Gage Hightower as the Wildcats topped Elkhart, 18-10.
After Friday night, Malakoff is alone at the top with a 5-0 record in district play. West and Teague are tied for second at 4-1. The final playoff spot is up for grabs as Groesbeck, Whitney and Eustace are all knotted up with a 2-3 record.
Next week, Teague hosts Malakoff, Whitney hosts Eustace, Groesbeck travels to Elkhart and West hosts Palestine Westwood.