The Oakwood football team may be 7-0 and leading its district, but OHS coach Mike Heckathorn still isn’t completely satisfied.

Despite his squad winning their first two district games by a combined score of 126-33, Heckathorn still has concerns about his squad’s defense.

That will be tested once again Friday when the Panthers travel to Coolidge to take on the Yellowjackets (3-4, 1-0).

“They’re a big, pound you team and we just haven’t done well against those kind of teams defensively,” Heckathorn said. “I’m concerned. If we function like we have offensively, we’ll be in the game.”

The offense has carried the load for the Panthers lately, and no one player has been bigger than running back Bryson Randle.

On only five carries last week, Randle ran for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Panthers win over Chester.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve blocked better than we have and consequently our running game is going better,” Heckathorn said.

Oakwood’s performance against Chester in a 80-33 win earned them the honor of being named Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s Army Strong Team of the Week.

Coolidge is coming off of a bye after opening district play with a 60-13 victory over Chester.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Yellowjacket Field (1002 Kirven St., Coolidge, Texas 76635).

Joaquin at FRANKSTON

When the game kicks off Friday between Joaquin and Frankston, expect plenty of rushing yards.

The two teams enter the contest averaging a combined 731 yards per game on the ground.

Joaquin’s attack is led by Austin Bloodgood and Kain Yates, who both average more than 135 yards per game on the ground.

“Offensively, they’re as good a running team as there is around,” FHS coach Sam Wells said. “If your not on your keys and if you’re not going to do a good job up front, they’re going to hurt you.”

Wells’ defense is flying high this week after holding West Rusk to only 14 points in Frankston’s’ 56-14 win Friday.

He said now the defense’s confidence is more on par with the offense’s.

“Its always been high on offense, but defensively we played pretty good and they’ve got some confidence,” he said. “Overall we played pretty well.”

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jeff and Opal Austin Stadium (100 W. Perry St., Frankston, Texas 75763).

CAYUGA at Cross Roads

After two tough losses to open district play, Cayuga seems to be headed into some matchups that tilt in their favor.

To get into the playoffs, the Wildcats better hope that’s the case.

Cayuga (2-5, 0-2) travels to rival Cross Roads (2-5, 0-2) Friday, and CHS coach Greg Jenkins said his team should fare better defensively against Cross Roads’ style of play.

“We think the matchups the next two weeks are better for us because we’re playing spread teams,” he said.

He added that it’s time for his team to respond to the challenges put before them, something he doesn’t know if they’ve done yet.

To do so this week will mean stopping Cross Roads quarterback Dustin Lee, who has eclipsed 800 yards both rushing and passing.

But, the fact that it says Cross Roads on the schedule should give Cayuga plenty of motivation.

“It’s a good matchup for us, a rivalry game,” Jenkins said. “Our kids wouldn’t overlook this one no matter what it is. If you could write Cross Roads up on the board every week, we would.”

Garrison at GRAPELAND

After a thrilling victory over Timpson that included Grapeland taking a safety on purpose to help secure the 39-38 win, the Sandies (3-4, 2-0) welcome sixth-ranked Garrison to Grapeland Sandies Stadium Friday.

The Sandies have won two straight, coincidentally both coming since the return of senior quarterback Cameron Boyd. In those two wins, Boyd has accounted for 10 touchdowns for Grapeland.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grapeland Sandies Stadium (N. Olive St. at FM 1272, Grapeland, Texas 75844).

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Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at jrains@palestineherald.com

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