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2013 East Texas Football Games of the Year, No. 7: Alto at Tenaha

Tenaha’s Keontas Davis (left) fights to get open during an Aug. 9 practice at Tenaha High School. (Christopher Vinn,

Two of East Texas’ most successful small-school programs meet Sept. 13 in a cross-divisional clash of perennial Class A powerhouses.

Alto makes the 62-mile trip to Tenaha for a non-district meeting of teams that went 7-2 in the 2012 playoffs. Alto won last year’s encounter 25-13 at home, but must play at “The Pit” this season.

Alto WR Anfernee Black. (Christopher Vinn,

The Yellow Jackets have 5,000 yards of total offense returning in the backfield thanks to tailback Jacolby Whitaker and quarterback Zac Sturns. Anfernee Black returns as Sturns’ top receiving target from last season.

They meet a Tenaha defense returning 10 starters; the only player to graduate was middle linebacker DeAaron Roland, who is the only starter on either side of the ball gone from the 2012 Tenaha Tigers. He also started on the offensive line and is now at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

That Tenaha defense held opponents to 20.2 points per game last season and will depend on tackle Denzelle Williams (13 sacks), linebacker Jacobi Ivy, and defensive back Keontas Davis (8 INTs) to slow down Alto, which scored 37.4 points a night in 2012.

This game will be one of the year’s most anticipated Class A contests. Tenaha and Alto are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the preseason Associated Press Class A poll. In Dave Campbell’s Texas Football and’s Friday Night Football magazines, Alto is No. 2 in Division I, while Tenaha is No. 1 in Division II.

The Pit will be rocking Sept. 13. 2013 Preseason Top 25 Games of the Year

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