Linden-Kildare has had a long wait.

Although the Tigers finished the regular season 8-2 in 2017, they exited the playoffs in the first round, much earlier than they probably anticipated.

Perhaps it could be chalked up to inexperience, but the good news is the Tigers will get a second chance. Most of the key contributors are back as Linden-Kildare returns seven starters on offense and nine on defense, coming in at No. 10 in the ETSN.fm 2A/Private Schools Poll.

Linden-Kildare RB LaDavian Johnson. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

LaDavian Johnson found himself among the East Texas rushing leaders each week last season, finishing with 1,988 yards and 28 touchdowns. He returns for his junior season and should only get better.

Jacob Owen returns at quarterback and defensive back. He was one of the leaders on the defense last season and should be again this year. But linebacker Ty Patterson takes the title of the Tigers’ best defensive player. He finished with 200 tackles, including 23 for loss, and 10 forced fumbles in 2017. He has the potential to be a defensive MVP and should give the rest of the district plenty of issues.

The Tigers are in an extremely tough district with Tenaha, Garrison, Timpson, Joaquin and Beckville. That said, they will likely be one of the teams fighting for those third and fourth playoff spots and it would surprise no one if they were to land one.

ETSN.fm Preseason Class 2A Poll

  • No. 10: Linden-Kildare Tigers