Fans of Class 3A football won’t have to wait too long for what could shape up as a playoff preview when La Vega and Palestine open the season following last season’s bi-district playoff.

The Wildcats cut a 21-0 halftime deficit to 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but La Vega pulled away for a 35-20 win. Both teams have big numbers coming back.

The Pirates, whose season ended a round later in heartbreaking fashion against eventual state champion Chapel Hill, return 16 starters from last year’s 11-1 squad.

Headlining the returning nucleus is running back Randy Gober, who ran for 1,376 yards and 17 touchdowns last season as a junior. The defense should be solid as well, led by defensive tackle duo D’Andra Minnitt and Shaquille Walker.

Palestine, which brings back a ton of experience and athleticism on offense, must be able to find enough space to operate against a La Vega defense that was one of the best in 3A in 2011.

 

Top 25 Games of the Year

No. 17: Hughes Springs at Elysian Fields

No. 18: Gilmer vs. Atlanta

No. 19: Whitehouse at Carthage

No. 20: Daingerfield at New Boston

No. 21: Carlisle at Big Sandy

No. 22: Palestine at Jacksonville

No. 23: Tenaha at San Augustine

No. 24: Gilmer at Daingerfield

No. 25: John Tyler vs. Tyler Lee