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Top 25 Games of 2014: No. 18, Alto at Tenaha

Tenaha’s Cobe Caraway sprints for yardage during the Tigers’ 47-6 season-opening home win against Joaquin on Aug. 30, 2013. (Ray Jackson,

When it comes to football on the small-scale level in East Texas, you won’t find too many programs more elite than Alto or Tenaha. Between the two of them, they have three state championships since 2006.

The 2014 meeting between the two powers, which takes place Sept. 26 in Tenaha, checks in at No. 18 on’s list of the top 25 games of the season.

Alto DB Leroy Lewis. (Christopher R. Vinn,

Since dropping in classification prior to the ’06 season, the Alto Yellowjackets are 80-21. They are coming off a 9-4 finish in 2013 under first-year head coach Paul Gould, who took over for the retired Keith Gardner.

Tenaha has been among the most consistently successful small-school programs in all of Texas over the last five seasons. The Tigers are 55-12 since 2009, which includes a state championship in 2011, a state runner-up finish in 2012 and trips to the state semifinals in 2009 and 2013.

Both Alto and Tenaha have a few key components they must replace from last season.

The ‘Jackets are without all-state running back Jacolby Whitaker and dual-threat quarterback Zac Sturns, while Tenaha must find replacements for two-way standouts Chavis Gregory and Keontas Davis and quarterback J.R. Hill.

Whichever team wins the Week 5 encounter will enter their bye week brimming with confidence heading into their respective district seasons.’s Top 25 Games of 2014

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