Top 25 Games of 2014: No. 25, Van at Lindale
One of East Texas' most undervalued rivalries is Lindale-Van. Just ask the folks there.
The two towns are just 20 minutes away from each other and news about the schools' success reaches the other party very quickly. Students at the two schools date each other, they go to the same hangouts and attend the same churches.
The talk of the two sides lately has been their meeting in Lindale on Sept. 12. It's a must-win for both sides even though the game has no postseason implications.
This clash of friends and rivals is ETSN.fm's No. 25 game of the 2014 football season.
Lindale is a team with enough weapons to make a nice run at a difficult District 16-5A playoff spot. Van's District 8-4A Div. II schedule is favorable and suggests the Vandals will be playing toward Thanksgiving and perhaps beyond.
The Eagles and Van have met 18 times since 1986 with Lindale holding a 14-4 advantage, but the games have been very close in recent seasons.
Van and Lindale will meet for the fifth-consecutive season and no game in the current time frame has been decided by more than 14 points. The Eagles' win last year on the Vandals' home field came by a field goal.
Van has been grinding an axe over the loss.
Fireworks shouldn't be a problem for the Vandals this year. The squad is led by senior quarterback Peter Maddox, an offensive lineman as strong as an ox in Wyatt Santos, running back Matt Savis and a surprisingly dynamic receiver named Luke McGowan.
Linebacker/defensive end Brice Borgeson returns to Van with a team-leading 116 tackles last season. He currently has offers from Northwestern State and Sam Houston State.
Lindale, meanwhile, has quite a few players who could pop to the forefront of East Texas' recruiting scene.
Kolton Pierce is back from a leg injury that sidelined him for most of 2013. He'll play quarterback, receiver and some defensive back. The athlete is hoping to make up for lost time and earn recognition among power five conference teams by season's end.
Defensive back Deandre Williams won Defensive MVP honors at the ETSN.fm Football Recruiting Combine in June.
Sept. 12 means an awful lot for both programs. The losing side will hear about it for a full year.
ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2014
- No. 25: Van at Lindale