Top 25 Games of 2015: No. 21, Atlanta at Liberty-Eylau
Northeast Texas powers Atlanta and Liberty-Eylau are separated by just 21 miles, and both made long postseason runs in Class 4A a season ago.
The two defending state quarterfinalists square off in Texarkana on Sept. 25 -- two weeks before their respective district openers -- in game No. 21 on ETSN.fm's list of the top 25 games of the 2015 season.
Despite playing in 4A Division II with a smaller enrollment, Atlanta had no trouble with the Leopards in last year's meeting, earning a decisive 56-27 victory. It was the Rabbits' fifth of six consecutive wins to open the season, while L-E was in the midst of a four-game losing streak and 1-5 start to the season.
Atlanta suffered a Week 7 loss to Gladewater, but continued to roll after that, sprinting to another six-game winning streak, before ultimately being ousted by eventual state champion Gilmer in the quarterfinals.
The Leopards lost their district opener to Paris, but proceeded to reel off seven consecutive wins. A huge underdog against defending state champion Argyle, L-E nearly pulled off the quarterfinal upset in a 45-42 loss.
Atlanta lost most of its offensive firepower to graduation, most notably dual-threat quarterback Chase Musgrove. But the Rabbits will bring back ATH Jeremy Smith, who was the team's most versatile weapon on offense a season ago.
Liberty-Eylau, on the other hand, welcomes back most of its impact performers from 2014. The Leopards return quarterback Ke'Mon Freeman, running back Lamont Byrd, receiver Thurman Morbley, defensive lineman Lagaryonn Carson, linebacker DeMarcus Pegue, and safety Andre Wiley, Jr.