Carthage and Henderson had a bit of history heading into the 2016 season, and exited the year with even more bad blood.

This year's Bulldogs-Lions meeting will be more than just a big game between two of East Texas' most premiere programs of the century. The Oct. 6 meeting at Henderson's Lion Stadium will be a grudge game for both sides, and it's our 12th-ranked game as we count down the top 25 regular-season contests.

Henderson won a thrilling regular season road contest against the Bulldogs, 36-28, en route to a shared district championship with Kilgore. Carthage got the last laugh, however, with a 33-31 victory in the Class 4A Division I regional semifinal round and ultimately won the state championship.

The Bulldogs definitely have star power. Proven star power.

Exactly half of Carthage's state championship starters return with emphasis at the skill positions. Texas running back commitment Keaontay Ingram is back for his senior season as is college receiver target Dewaylon Ingram and star cornerback Mehki Colbert.

Carthage RB Keaontay Ingram (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Henderson lacks in proven players -- La'Kendrick Van Zandt is now with TCU and Trestan Ebner is enrolled at Baylor -- yet the program has never really been at a loss for athletes. And the Lions do have one hot commodity of their own in senior quarterback Trae Hall, whereas Carthage lacks an experienced signal-caller.

Don't miss this game.

Bad blood and athleticism will be on display.

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