It's hasn't been easy for either Henderson or Kilgore to play second fiddle to bitter rival Carthage the last several years. They've been forced to battle each other for second-best more seasons than not.

And while that could be true again in 2018, don't think the Lions and Bulldogs don't relish the chance at afflicting pain at one another's expense.

On Oct. 19 at Kilgore's R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, one of East Texas' most intense rivalries gets renewed once again.

Henderson QB?WR Caleb Medford. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Henderson vs. Kilgore checks in at No. 19 on ETSN.fm's list of the top 25 games of 2018.

Since 1980, these two have met 38 times, including twice last season -- once during district play and once in the third round of the playoffs. Kilgore got the best of Henderson in the regular season, only to see Henderson rally late for a thrilling 20-14 victory in the regional semifinals.

Each team will be breaking in a new quarterback as Henderson's Trae Hall and Kilgore's Patrick "Buddy" Jackson have graduated.

The Bulldogs will turn to the duo of Jaiden Zackery and Deiontae Wheat to counteract Kilgore's losses on offense, while Henderson is excited to see junior Caleb Medford in an expanded role after bursting onto the scene as a sophomore receiver in 2017.

Both defenses are in good shape.

Kilgore returns stout defenders Deundre Blanton, Damien Parker, and Nesba Brown, while Henderson welcomes back standout lineman Keivie Rose and linebacker Brady Odom.

Two-time defending state champion Carthage suffered quite a few losses to graduation, so Henderson vs. Kilgore just might be for more than playoff positioning in 2018.

ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2018