In years past, this game has determined a district champion and this year might be no different. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine has picked Carlisle to win District 9-A Division I with Big Sandy finishing second.

The teams meet again on Nov. 2 in Big Sandy.

Carlisle, which won last year’s matchup 43-6, finished with an unblemished regular-season record and ultimately reached the third round of the playoffs. Big Sandy rebounded from the loss to also go three rounds deep.

Carlisle returns four starters on each side of the ball, including dynamic quarterback Gunner Baker, who totaled more than 3,200 yards and 38 touchdowns last season.

Also returning for the Indians are multi-purpose back Jared Poncho and RB/LB Gustavo Martinez. Poncho racked up more than 1,300 total yards and scored 18 touchdowns, while Martinez had 15 TDs on the ground and averaged more than 10 yards per carry.

Big Sandy, which brings back 13 starters from 2011, counters with ball-hawking free safety Taurus Keppard (6-0, 190), who was among the state leaders with 11 interceptions in 2011. Joshua Jackson was a force out of the backfield for Big Sandy a year ago, rushing for 1,250 yards and 17 touchdowns.


Top 25 Games of the Year

No. 22: Palestine vs. Jacksonville

No. 23: Tenaha vs. San Augustine

No. 24: Gilmer vs. Daingerfield

No. 25: John Tyler vs. Tyler Lee