Carthage and Henderson are two of East Texas' fiercest rivals. The towns are separated by less than 30 miles along Highway 79, and have been involved in a series that covers more than three-quarters of a century.

Intensifying the hostilities has been their four total meetings the last two years.

Carthage has won back-to-back Class 4A Division I state championships, and in both seasons, the Bulldogs needed wins over Henderson in the quarterfinals to advance.

The two arch-nemeses will meet for the 77th time on Nov. 2 at Lion Stadium. It is No. 5 on's list of the top 25 games of 2018.

Carthage QB Gunner Capps. (© Clint Buckley,
Carthage QB Gunner Capps. (© Clint Buckley,

Henderson leads the all-time series, 40-33-3, but Carthage has dominated the rivalry in recent years. The Bulldogs are 8-3 vs. Henderson under head coach Scott Surratt, and have won three straight.

Both teams graduated several impact players from last year.

Carthage lost running back and University of Texas signee Keaontay Ingram, receivers Dee Bowens and Dewaylon Ingram (Sam Houston State), multi-purpose athlete Mekhi Colbert, and linebackers Ahmad Brown and Mykel Gates.

The Lions graduated quarterback and New Mexico signee Trae Hall, running back Lynn Freeney, defensive lineman Garrett Lybrand, and linebacker Tyrek Blanton.

Carthage will be led on offense by quarterback Gunner Capps, who passed for almost 3,900 yards and 49 touchdowns in 2018, receiver Kelvontay Dixon, and linemen Ty'kieast Crawford and Kevion Booty.

Defensively, the Bulldogs will be solid up front with the return of linemen Quinton Owens, DJ Hicks, and Felipe Ponce. Cornerback Ja'Corey Ware, who had a team-high interceptions last season, is back as well.

For Henderson, junior Caleb Medford will be the Lions' top offensive playmaker. Last season, he flirted with a 1,000-yard season at receiver, but could move to quarterback in 2018.

The Lions' defense will be led by senior defensive end Keivie Rose, who has committed to Louisiana Tech, and junior linebacker Brady Odom.

Both Carthage and Henderson will also have to contend with Kilgore in District 10-4A Division I, but the winner of this game will not only be in contention for a league title, but it will also walk away with bragging rights until their next meeting.'s Top 25 Games of 2018

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