LONGVIEW, Texas – It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Atlanta’s 3A Division I bi-district playoff with Mineola should be a fast game.
Mineola (9-1) has one of Texas’ best running backs in senior Trevion Sneed (6-1, 220). Sneed might not leave the field Thursday night at Spring Hill’s Panther Stadium. He has rushed for 2,474 yards and 31 touchdowns. Sneed also leads the Yellowjackets’ with 116 tackles on defense.
Atlanta (3-7) will also have to focus on sophomore do-it-all Dawson Pendergrass (6-3, 195). Listed as a wide receiver, Pendergrass has rushed for 1,078 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s caught 26 of quarterback T.J. Moreland’s 32 completions for another 447 yards and 6 TDs. Moreland rarely throws the ball. He’s completed 32 of 63 for 487 yards and the 6 TDs that Pendergrass caught.
“It’s going to be a big chore, Mineola has a good team,” said Atlanta coach Matt McClure. “They’ve got a heck’uva running back (Sneed) that’s going to SMU I believe. We’ll have to tackle extremely well for four quarters.”
Mineola averaging 396 yards on the ground
The Yellowjackets enter the postseason averaging 396.2 yards on the ground, and 51.6 through the air. Their only loss in 2020 was to Mount Vernon, 23-20.
The good news for Atlanta is that its two outstanding running backs will be on the field Thursday. Speedsters Caleb Hamilton and Keith Kinney have been injured and missed a lot of the current season. Kinney missed the first six games, and Hamilton was out three weeks in the middle of the season.
“We’re playing good football right now,” said McClure. “We’re healthy and ready to go. Both of our backs are ready, and if we run the ball well it will give our defense a rest. With Hamilton and Kinney in the lineup we’ve had a lot of success running the last few games.
“It’s been an up and down season, but the kids believe in what we’re doing. I think we’ve found ourselves, and it will be a heck’uva a game Thursday. It’ll probably be a short game. We’re a lot more together than we have been in a long time.”
The winner of this game will play Groesbeck or Madison in the area round.
Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on KPYN (95.5 FM or 900 AM).