FanFare 2018 - Page 78

Mark it down Malakoff will take control of the new district if they can find a quarterback to gel quickly into the new system. The de- fense will be strong once again for the Tigers. 2017 RECORD 9-2 (Tri-Champs, District 9-3A) Another district title in sight for Tigers he Malakoff Tigers look to go 10 for 10 in playoff appearances under coach Jamie Driskell in 2018. The Tigers have a veteran group with 18 re- turning lettermen, but only five starters on both sides of the ball. Driskell said the experience on the offen- sive and defensive lines will pay dividends. On offense, the line will need to play strong for sophomore quarterback Darion Peace, who takes over following the graduation of two-time Athens Daily Review All-Henderson County Area Most Valuable Player Judd Miller. Miller is now a member of the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals as a quarter- back. “I think that Judd was obviously great for our program, and a great kid,” Driskell said. “He is the kind of kid that you hate to see graduate, but he will move on to bigger and better things. I think it will be a collective group, but I think our starting quarterback will be Darion Peace. He is very athletic, and the guys will rally around Darion.” With Peace taking over at quarterback, the running back core could be in the hands of Dedric Davis and RJ Carr. Davis had 50 carries for 464 yards and four touchdowns, while Carr had 57 carries for 460 yards and seven touchdowns. T Even with the success on offense in their spread for- mation, Driskell is excited about the talent at defense, especially along the defensive line. “We are really Head Coach excited about our Jamie defense,” Driskell said. “Last year, de- Driskell fensively we were really young and took our lumps. We have some kids who have plenty of experience in Colby Rush, who stepped up and did great last year. We have high hopes for him, and a few younger kids that we will plug in there, and they have a chance to be special play- ers.” Rush had 58 tackles, seven for loss with “We need to test the kids early and see what we are made of ... we need to see how they fight in a close game.” – Jamie Driskell Senior spotlight Senior linebacker Everardo Garcia could play a bigger role in the defense this year at line- backer. Following the grad- uation of Zee Bailey, Garcia Garcia could take on the role left by Bailey for coach Brent Watkins on the defensive unit. Garcia can help Colby Rush at line- backer with the new district as they join Eustace, Kemp, Dallas Life, Dallas A+ Academy and Madison. 78 one sack in eight games for the Tigers. He said Kyler Dalrymple, Parker Busch, Everardo Garcia, Kadderious Thomas, Andreas Garrett and Iverson Sparks will be players to watch. “I think we have a chance to be pretty good defensively this year,” Driskell said. “We have team speed, but not a game breaker in terms of speed.” With non-district opponents in Teague, Rains, Mexia, Grandview and Spring Hill, the challenge is there for the No. 9-ranked team by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. “We have bigger fish to fry right now,” he said. “We have to work on getting better, and try to take it day by day and game by game. Our non-district schedule is extremely tough, and we have to get some games under our belts and get some experience.” With eight new opponents, the only two re- turning are Teague in Week 1 and Eustace in Week 10. “With our success, we have lost some teams that don't want to play us,” Driskell said. “Our non-district schedule is pretty tough, and we need it to be tough. We need to test the kids early and see what we are made of. We need to be tested and see how our kids will fight in a close game early in the year.” Did you know? 2018 Schedule DATE OPPONENT TIME 2017 RESULT Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3 Nov. 9 Teague (11-3) at Rains (1-9) Mexia (6-6) at Grandview (12-2) Spring Hill (5-5)* at Dallas Life (2-8)* A+ Academy (0-8)* at Madison (3-7)* at Eustace (6-4)* Kemp (13-2)* 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 L 35-14 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP W 66-24 DNP Bold denotes homecoming game/* district game Opponent is listed with its 2017 overall season record RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5/5) RETURNING LETTERMEN: 18 •The Malakoff Tigers currently hold the longest playoff streak in Henderson County at nine years. The streak has been going on since Jamie Driskell arrived on campus in 2009. • The Tigers are ranked No. 9 in the state by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football in Class 3A. They are one spot behind Kemp this year. •Since the All-Henderson County Most Valuable Player list has been compiled, the Malakoff Tigers have won the award nine times, with a stretch of four straight from 2011-15.