Preliminaries are over, District 12-4A play starts Friday
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 4, 2004 - After two months of practices, one scrimmage and five games, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, like everyone else in District 12-4A, will get down to the nitty and the gritty this week.

The six 12-4A teams will play the next five games in hopes of playing at least one more. District play begins Friday.

While SSHS, Texas High, Greenville and North Lamar had a bye this past Friday, Mount Pleasant and Paris finished up their non-district schedule with games. They will both start district with 2-3 records after Paris upended Liberty-Eylau, 20-18, and Mount Pleasant was beaten by Sherman, 38-24.

Here's a look at how the 12-4A teams have fared going into Friday's match-ups.

North Lamar (5-0) - The only unbeaten team in the district, the Panthers still have to prove they can beat quality 4A teams. Four of their victories have come over Class 3A teams (Winnsboro, Mount Vernon, Pittsburg and Commerce) and the other came against struggling Athens.

Whoever loses Friday's game against Mount Pleasant, which registered its two wins against Class 3A schools, will be in a hole.

Sulphur Springs (4-1) - The Wildcats have reeled off four straight victories after an opening-day loss to a good Jacksonville squad. They have beaten quality teams in Mesquite Poteet and Lancaster, but if there is a concern it is that the Cats have had trouble putting four solid quarters together in each game.

Sulphur Springs needs to start off district play with a win over Paris, which has been inconsistent so far.

Texas High (3-2) - The preseason favorite lost two consecutive games for the first time in head coach Barry Norton's regime, but they remain the team to beat. Their losses were to nationally-ranked Shreveport Evangel and to Hallsville, which will duel Kilgore for the title of best 4A team in East Texas.

The Tigers are strong defensively, having given up just 50 points in five games. Hallsville put up 28 points, but they were the only team to score in double digits against Texas High this season.

The Tigers host Greenville on Friday, a team they need (and should) beat.

Mount Pleasant (2-3) - The Tigers have been fairly unpredictable, losing by one point to Class 3A Liberty-Eylau to open the season, then whipping Daingerfield the next week. The Tigers played Hallsville to within one point, 21-20, and blew out Atlanta. But, they were beaten by Sherman on Friday by two touchdowns.

New coach Larry McBroom, who won state championships at Ada, Okla., will need to beat North Lamar on Friday to keep from taking an 0-1 record into next week's game against Sulphur Springs.

Paris (2-3) - Paris is another team that has racked up its two victories against 3A schools, beating Quinlan Ford and Liberty-Eylau. The Wildcats, though, suffered a 3-point loss to Commerce, were beaten 62-16 by Gilmer, and were the victims of Forney's only victory of the season.

The Wildcats will try to ride the momentum of Friday's homecoming win over L-E into Friday's home game against Sulphur Springs.

Greenville (1-4) - Greenville's only win came against Carrollton Newman-Smith, but the Lions have played a tough schedule, losing to elite teams like Kilgore and Terrell and good teams in Lancaster and Sherman.

The Lions are having trouble defensively, where they've given up 165 points in five games, and are one of just two teams in the district which has allowed more than 92 points this season.

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