For Sabine to have a shot at reaching one of its goals for the 2020 season – winning the District 6-3A, Division I championship – the Cardinals have to beat rival White Oak this Friday night.

Sabine started off the 2020 season right where they left off, ripping through opponents. But a grinding schedule has gotten the best of the Cardinals the last few weeks. They’re 3-4 overall, 1-2 in district, having lost four of the last five.

Coach Rex Sharp’s Cardinals will visit White Oak (3-0) this Friday night, a 7:30 p.m. start. This one has the spice of the rivalry, but also urgency – Sabine can ill afford to lose another if it wats a shot at that district crown.

White Oak is 3-0, which is very deceptive – the Roughnecks have not gotten to play a few games, due to caution from COVID-19, and in fact, they were off last week. Their last game was a 34-33 win over Jefferson – that’s also Sabine’s last opponent.

Sabine hosted Jefferson last Friday night, but suffered a 41-34 setback.

Jefferson forced Sabine to punt on Sabine’s first possession, and then began rolling with the running game – Malik Brasher did the scoring honors, a 20-yard touchdown. Sabine bounced back, using Brannigan Willige as the workhorse, getting the brunt of the carries on the drive.

Finally, Jace Burns found Chance Owens for an 11-yard pass, and then Burns scored from 5 yards out. Eduardo Jaimes’ extra point tied the score at the end of the first quarter.

On Sabine’s next drive, Burns found Cayden Fortson for 15 yards, but the Bulldogs’ defense held, forcing a field goal attempt. Jaimes’ kick split the uprights for a 46-yard score and a 10-7 Sabine lead.

The lead was short-lived, though, as the Bulldog offense proved hard to stop. Thomas connected with Christian Shepherd for a 5-yard completion for the go-ahead score.

Daylon Branham came in at running back for Sabine and quickly scampered 12 yards. Burns went 27, but the drive stalled. After Sabine failed on fourth and 1, the Bulldogs defense held and took over on downs. Thomas went back to the air and found Kentravious Dowden for two completions of 15 and 6 yards. A busted play forced Thomas to run and he found 28 yards of daylight. The final play of the drive was an 8-yard pass to Carlos Jackson. The missed extra point put the score at 20-10.

Sabine outscored Jefferson 24-21 in the second half, but that wasn’t enough, as the Cardinals took this loss.

For Sabine, Burns threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 74 yards and another score. Kaden Manning had three catches for 117 yards and two TDs. Fortson and Branham each had 10 tackles. Fortson also had an interception. Branham had three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Jaimes went 4-for-4 on extra points, and had field goals of 47 and 37 yards.

Sabine has a late-season open date Oct. 23, hosts Gladewater on Oct. 30, and then visits Tatum to close the regular season on Nov. 6.

Sabine beat White Oak, 23-7, last year, and that broke a 12-game losing streak to the Roughnecks. Prior to that, Sabine’s last win in the series was back in 2007.

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