Sabine football

Sabine High School quarterback Landon

McKinney (10) gets a block from Edson Uribe (50) during a game last Friday night against

White Oak. Sabine (9-1) will take on Mount

Vernon (8-2) in the first round of the UIL Class 3A playoffs on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Sulphur Springs. It’s Sabine’s first trip to the playoffs since 2016, and they’re looking for their first playoff win in the history of the program. (Photo by MARVIN HILLHOUSE)

Sabine High School football dates back to the mid 1930s. And during that entire time frame, the Cardinals have somehow managed to avoid winning a playoff game.

Coach Rex Sharp and his 2019 Cardinals intend to do everything in their power to make sure that dubious streak ends this weekend.

Sabine (9-1) will face Mount Vernon (8-2) in the first, or bi-district, round of the University Interscholastic League’s Class 3A playoffs this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sulphur Springs High School.

Mount Vernon, of course, is coached by former Baylor University head coach Art Briles, the longtime Stephenville coach with numerous state championships to his credit.

Both Sabine and Mount Vernon are ranked in the #bEASTTexas Class 3A-2A-TAPPS top 15, and have been most all season.

Mount Vernon’s Tigers won their first five games, including an impressive win over Hughes Springs, before getting to district play and running into Jefferson. That didn’t go well, to the tune of a 47-16 loss. The Tigers, dealing with a couple of issues regarding eligibility of a few players, bounced back the next week with an impressive win over Atlanta (42-7), but then lost to Hooks, 31-14.

The Tigers closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins over Redwater and New Boston.

Sabine, on the other hand, had mostly ups and very few downs in 2019. A loaded roster, thanks to very little loss to graduation, allowed coach Sharp and his staff to play old-school football: a strong defense, a powerful running game, and a capable passing game. Special teams have even been a strength this year, including Fernando Jaimes, one of the top kickers in East Texas.

Their only loss this year was a de facto District 8-3A, Division I title game in Gladewater, a 40-16 Sabine defeat. But the Cardinals rebounded by ending White Oak’s season without a victory.

Sabine has 305 wins in its history, dating back to the first season (1937). Their overalll record is 305-501-22.

Sharp is in his third season, In 2017, the Cardinals finished 2-8. Last year, they went 5-5, and this year – well, nine wins and hopefully counting so far.

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