For the first time all season – and after the ninth game, at that – the Sabine High School football team has to pick itself up after a loss.

The Cardinals did lose their undefeated season last week, a 40-16 loss at Gladewater (see Jeremy Newlin’s full story online now at kilgorenewsherald.com). But this year, there’s something better: most teams in Texas high school football don’t finish undefeated, anyway, and Sabine will go in as a high seed in the UIL Class 3A playoffs.

There’s a little more business to take care of first: Sabine (8-1) finishes its regular season this Friday, home at James Bamberg Stadium against longtime rival White Oak. The Roughnecks are uncharacteristically winless, at 0-9.

After that, things are a little up in the air. The Cardinals need to beat White Oak, and then see how a few other games in District 8-3A, Division I will turn out before making any for-certain playoff reservations, although they have already clinched a playoff berth.

If Sabine had been able to beat Gladewater, it would have been the Cardinals’ first-ever win over the Bears. It didn’t happen. Turnovers were just too costly.

Still, quarterback Landon McKinney threw for 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. A.J. Gresham had five catches for 120 yards and a score, and Jace Burns also had a touchdown to go with two catches for 78 yards.

Sabine will be making its first playoff appearance since 2016, and its first under third-year head coach Rex Sharp. The Cardinals have the opportunity to end another long streak: they’ve never won a playoff game in their football history, which dates back to the 1937 season.

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