LIBERTY CITY – The Mineola Yellowjackets and other teams in District 8-4A, Division I seemed to write their meeting with Sabine off every year as almost a given win.
That time is over.
The Yellowjackets were guests here at James Bamberg Stadium on Friday night, but didn’t go home happy – Sabine won the game, 31-6, and is 8-0 on the season.
The Cardinals are 4-0 in district play, and have two games left: at Gladewater next Friday night, which is pretty much to decide the district championship, and at home against winless White Oak the final weekend of the regular season, on Friday, Nov. 8.
Of course, the rainy weather was a factor for everyone Friday night, Sabine and Mineola included. And early-on, it looked like Mineola would be up to the challenge. Trevion Sneed broke free and scored from 55 yards out on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Somewhat shockingly, that would be the only score for Mineola the entire night. And Mineola’s bad luck started on the extra point for that touchdown.
The Cardinals’ line blocked the try, and Jace Burns picked it up and raced the distance of the field for a 90-yard two points for Sabine.
After the teams traded possessions and punts, Sabine put a nice drive together with a ground game largely on the legs of Chance Owens and quarterback Landon McKinney. McKinney completed a pair of passes to Clayton Simmons and to Texas A&M-Texarkana baseball signee Kord Laird.
The Mineola defense stiffened a bit and held the Cardinals to a 30-yard field goal Fernando Jaimes hit a perfect shot and Mineola led, but 6-5.
Sabine’s defense returned the favor and forced another Mineola punt to end the first quarter.
On the second play from scrimmage of Sabine’s next drive, McKinney found A.J. Gresham wide open on the right side, and Gresham did the rest, a 50-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Sabine led, 11-6, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Still in the first half, after another trade-off of possessions, McKinney broke free for a 31-yard scamper, and then took the final 3 yards on the next play for another score, and an 18-6 halftime lead.
Jaimes added another field goal, this time from 38 yards out, in the third quarter for Sabine, who finished the quick third quarter up 21-6.
In the fourth, after the defense forced a turnover on downs, Sabine added a 26-yard field goal, Jaimes’ third of the night. Gresham had a nice punt that pinned Mineola back on its own 1-yard-line, and in trying to make a play, a Mineola player was stripped of the ball. Brent Warren ended up with it for Sabine, and the touchdown, the final score of the night.
Sabine’s defense gets a collective game ball for holding the Yellowjackets to just 114 rushing yards and 30 passing yards. McKinney had 122 yards rushing and a score, and 194 yards passing with the touchdown to Gresham. Gresham led with 79 yards and a score, and Jaimes had the three field goals.