Don’t come to James Bamberg Stadium and expect to win. Not anymore.
That’s the message that Sabine High School’s football program is sending to opponents, most recently West Rusk. Sabine coach Rex Sharp said before last season he wanted to change the football culture at Sabine, so that the Cardinals not only wanted to win, but expected it.
Well, they’re doing it.
Sabine has won eight in a row at home – their last home loss was Nov. 2, 2019, to Gladewater – and has won 12 of their last 14 games, period.
Coach Sharp’s Cardinals (2-0) are off to a good start so far this year with what looked to be a tough schedule. Daingerfield was ranked highly in many preseason polls before getting upended against Tatum a week ago.
And the Tigers provide Sabine’s next opposition, there at James Bamberg Stadium, this Friday night, a 7:30 p.m. start.
The Cardinals did something to West Rusk last Friday that doesn’t normally get done to West Rusk: darn near a shut-out. Sabine held the Raiders scoreless for the first three quarters before Andon Mata hooked up with Omarion Smith in the fourth quarter for the only WR score of the contest. Sabine also held West Rusk to just 82 yards of total offense.
Defensive lineman Brent Warren was a house on fire: Warren, by himself, had 19 tackles, four of them for loss.
On offense, Daylon Branham scored on a 1-yard run for Sabine in the first quarter, and quarterback Jace Burns connected with Cayden Fortson for a 41-yard score. In the second quarter, Eduardo Jaimes hit a 40-yard field goal to give Sabine a 16-0 edge that the Cardinals would take into halftime, and then in the third quarter, Burns scored on a 3-yard run.
In the fourth, Burns added another touchdown run, this one from a yard out, for the final touchdown of the game for the Cardinals, and then West Rusk got its score late.
Sabine finished with 241 yards of total offense, 163 of it on the ground. Neither team had much to write home about on third down conversions: Sabine was 5-of-13, West Rusk, 3-of-14.
The Cardinals committed two turnovers, both fumbles; West Rusk had three turnovers: an interception and a pair of fumbles.
Burns went 3-of-9 for 78 yards and a touchdown in his second-ever varsity game start, to go with the two rushing touchdowns. Three different players caught balls: Fortson had the 41-yard touchdown catch; Branham had a 24-yard catch; and Kile Stripland had a 13-yarder.
Branham ran for 115 yards and the first-quarter score on 18 carries. Burns had 45 yards rushing and the two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Sabine has outscored its two opponents, Spring Hill and West Rusk, 46-21.
As for Daingerfield, the Tigers are 1-1. They beat Atlanta in a close game, 16-6, in the season opener, and then fell 17-8 in a low-scoring game last weekend at home to Tatum.
Daingerfield, playing a Tatum team that gave up 62 points in a WIN in the first weekend of the season, trailed 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, and then took a lead into the half – the Tigers had a 16-play, 88-yard drive that ended in points, a 10-yard touchdown pass caught by Dee Lewis, from Zaylon Jeter. Daingerfield elected to go for two points, and Martez Allen caught a pass from Jeter to convert.
But that would be all the points Daingerfield would get. Tatum scored 10 points in the second half to get the victory.
This is a Daingerfield program that’s gone 20-7 the last two seasons, including 11-3 last year.
After Daingerfield, Sabine hits the road for the first time this season next Friday night to DeKalb, and then hosts New Boston the following Friday, Sept. 25.