Alto opens conference play at home: The Yellowjackets face Big Sandy Friday night

by Robin D. Best Contributing Sports Writer

The Alto Yellowjackets open at home this Friday against Big Sandy.

The Jackets, 3-2 during the non-conference schedule, are facing the 1-4 Wildcats in the conference season opener.

Alto completed its non-conference schedule with a loss to Corrigan-Camden 39-26. During the contest, the Jackets faced a large, talented, athletic front line, giving the Mean Sting some experience in adversity.

Alto head football Coach Ricky Meeks said the experience faced by his squad before the conference game schedule will give the team valuable experience in upcoming contests.

“That’s the thing about a game, its not ever as bad as you think it is and its not ever as good as you think it is,” Coach Meeks said. “That’s something there that we’re going to be able to build off of this week.”

Alto opened the non-conference schedule with a win over Palestine Westwood 48-28.

This was followed by a win over Timpson (51-27); a win at New Diana (32-14); a loss at home to Garrison (35-31); and finally, a loss to Corrigan-Camden (39-26).

The Jackets won both away games in non-district play and lost two of three games at home.

It is also interesting to note that both Alto losses were against teams with Bulldogs as a mascot.

Alto defeated Westwood (Panthers), Timpson (Bears) and New Diana (Eagles).

“We’re right in the middle of the stretch,” Coach Meeks said, noting that the team had two weeks to get ready for the Big Sandy Wildcats.

“They’re going to be just as good as Corrigan was,” Coach Meeks added. “We’ve got a few kids that we’ll be able to get back injury-wise and from rehab, so we’ve got to get them ready to go.”

Big Sandy opened its non-conference schedule, loosing to San Augustine (28-6); followed by a win over Timpson (30-14); a loss against Mineola (26-14) and a loss versus Rivercrest 42-36).

In spite of a sometimes porous defense, Big Sandy has averaged more than 30 points per game on offense.

Next week, Alto will travel to Carlisle, at Price, to take on the undefeated Indians.

Carlisle opened its non-conference schedule by crushing Sabine (Gladewater) 44-9.

Carlisle then defeated Troup, (35-28); Overton (56-0); New Boston (48-0); and Bowie (Simms) 56-7).

Carlisle is bristling with talent, including speed on both offense and defense, an average of more than 45 points per game and a stingy defense that has given up an average of one touchdown per game.

In week three of Conference play, the Jackets will host the Cushing Bearkats.

Cushing is also undefeated, having defeated Chilton (38-7); Mt. Enterprise (14-0); Burkeville (48-0); Hull-Daisetta (41-18); and All-Saints Episcopal (28-26).

The Bearkats are sporting their best start in a decade, mowing down several talented teams, led by a strong defensive/offensive line, fast backs and a knack for shutting down other teams’ offense with a smothering, pursing defense.

In week four of district play, the Yellowjackets will travel north of Tyler to Hawkins.

The Hawkins Hawks have a non-conference record of 2-3.

Hawkins opened its non-conference play against All-Saints Episcopal, downing the Tyler school 41-23).

The Hawks lost at Beckville (30-12). In week three, the Hawks were defeated by Linden-Kildare (41-12); and in the last week of non-district play, Hawkins defeated Como Pickton, downing them by a score of 22-7.

Hawkins has a strong offense and a defense that can be strong but tends to be victimized by big plays.

In week five, Alto will close out its district season with an away game just north of Gladewater against Union Grove.

The Lions are also undefeated in non-conference play, being a perennial threat to go deep in the playoffs, seeking a state championship.

Union Grove began its non-conference schedule with a 20-zip win over Bowie (Simms). The Lions then defeated Overton (32-14); Quitman (28-22); defeated Harleton (28-21); and finally defeated Mt. Enterprise (40-29).

Union Grove is another “speed team” whose offense always seems to score twice as many points as its defense allows.

The schedule appears to be challenging for the Yellowjackets.

Alto is getting used to a new system with a new coach. But Coach Meeks is looking forward to the task of getting the team ready to face a new conference-play schedule starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cam’Ron field in Alto.