Leading 12-3A I teams square off in Winnie
Who would have thought Anahuac High School football would be playing for a chance to potentially win a district title?
Not many, including the coaching staff, who despite its belief in the direction of the program in year one of Greg Neece’s tenure in the post, thought of becoming a District 12-3A I title threat and playoff participant might take some time.
Now, the Panthers new-found glory will be put to the test 7:30 p.m. Friday when they travel to Winnie and a date with rival East Chambers in a game between two 5-0 teams. An Anahuac (5-3, 5-0) win would put it one step closer to the district title whereas an East Chambers (7-1, 5-0) victory would clinch it.
Anahuac can’t finish less than third place in the district having clinched a postseason spot last week with a 42-22 win over Hardin.
“To be in this position after starting 0-3 is an incredible testament to our kids,” Neece said. “We suit up 25 kids and a lot of those kids go both ways. There was a lot of promise with the new staff coming in and we start 0-3 it’s like ‘oh, no and nothing is ever gonna change.’ But we saw a little turnaround when we went up to Edna.
“I thought we had potential to be pretty good and could win some games when we got to district.”
Edna is currently 6-2 this season and held on late to hold off visiting Anahuac on Sept. 6.
The Panthers have rolled to five district games by an average of 16.8 points-per-contest and that’s including an 18-14 win at Buna and a 35-34 win at Woodville.
“We are very excited about being in this position and to go over to Winnie and play for a possible district championship,” Neece said. “No. 1 we do have some ability and some pretty good players.”
One of those players is quarterback/defensive back senior Foster Kreuzer who has used his legs more than his arm on offense will accounting for 23 total touchdowns. He also plays well on the defensive side of the ball.
“He is a dang good player,” Neece said. “He would have played on my state championship teams at Newton. He wouldn’t have been quarterback, but he would have been on the field all the time - offense and defense.”
Junior running back Landyn Fanus has become one of the most prolific running backs in the area with 853 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
“He can break the big one and he has shown that the last few games,” Neece said. “We just got some playmakers.”
Sophomore Zyon Clark is a 6-foot-3 wide receiver who has come on as the year progressed.
“He has making some outstanding plays and made some highlight reel plays the other night,” Neece said. “Terrell Cargo is making plays. He made a big catch the other night.
“We also have a freshman running back in Landon Corbitt who we all knew was going to be good, but didn’t expect to bring him up. We thought he would be JV and he’s done an outstanding job. He’s our best blocker and one of the best I’ve had in a long, long time. Every time you see him leading up on a play, he’s tipping someone over like a bowling pin.”
The offensive line has also come up deuces for the Panthers and combine that with the weapons they have, it makes for the district’s best offense.
“When you have a good line and combine that with some skill guys who can take it to the house, that’s a pretty good combination.” Neece said. “They have bought in and they are seeing the results of hard work.”
Now it comes down to the Buccaneers.
“I don’t think we are getting overhyped, especially if you aren’t an established program,” Neece said. “It’s a rivalry game and lately it hadn’t been one with one-way domination. I just want to give them a good game and keep it close in the fourth quarter and find a way to win the game.
“They are good. They have a lot of athletes. They have some kids who are lightning fast and seem like they are in a different gear. We are going to have our hands full. Our defense is coming around and getting more physical.”