Pucker Up Close Your Eyes Kiss Your Winning Streak Goodbye
Schools & Sports
All hope seemed to be lost.
After pushing through their regular seasons for successful outcomes (the Forney Jackrabbits at 9-1 and the second seed in district, and the Port Arthur Memorial Titans right behind them at 8-2 as the third seed in district), the Jackrabbits and the Titans faced off for the bi-district championship title last Friday. The Titans were familiar with the routine, after making a run for the state title last year and being crowned area champions. For the Rabbits, things were a bit more fresh as they would be making their second playoff appearance after a 5-year drought and being eliminated in the first round by the Barber Hill Eagles last year. However, the newcomer Jackrabbits ended up securing the victory in the end with a 44-7 score.
On the sunny morning of November 7, 2023, the Crandall Independent School District community gathered in the Heartland community to witness a momentous occasion— the Opal Smith Elementary School ribboncutting ceremony. The event celebrated education, unity, and the legacy of a beloved teacher, Opal Smith.
The Forney High School Band placed 4th in the State UIL Marching Band Finals Competition on Tuesday night November 8. This was the 4th time that the band has made it to the UIL Finals. 4th place is the highest rating the band has ever received. The band went into the finals after achieving a 5th place spot in the State 5A Prelims on the previous night. There are 252 5A high school bands in Texas. In the State Finals, the top 12 of 5A bands compete.
A couple of weeks ago, my son TJ and I were on a Frontier Airlines flight to Phoenix to see games 4 and 5 of the World Series. We didn’t even have tickets, but that would soon change.
Forney had already secured their spot in the playoffs and clinched a firstround home game after their 40-7 victory against McKinney North on October 28th. Regardless of the outcome of last Friday’s game, the Jackrabbits would end their regular season on an extremely high note, finishing second in the district with an almost perfect record. However, the Jackrabbits still came together and put up a strong front with a 53-29 win against the Tyler Lions, making them 6-1 in district play. Not only was it the Lions’ “Senior Night” and last game of their regular season, but a win could have potentially put them in the running for a playoff spot depending on the outcome of Lancaster’s game against Lufkin. Unfortunately, it seems like choosing to schedule the #21 school in Texas for that specific night, the same school that bested them by 44 points for a 57-13 score last year, wasn’t the brightest decision– or maybe it was, considering their seniors were celebrated during their final hurrah. Among these seniors is Derrick McCall, a four-star running back committed to UCLA who can also suit up at quarterback. But even a star like that can only shine so bright when the Jackrabbits come out to play.
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All photos by EDDY TAYLOR
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Pirates Get Stung By Yellow Jackets 48-22
The Falcons and Red Raiders headed into last Friday night both with 3 and 1 records in the district, each looking for the 2nd spot and a potential home playoff spot. The offense and defense had great nights once again this week. The defense held the Raiders to 3 points and only 177 total yards. The defense forced several fumbles and potential interceptions but only ended up with one recovery.
As this year’s chapter begins to come to a close, a new one has opened: the chapter of unpredictable (and typically, unfavorable) Texas weather. Forney’s game against McKinney North was expected to be one for the books for multiple reasons. Our senior Jackrabbits involved with Friday Night Lights – which includes football players, cheerleaders,Highsteppers, band members, and more – were going to be honored for their contributions over the past four years as they were walked down the field by their loved ones, followed by the Jackrabbits taking on a team that beat out and fell to many of the same schools as them for a predicted one-score game. However, the weather had other plans, and after multiple lightning delay resets, the game was rescheduled for last Saturday with a noon kickoff and canceled Senior Night festivities. Despite having to readjust and still play in unsavory conditions, as the temperature at kickoff was predicted to be 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the Jackrabbits knew that they were going to have to give it their all if they wanted to play on their own turf for their first-round playoff game and continue to solidify their program as a Dallas powerhouse. Head Coach Jeff Fleener reminded his players that playoff games and collegiate games are played on Saturdays and the Jackrabbits should aim to prove that they can do that as well. And prove they did, with a 40-7 (so, definitely not one-score) victory against the McKinney Bulldogs for their third consecutive win and their eighth overall win this season. Although the Bulldogs were the only ones to put up points within the first quarter, the Jackrabbit defense put a swift end to that, and the Forney players were the only ones scoring touchdowns for the rest of the game.