For many high school football teams, the playoffs are a privilege. For the Teague Lions, it’s expected.

The Teague Lions have been a playoff regular for the last several years. The last three have had a playoff loss to the Cameron Yeomen. Teague looks to break through the Yeomen on their way further in the season.

The Lions have also had three consecutive tough matchups against district rival Malakoff. The two seemed primed and ready for another cat fight later in the season when the Lions meet the Tigers in another district thriller.

Head coach and athletic director Donnie Osborn talked of this year’s team, “Our biggest opponent is us. When we play well, we will be tough to beat.”

Teague heads into the season with several skill positions already filled with producers from previous seasons. Tyrese Heard returns as the leading receiver (17 total touchdowns), and his brother Antonio moves from quarterback to slot receiver, adding a huge threat to that side of the ball. Tayvis Coleman returns to the Teague backfield after a nearly 1000-yard season, he was injured for five games in 2016.

The offensive linemen have lost some key players over the last couple of seasons but return three that will have an impact. Three-year starter on both sides of the ball, Marcus Williams looks to continue his tough play with skill and quickness. Jacob Maggard and Lawson Allison will add to the depth in the offensive line.

The defensive will continue to show the solid pursuit they have always shown. Trevor Cooper will return to the defensive front and slow down opposing offenses. Joined with Tyrus Busby on the defensive line and Dayveon Dixon at linebacker, the Lions should be set on defense.

Antonio Heard was the leading rusher with 1394 yards and as Coach Osborn added, “When the ball is in his hands, he makes things happen.”

Teague opens at home on with the Caldwell Hornets and travel to Mexia to avenge last years’ loss to the Blackcats. On September 15, the head to Crusader Stadium on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to take on the Dublin Lions.

After a week off, the Lions begin the marathon of district games in the eight-team district. They begin at home on September 29 against West, then a pair of road games at Elkhart and Eustace. The Lions host Whitney and then over to Groesbeck to take on the upstart Goats. The pivotal game is November 3rd at Teague when the Lions battle the Malakoff Tigers, a game which has decided the district race the last three years. Finally, they conclude the regular season on the road at Palestine Westwood.

The Teague Lions have the same team goals as before but they add one that is shared by all top teams in each classification. They want to have a December kickoff. The closer you play to Christmas, the better the chance to play in the spotlight. And the spotlight better move fast to keep up with the Teague Lions.

Pick up next week’s print edition for pictures of all the Teague Lion teams, athletes and their coaches.

(Photo by Monte Calame)