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Comets, Longhorns to square off in Dickson

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

For the first time since 2017, the Dickson and Lone Grove high school football teams will battle on the gridiron in a district matchup.

However, the squads aren’t strangers — just 16 miles separates the two and the Longhorns have won 11 of the past 16 meetings dating back to 2004, with the Comets tallying a victory in 2018.

“Lone Grove has played (Dickson) forever — either being in the district or non-district,” said Longhorns head coach Brad O’Steen. “It’s kind of a rivalry game, being that we’re so close and everything. This is a big game for both teams.”

That’s especially the case as each squad is coming off a district loss. Lone Grove dropped a 28-8 setback to Kingston last week, while the Comets fell 48-7 to Plainview.

The Longhorns (3-2 overall, 1-1 District 3A-2) sit in a four-way tie for second place with Pauls Valley, Plainview and Madill, while Dickson (0-5, 0-2) is still looking for its first win of 2020.

However, the Comets have the same mentality after a loss as they would following a victory.

“We always call it a 24-hour rule,” said Dickson head coach Steve Day. “Whether you win or lose, you get 24 hours to move on from it. Even if you’re 5-0, it’s the 24-hour rule. You act like you’re 0-0 and competing to win the next game. That’s kind of been our motto or our thought process since I’ve been here. Whether you win or lose, you move on from it.”

Meanwhile, Lone Grove is likely using the same strategy after its two-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Kingston, which is tied for first in the district with Sulphur at 2-0.

The Longhorns trailed the Redskins 7-0 at halftime, but the momentum shifted in the wrong direction during the second half.

“We caught some breaks in the first half as far as on defense,” O’Steen said. “As far as defensively, we couldn’t execute and didn’t capitalize on some things. We should have been up 14-7 at halftime. (Kingston) came out and turned it up in the second half and we didn’t. We have to learn from that and get better.”

The Comets also know they have some areas to improve on, as they struggled to get much going offensively against Plainview.

“We go through all of our goals each week for offense, defense and special teams and kind of review it as a team to see which ones we hit and which ones we didn’t, and why we did and didn't hit those goals," Day said. “We try to point out positives — and the kids knew it — there weren’t a whole lot of positives with that game.”

However, that doesn’t mean Dickson doesn’t have stars that can make a difference. Johnny Smith and Jzavionn Bennett have caused problems for many teams and Lone Grove knows it.

“They have some guys who can play, they have some good athletes,” O’Steen said of the Comets. “This is more about us trying to get better. Obviously, we have to take care of our business against those guys. During a week like this, you just have to go get better, learn from your mistakes and not let them happen again.”