Indians, Longhorns set for district clash in Lone Grove

Beau Bearden

It’s that time of year again as the Lone Grove and Plainview high school football teams square off in the “five-mile feud.”

Every season holds a different storyline, but there’s more than bragging rights on the line at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 when the squads meet in Lone Grove. The Indians and Longhorns are neck and neck in the district standings, but that’s not the main focus.

“It’s about going and playing football,” said Lone Grove head coach Brad O'Steen. “Yeah, it’s a rivalry game and this and that, but you have to stay focused on the task at hand. That’s playing football. Whoever blocks the best and tackles the best usually wins. That’s what we focus on.”

It’s safe to say Plainview is concentrated on the same, especially since both squads are 2-1 in the District 3A-2 standings. The winner should gain control of third place as Sulphur and Kingston are both 3-0 and meet Thursday night.

And that fact easily makes this one of Plainview’s biggest contests in 2020.

“It’s the most important game we’ve played to this point,” said Indians head coach Joe Price. “We just need to do a good job of being ready to go, ready to play.”

Plainview has done that over the years, holding a 13-3 advantage in the all-time series dating back to 2004. The closest contest during that span was Lone Grove’s 21-12 win in 2014, but that could change Thursday.

“This could line up to be a really good game for anybody who’s wanting to come watch a high school football game,” O'Steen said. “They do some good things and we do some good things, so it’s going to be a good matchup.”

Longhorns quarterback Jace Brandenburg, who interestingly enough played for Plainview during his freshman and sophomore years, has put up big numbers in 2020.

The senior threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns last week against Dickson and racked up 300 yards and four scores against Pauls Valley two weeks ago.

But the Longhorns also have a ground attack as senior Cooper Robinson ran for 189 yards and three scores against Dickson, while adding 150 yards and two touchdowns against Pauls Valley.

“They have lot of good parts to their team,” Price said of Lone Grove. “Their quarterback (Brandenburg) does a pretty good job of running their offense. Defensively, they have some pretty talented guys on the line and at linebacker. There are some returning starters in their secondary, so they have some kids who are going to do a good job and be ready to go.”

The Indians also counter with some playmakers, including Morgan Pearson at wide receiver, Grant Graves at quarterback along with Blue Norman and Jeston Gilliam.

However, Caden Pickens is the one Plainview athlete that stands out most to O'Steen. The junior ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Madill, while also leading a tough defense.

“We have to stop what they do best and that’s handing (Pickens) the football,” O'Steen said. “Their front five — their defensive line and their mike linebacker, which is the Pickens kid — those guys play really good football. We’re going to have to manage those five guys and do what we do.”