It might not have meaning in terms of playoff scenarios or district standings, but some Terrell players might have a little extra motivation for their final road game of the season on Friday at Lancaster.
On the opposite sideline will be Chris Gilbert, who coached the Tigers to a 13-8 record, including a 2009 playoff appearance, before leaving to take over Terrell's 15-4A rival after last season.
"It's going to be an emotional game," said Terrell offensive lineman Tavian Taylor. "We thought we had a good committed coach and then he left. But I understand why he left."
Perhaps that emotion can help to jump-start a Terrell team that is still winless in district play, having lost six straight games including a 27-10 defeat against West Mesquite on Oct. 21.
Terrell (2-6, 0-6) used an improved defensive effort to limit the Wranglers last week before West Mesquite pulled away in the second half. Terrell head coach Darrell Jordan said he will look for continued development during the final two weeks of the season.
"The success that we had last week is something that hopefully we can build on this week," Jordan said. "We want to try and finish up strong. You want to finish on a positive note, because you go into the off-season that way."
Meanwhile, the Terrell continued its struggles during a stretch in which it has scored 10 points or fewer in five of its six district games. Too many drives result in punts or turnovers, and Jordan hopes that unit will develop more consistency late in the year.
"We had no offense. We just have to find a way to get it going. It's been four weeks and we haven't generated anything," Jordan said. "You can't expect the defense to play 48 minutes and not get any help."
The Terrell injury report was lengthy after a physical game against the Wranglers. Quarterback Shea South, who was taken from the field on a stretcher after rushing for a touchdown, has a concussion and will miss Friday's game, Jordan said. The senior could return for the season finale against Ennis.
Sophomore quarterback Quincy Jackson also will miss the Lancaster game with a shoulder injury sustained during a loss to Corsicana on Oct. 14, leaving sophomore Cameron Smith as the starter for Friday.
Jordan said the most likely backup at quarterback is freshman Damon Moss, who has been a standout for the Terrell freshman squad this season and has been taking varsity snaps this week in practice.
"As these next two ball games go on, we've got to find out about these guys who are going to be here the next couple of years," Jordan said. "They're going to have to get some more playing time."
Starting tailback Dwayne Dowell, who suffered a neck stinger in the West Mesquite game, was doubtful early in the week, but Jordan expects him to play against Lancaster.
That could leave some more snaps in the backfield for senior Matavious Morris, who carried the ball five times against the Wranglers in addition to his duties as a starter on defense and special teams.
"He's a bigger back and a bigger blocker," Jordan said. "He's a good addition to our offense."
The game has plenty of meaning for Lancaster (6-2, 4-2), which could clinch a playoff spot with a win on Friday. Lancaster had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 34-13 loss at Waxahachie last week.
Lancaster features an efficient mix of rushing and passing behind quarterback Davon Hodge, who had thrown 15 touchdown passes and completed 69 percent of his throws this season. Jaquan White has eight touchdown receptions, while Demarcus Ayers has combined for 10 touchdowns as both a rusher and receiver.
Lancaster has gotten itself into playoff contention thanks to a pair of one-point wins in 15-4A play over Forney and Mesquite Poteet, along with a key victory over West Mesquite.
"They've got all kinds of weapons. They're well-balanced," Jordan said. "They throw the football well and run the football well."
Several Terrell players are still on the roster who played for Gilbert during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, including an eight-win campaign two years ago that included a bi-district playoff loss to Waco University.
"I think it means a lot. We want to show him that we still play hard and we still want to win," said Terrell kicker Josh Simmons. "We want to win, but we want him to do well also."
Terrell offensive lineman Andre Black there is added incentive for wanting to beat Gilbert's team, but not out of anger or revenge.
"I'm always going to respect coach Gilbert, but my motivation is to show him that he left a good team and a good-hearted team," Black said.