MURRELL COLUMN: Black Friday: Football surplus

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade can, in a way, be confused with the Tournament of Roses Parade.

They’re both colorful. They each ring in a holiday. And following such majestic pageantry is a surplus of football.

On the telly, we should be thankful for Texas A&M’s presence in the Southeastern Conference. Don’t worry about the Aggies not beating Alabama. Just be thankful that a real college football rivalry still exists on the holiday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Gone are the days of Nebraska and Oklahoma and, sadly, Texas and Texas A&M. Even Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State has been relegated to a Saturday on the SEC Network.

Aggies vs. Tigers spells one thing: A good old bayou brawl to make some of us forget about Black Friday.

Oh, but many of you will have already shopped for $400 or so worth of eye candy to keep your loved ones entertained and, well, loved throughout the holiday season before you read this column. Black Friday thanks you very much for your patronage.

And I, the same to you.

Which is why I ask that you consider a Black Friday of a different kind we all can be thankful for: A surplus of football.

Local. High school. Football.

Here we are in the 14th week of the season, and we still have two of our biggest high schools competing in the 5A playoffs and two more in the 4A tournaments.

Let’s be thankful to each team for the players and coaches who continue to entertain us and cause community pride to swell:

Port Arthur, give thanks to the Memorial Titans. This is their best season in five years and they have performed as advertised ever since their move to District 22-5A. How often do you get to watch two Division I commits on each side of the ball, quarterback Kadon Harrison and cornerback Kary Vincent Jr., master their talents and find themselves surrounded by other Division I-worthy athletes 14 weeks into a season? Elijah Hines, De’Andre Angelle ane Jaecorien Barnes, thank you for continuing to perform at a high level. I hope you find playing the game worthy of your thanks, too. You’re a fun team to watch.

Port Neches-Groves, your unmatched fanfare in itself is of rich, colorful pageantry. So is your dedication to the Indians. You don’t take these playoff runs likely; heck, you’ve waited six years for the Indians play in the third round. And nothing was more important to you than to turn a Thanksgiving morning practice into a family affair. Well played, PNG; you’ve perfectly reminded us family and friends come before football. Another week to watch Roschon Johnson, Dylan McGough, Preston Riggs, Logan LeJeune and other Indians gives me so much more to be thankful.

West Orange-Stark, thank you for being West Orange-Stark and showing why you’re revered around the area year in and year out. Fear not; though the journey is sure to be tougher, it’s the foes you face who have more to fear. You’re so physical across the board and you make ways for your playmakers. Southeast Texas probably won’t have a state championship to celebrate without you, but maybe Memorial and PNG can prove otherwise.

Bridge City, you’ve remained humble in your rise from controversy and you are rewarded for your resilience. The uncalled-for actions of two football players ruined the image of an entire community, but only for a short while. Coach Dwayne Dubois, you should be highly commended for your proper handling of unwarranted unrest and your guidance of the Cardinals on and off the field. You, sir, and your football team have regained a positive image as you continue to chase prominence.

As for me and my household (of one), I am so thankful that you’ve welcomed this Arkansas traveler — as a faithful reader calls me — into your coffee table and living room sofas for the past 15 months and allowed me to bring you the highlights of Friday night lights … and then some.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.