It will be a battle of two proud programs looking for their first win of the season when Calhoun hosts Yoakum for Homecoming Friday night.

The Bulldogs came within a whisker of defeating Industrial in the season opener before falling to perennial powerhouses Cameron Yoe and Cuero the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Sandcrabs suffered close losses in Week 2 and Week 3, games that came down to the final possession before slipping through their fingers.

Yoakum lost their best player, running back and linebacker Jayden Jones (5-10, 200), in the first half of the Industrial game, and his absence has impacted the Bulldogs the past two weeks. Calhoun Head Coach Richard Whitaker said he expects the sturdy senior to be back on the field Friday night.

“They lost a very dynamic player to a high ankle sprain,” Whitaker said. “We scrimmaged Yoakum last year, and he’s a youngster that really gave us fits. He’s a running back and linebacker and makes them a much, much better football team. He has not been on the field much. High ankle sprains sometimes can be several weeks or just a couple of weeks. I am just imagining Coach [Bo] Robinson, who is a very dear friend of mine, has been saving him for the Sandcrabs. I don’t know, but it would not surprise me to see him out there Friday.”

Coach Robinson played at the University of Texas, where he starred at defensive end. He also played for the Houston Oilers.

Robinson has an understanding of defense at the highest levels and excels at defensive game planning and game calling, Whitaker added.

“He’s a defensive guy,” Whitaker said. “He understands our offense very well. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of funny. At our scrimmage last year, he was standing back there with us and was calling our offense with us. So, he knows how we operate.”

In Jones’ absence, junior Qyion Williams has stepped into the lead-back role and is averaging almost 150 yards per game on the ground.

Junior quarterback Ty Gordon has passed for a pair of scores on the year and leads the offense under center.

Whitaker expects a pair of hungry football teams to clash Friday night at Sandcrab Stadium.

“This time of year, you can throw the records out the window,” Whitaker said. “I know our kids; this is homecoming, and they feel terrible right now that we have not put together a 4-quarter football game, and I feel the same way about Yoakum. Coach Robinson is gonna have their kids ready to play, and we expect nothing less than a great challenge Friday night in this game.”

Whitaker said homecoming week can sometimes be somewhat of a distraction for the football team’s preparation, but he expects the Sandcrabs to come out focused and determined to get that first victory.

“We addressed it on Saturday,” Whitaker said. “You want them to enjoy the festivities. I told them to enjoy this week and embrace it but understand that the most important thing for us happens at 7 o’clock Friday night. It’s not the costumes, it’s not the pep rally, it’s not the milk challenge afterwards, or anything else. It’s the football game. All those things mean absolutely nothing if you go out there and lose that football game. Our kids want to win. That’s what I told our kids after Sinton. Nobody wants to fumble the ball; nobody wants to miss a block or a tackle. We have kids who are trying to make plays. It’s just unfortunate that we haven’t come out on the winning side when the game ends.”