Division 3A-1 Week 1 Preview: Grandview vs. Malakoff

Gavin DunawayBy Gavin DunawayAugust 22, 20205 Minutes

On Friday, August 28th, the Grandview Zebras are set to host a non-conference game against the Malakoff Tigers. The Zebras are currently ranked 2nd in Divison 3A-1 by Maxpreps while the Tigers are ranked 6th. In the last 5 years, Grandview and Malakoff have consistently made it to the playoffs and I have no doubt that they will both look to make a big statement in week 1.

The Zebras became back-to-back state champions last season in their 42 to 35 victory over the Pottsboro Cardinals. Those championships are the only two in the schools’ history despite an impressively consistent presence in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they finished last season with a 38 to 31 loss against the same Pottsboro Cardinals in the regional round of the playoffs. However, their 11 and 2 record is nothing to brush off since their only other loss that season came from the Grandview Zebras earlier that year.

That game took place in week 4 of the 2019 season. The Tigers trailed by 7 at the half and managed to score a touchdown with nearly 5 minutes left on the clock. However, during the Tigers’ celebration of that drive, they were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. That cost Malakoff 15 yards on the field goal and played a factor in Grandview ultimately blocking the attempt. The Tigers managed to gain one more possession before the game ended, however, they were unable to score on that drive.

Last seasons’ matchup between these two teams was extremely close and I expect the same in week 1 of this season.

Both teams have lost some very pivotal members of their team for this year.

Grandview will be without star RB Tremayne Gullatte. Gullatte was unable to play in the 2018 championship due to a torn ACL he received in the semifinal round. However, he made up for it by rushing for 5 touchdowns in last years’ championship match. Gullatte was a major force for the Zebras and losing him places much more pressure on the rest of the returning offense. The Zebras will also lose a big defensive playmaker in LB Antonio Arellano. Arellano exploded last season with 141 total tackles and 14 tackles for a loss. 

Malakoff will also have major players out since WR  Andreas Garrett and LB Colby Rush graduated earlier this year. Both players had leadership roles on the team and, now that they’re gone, the “next man up” mentality will be extremely important for the Tigers to fill their shoes.

Although there may be some gaps for each team to fill, they also return some exceptional players as well.

One such player for Grandview is star QB, Dane Jentsch. During last season, Jentsch threw for roughly 2,400 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also rushed for 567 yards and 6 touchdowns. For his phenomenal performance, he was named as the starting QB to the 2019 Class 3A all-state football team by the Associated Press. There is no doubt that Jentsch is currently one of the most prolific QBs in all of Division 3A.

Another notable return for the Zebras is TE/DE Dametrious Crownover. Crownover has multiple offers from Power Five conferences across the U.S. Among those offering him are Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Ohio State. Although most film of him online showcases his defensive capabilities, Crownover has playmaking abilities on both sides of the ball.

Malakoff also returns a talented QB in Darion Peace. In 2018, Peace threw for 2,300 yards and 30 touchdowns as well as rushing for 668 yards and 8 touchdowns. Malakoff will rely on his leadership and ability to adapt from losing one of his favorite targets in Andreas Garrett.

Ultimately, both of these teams have a fair number of returning players with playoff experience. However, considering that Grandview is coming off of a state championship and that they are bringing back even more experience than Malakoff, I’ll be looking for the Zebras to take the victory this week.

Gavin’s Prediction: Grandview wins by 3 points or less