Vandals open season by hosting Mineola Friday night

This time a year ago, the Van Vandals entered Mineola to begin the season against the pre-season number one ranked team in Class 3A, Division I in one of the most anticipated regular season openers in East Texas.

Vandal players believed that their team was not receiving enough respect going into the game and they took their frustrations out on the Mineola Yellowjackets as Van claimed an impressive 41-21 season-opening victory.

Things have changed somewhat for the rematch Friday night at Van’s Memorial Stadium as the two teams will battle it out again in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff to begin the 2017 regular season campaign.

Mineola showed later on last season that their pre-season number one state ranking was well deserved as they overcame an 0-2 start to win 14 games in a row and claim the Class 3A, Division I state championship for the first time in school history.

It was also a memorable season for the Vandals in 2016 as they finished with an overall record of 12-2 becoming only the third team in school history to win 12 games in a season as they advanced to the Class 4A, Division I state quarterfinals before losing a difficult 34-28 decision to Kennedale last December.

Both teams were hit hard with graduation following last season as Van is looking to replace 15 seniors while the Yellowjackets are attempting to fill holes left by 18 seniors from 2016 not to mention their middle linebacker who transferred to Hallsville as his dad, head coach Joe Drennon, left Mineola to take over as head coach at Hallsville.

While Friday night’s season opener might not have quite the advanced billing as last year’s contest, there is still plenty to play for as the Vandals and the Yellowjackets tangle this season.

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