Feb. 12—Not only will the Jacksonville Football Indians have a new list of district opponents in the upcoming season, they will also be playing a pair of non-district games against teams they have not lined up against in 37 and 17 years, respectively.
The Tribe are scheduled to open the season with road games that will take them to Center (August 30) and to Brownsboro (September 6).
Jacksonville and Center last collided in 1987.
The Indians' last game against the Bears from Brownsboro came in 2007.
The Tribe's home opener will take place on Sept. 13, when former district rival Henderson is scheduled to invade The Historic Tomato Bowl.
A week later, Jacksonville will close the book on non-conference play by hosting Athens, another former district rival.
All of the Indians' non-conference opponents are Class 4A schools.
Center and Athens were bi-district finalists in 2023, while Brownsboro went 5-5 in a district that included Carthage, Center and Van.
Henderson defeated the Indians in the regular season finale to finish the year at 2-8.
"I think our fans will like our non-district schedule," Jacksonville athletic director and head football coach Jason Holman said. "Our goal was to give our kids an opportunity to win some games, and at the same time, get them ready for district."
While Palestine is a noticeable absence from the regular season schedule — the Indians and Wildcats will scrimmage, however, on Aug. 16 — Jacksonville will be playing its other geographical rivals in Henderson and Whitehouse.
Jacksonville will be moving up to Class 5A, Division II with the beginning of the 2024-25 school term. The Indians will open District 7-5A-II play on Sept. 27 by hosting Nacogdoches, which will also be homecoming for the Tribe.
Following a road trip to Hallsville on October 4, Jacksonville will be back home to square off against Whitehouse on Oct. 11.
The Indians will close out the season with what looks to be a trio of formidable foes. On Oct. 18, the Indians will visit Marshall and follow that fray up with the final home game of the season against the Tigers from Mount Pleasant on Oct. 18.
The regular season finale has Jacksonville making its longest — 147 miles each way — road trip of the season to take on Texarkana-Texas High, which should be the preseason favorite to win the district championship.
Jacksonville's open date will come on Nov. 8, the final regular season playing date of the season.
The Indians' second scrimmage, slated for Aug. 22, will pit the Tribe against the Rusk Eagles.
The location and time for the scrimmages are to be announced.
All regular season game will get under way at 7:30 p.m.