W. Sabine football players think Hemphill's got their cat's tongue

PINELAND, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email

PINELAND, TX (KTRE) - West Sabine running back Brandon Weatherspoon says a tongue-less tiger and forked football field is just part of the rivalry with Hemphill.

"They ripped the tiger off, the tongue out," Weatherspoon said. "It just added fuel to the fire."

West Sabine High School students came to school shocked Friday morning when they found their tiger statue taken off the press box and his tongue cut out. Forks, spoons and newspaper littered the football field.

Fuel to light a fire of friendly competition.

"My first reaction?" Weatherspoon said. "I couldn't even get mad."

Tonight's the Pinecone Bowl Game, the annual contest between the two Sabine County schools.

"Our kids are already hyped up pretty high and this added to it so it's part of being Friday night football in Texas," West Sabine Principal Mike Ogden said.

The rivalry school may have got the cat's tongue, but the boys say it won't shut them down on the field.

"It pumped me up really," Weatherspoon said. "I'm getting emotional right now!"

As the boys picked up forks and spoons across their field, Zac Waller says that's not what bothered him.

"The thing that got to me was the tiger because that tiger's been there for a really, really long time," Waller said.

But Hemphill is sticking to their story. Nobody will admit they knew who pulled the prank.

"Oh yeah, it gets us real fired I mean they talk a lot of trash about us and what they going to do to us and we only come out on the field and do it with our helmets," Hemphill quarterback Anthony Singleton said.

As long as the pranks are in good spirit, Hemphill coach Eddie Henson says it adds another element to the game.

"I think it's just part of a big rivalry schools playing jokes on each other just getting each other fired up for a big game tonight," Henson said.

"The fun and games are beginning so let the game begin!" West Sabine Principal Mike Ogden said.

At 7:30 p.m., both teams take the rivalry straight to the football field.

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