Harrison Dempsey

Gainesville senior Harrison Dempsey (11) runs the ball as senior Kyron Smith (45) and sophomore Eric Flores (58) block. Gainesville will celebrate Dempsey, Smith and 13 other seniors Friday.

Gainesville will celebrate senior night Friday at Leopard Stadium against the Lake Worth Bullfrogs.

Gainesville (2-6 overall, 1-2 District 4-4A-1) will honor 15 seniors in its final home game of 2021.

Lake Worth (7-1, 2-1) has been having a much stronger season than last year, and the Bullfrogs will be looking to keep that momentum going.

Gainesville coach James Polk said the Leopards are confident, as they are every week.

“They show their confidence in practice,” Polk said. “This group of guys, they really do practice hard. They really do like being around each other. They really do take in what we say. It’s just a matter of them doing that consistently.”

Among the seniors Gainesville will honor are star running backs Harrison Dempsey and Jayce Morgan. The duo has combined for 20 of the Leopards’ 21 rushing touchdowns this season, with fellow senior Kyron Smith having the other. Dempsey and Morgan have averaged a combined 209.9 rushing yards per game.

Dempsey, Morgan and Smith are also three of Gainesville’s top four leading tacklers. Dempsey leads the team with 59 total tackles, followed by Morgan with 23. Smith has 18.

Senior Cason Evans leads the Gainesville defense with three interceptions. He also leads the offense with 112 receiving yards and a touchdown. Senior Matthew Sebade has contributed 78 all-purpose yards.

Polk said the seniors have meant a lot to the program, and not just because of what they have done on the field.

“Because of their participation, directly or (indirectly), our numbers have gone up every single year,” Polk said. “I think that has something to do with leadership, and kids just want to be around other good kids. Those kids made really good grades. We got kids that are getting academic money for college. We got kids ranked in the top 10 percent that’s in that class… They meant a lot for the program, not just football.”

Polk said Lake Worth is multiple on both sides of the ball. The Bullfrogs use many different formations on offense and will both run and pass. They do the same on defense, using multiple formations to attack the ball. Polk said they play hard, and coach Tracy Welch has the program headed in the right direction.

The Leopards are still fighting for a playoff spot. A win against Lake Worth wouldn’t clinch one, but it would put Gainesville in a better position going into the final week. If the Leopards beat the Bullfrogs, they would need either a win over Springtown or a Lake Worth loss to Wichita Falls Hirschi to qualify for the postseason. If they lose to Lake Worth, they must beat Springtown.

Polk said Gainesville needs to consistently play disciplined football.

“We’ve played really good in moments or quarters or halves,” Polk said. “We need to play disciplined football for four quarters, through the entirety, because that’s what gets us. Maybe not being where we’re supposed to be on the field, and they exploit it. Not knowing what the snap count is, and it costs us. It’s just discipline.”

Kickoff at Leopard Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

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