Local 6-man teams start today

Nolan County’s two six-man Hornet football teams begin the regular season today with hopes of showing much better results than a year ago when they combined for just four victories, with one of them coming as the result of a forfeit.Highland is facing a tough opener against Motley County at Jayton’s Gridiron Classic starting at 6 p.m. as it begins trying to improve on last year’s season that ended at 3-7. The Classic is a three-day tournament that will feature a total of seven games. Motley County was the state runnerup in Divi-sion II this past season.Blackwell, which was just 1-9 a year ago, hosts West-brook in its opener at 7:30 p.m. today. The Hornets haven’t won on the field in two years, but have a new coach (Clint Lowry) and are expected to be an improved team with a number of ret-urning starters on both sides of the ball. A win over Westbrook, which was 4-6 a year ago, would give Black-well a giant dose of confi-dence to begin the year.Lowry replaces Nathan Hayes, who left after five seasons to become the head coach at Crowell. Lowry has also had coaching stops at Grandfalls-Royalty, Brooke-smith, Sands and most recently Rising Star where he was head coach the past three seasons.Highland, which narrow-ly missed the playoffs last year despite its overall record, also has high hopes of returning to the postsea-son for the first time since 2009 when it was state runnerup, but is in a tough district that includes top-10 teams Ira and Rotan. The Yellowhammers made their six-man debut Thursday at Jayton’s Gridiron Classic against 2011 Division I state champion Throckmorton and lost to the Greyhounds by a score of 78-40.Highland’s game against Motley County is the second of three on today’s Classic schedule, which also features Paducah vs. Newcastle at 4 p.m. and Jayton vs. Lueders-Avoca at 8 p.m.