By Patty Hullett

Daily Light correspondent

ENNIS — The Lions of Ennis got off to a quick start last Tuesday, Sept. 10, when they faced the Midlothian High School netters. A large crowd from both cities gathered at the Ennis I.S.D. Tennis Center for an entertaining afternoon and early evening of team tennis competition.

The contest started with 3 boys doubles, 3 girls doubles, and 1 mixed (1 boy and 1 girl) doubles matches. From there, the 6 boys and 6 girls singles matches took to the courts to fight it out in this always-tough rivalry.

In fall team tennis, there are always a total of 19 matches to be played-out between the opposing schools. Both Ellis County schools played well last Tuesday, but at day’s end, Ennis varsity head coach Keith Howard and assistant Wyatt Johnson announced that the EHS squad defeated the Panthers by a final count of 15-4.

The Midlothian High School varsity and JV teams (around 160 students total) is under the direction of head coach Sam Wrinkle, with Brett Razlaff as his assistant.

Both of these fine tennis programs have worked hard over the summer, especially considering all the additional COVID-19 rules and regulations that have been put into place.

"I was very pleased how our Ennis Tennis team played in their season home opener," assistant coach Wyatt said. "You have to consider the current situation with the COVID problems, and then top that off with Tuesday, the 11th, being the first day of students being back in the actual classrooms at EHS, and then it was the first match of the year – all while playing a very competitive district opponent (Midlothian HS) who was also one of the contenders for the district title this last year.

"As coaches, we could not ask much more than what the Ennis Lions showed us on Tuesday night at the Lions Tennis Center. Our players competed hard against a team that would not give up or in, and it was good to see how the Lions came together as a team, and how they had as good of an outing as they did. With so much else going on, it was great way to start the fall season of play. We know now that we can build on that momentum as a team and it will help us continue as our season progresses."

On a final note, the Lions went on to compete against Tyler Legacy High School (No. 22 in 6A state tennis rankings) in East Texas on Friday afternoon. Try as they might, Ennis (ranked No. 22 in 5A) came up short against the Red Raiders, with a final team count 4 to 15.

"Our kids played tough, but they were just beaten by a better team last Friday," Howard said.

From there, the Lions were scheduled to travel to Joshua on Tuesday and then on to Arlington Martin High School next Tuesday, Sept. 22.