Ennis tennis team extends streak

Head coach says Lions are back to defend their district championship

Patty Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Ennis tennis head coach Keith Howard (center) Is surrounded by his varsity team following Tuesday's district match against Midlothian.

In his 26th year at the helm of the Lions tennis program, head coach Keith Howard continues to amaze his competitors at how he and his dedicated coaching staff continually produces winning teams year-after-year.

While many on-lookers thought the 2021-2022 tennis year was going to be a rebuilding year after graduating 8 of his top-notch players in May, Howard says, “Think again!” The Lions have won their district 11 years in a row, and they have compiled an impressive 75 district wins in a row.

At their first district match of the young fall team tennis season, the Lions walked off the courts of the Midlothian Panthers on Tuesday as victors after an intense meeting of two dog-fight opponents. This great match-up of two hard-working teams did not disappoint. In fact, it was a fierce battle from start to finish.

Some unusual side events also entered into the hot, afternoon matches, as one girls singles bout turned even more bizarre when one young lady got overheated and lost her lunch on the tennis courts. After some clean-up, the match progressed, with the “other” singles girl on the same court, rolling her ankle during one of their tough-fought points. After a brief delay, the tenacious young ladies re-entered their assigned court and finished off the match in tough-girl style!

Coach Howard says of his team, “I am super proud of my varsity players! They won a hard fought match with a total team count of 10 matches to 7 over a very tough Midlothian team. We always have battles against the Panthers, and this was one of their best match-ups ever.”

Howard continues, “After being down 4-3 at the conclusion of the doubles matches, the Lions rallied off 5 singles wins to take the team lead at 8-4, but Midlothian had a rally of their own in mind – and they came back and made the game count 8-7. Finally, Ennis clinched with a 10-7 count, with two matches left on the court. The final team score ended up as Ennis 11 and Midlothian 8. What a great afternoon and early evening of high school tennis!”

Assistant Coach Wyatt Johnson comments, “I have a lot of respect for the Midlothian team and staff for fighting and cheering and never giving up or going away. We simply trust in the Lion Tennis tradition of winning. It’s never easy, always has to be fought for, and has to be earned.”

Howard says, “After our first district match, we are sending notice to the rest of the district that our team is capable and ready to compete for that district team tennis championship. We still have a lot things to improve on, but this first district win was a definite step in the right direction.”