Friday night's 54-46 loss to Tallulah has the Spartans looking for a rematch in the playoffs.
On the eve of last week's game against Tallulah Academy, Prairie View coach Bo Barton predicted the two sides would meet again.
Friday night's 54-46 loss to the Trojans did nothing to change his mind.
"It was a great game against a good opponent and a great chance early for out kids to see where we're at," Barton said. "Obviously, we feel like we're right there. Of course, we have some improvements to make."
Last year, the Spartans lost to River Oaks in the regular season. Two weeks later, Prairie View won the rematch on its way to advancing the Class 2A semifinals in 11-man.
Against Tallulah, the Spartans led 8-6 after a surprisingly low-scoring first half.
Things went downhill quickly when quarterback/linebacker Jacob Farrar's night was cut short by an ankle injury early in the first half.
Tallulah, which scored on all seven of its full second half possessions, grabbed a 28-8 lead midway through the third quarter and the Spartans could never catch up.
Sliding over to quarterback from fullback, Luke Denman completed 17-of-22 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Farrar's absence was more noticeable on the defensive side.
"We had a whole lot better plan to replace our quarterback than our Sam 'backer. Any time the loss of one kid causes that much drama on one side of the ball, you have to question yourself as a coach," Barton said. "The kids that played (linebacker) in the second half have the ability, they just weren't prepared. I talked to the kids about it when we were back in here Sunday watching film.
"As a coach, you have to hold yourself accountable, you have to hold the kids accountable and we have to hold each other accountable."
With the two teams trading touchdowns over the final quarter and a half, the Spartans gradually cut the lead to eight by making their 2-point conversions.
Denman's 51-yard pass to Jaheem Brown, and Austin Carroll's conversion run made it a one-possession game, 46-38, with 4:21 remaining.
Tallulah answered with Carter Sullivan's 26-yard run and Josh Collins' 2-point run to go up 16, 54-38.
Carroll's 10-yard reception and Gage Riles' 2-point catch closed the gap back to eight, 54-46 with 1:18 remaining.
"We had five chances to stop them and five chances to get an onside kick in the second half," Barton said. "Our offense answered everything they did."
Collins, the Tallulah quarterback, proved to be as good as advertised, rushing for 297 yards and six touchdowns on 21 carries.
"Nobody has stopped Tallulah all year and we stopped them for a half," said Barton, who coached the Trojans' 2016 8-man state championship team. "Obviously, you can't give up 56 points and win a state championship. When I was at Tallulah, we gave up 19 points to a better offensive team in the state championship game. We have to get better defensively, no doubt."
For the Spartans to get better, Barton says they will need more hands on deck.
"I feel pretty good about every position," Barton said of the starters. "We have to do a better job of getting some new kids ready to go. Right now, we're playing 11. The goal is to have 15 playing by Week 12."
To still be playing in Week 12, the Spartans will likely have to secure a wildcard bid. Only the district champions gain automatic entry into the playoffs.
"We're in a situation where we have to depend on somebody else to win the district championship," Barton said. "Someone has to beat Tallulah, which I don't see happening. Since that's probably not going to happen, we are going to have to win out."
Wide receiver Layton Wooodard was the Spartans' offensive catalyst with five receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 43-yard TD run off of a reverse.
At home again Friday night, the Spartans (2-1) take on Tensas Academy.