Alto’s Explosive Defense Hopes To Keep Kayce Medlock + Arp Contained In Friday’s Showdown
Arp Tigers (1-1)
Alto Yellowjackets (2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Cam'Ron Matthews Field, Alto
- Arp: Dale Irwin
- Alto: Paul Gould
- Arp: def. Hughes Springs, 42-20
- Alto: def. Big Sandy, 44-21
- Arp: vs. Shelbyville, Sept. 16
- Alto: vs. Garrison, Sept. 16
- RB Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 186 (committed to SMU)
- RB/DB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-7, 150
- LB Jordan Brantley, Sr., 5-9, 200
- RB/LB Jacobe Hunt, Sr., 5-10, 180
- RB/LB Terry Nance, Sr., 5-9, 175
- WR/DL DeMarvion Overshown, Jr., 6-4, 200
- QB Tyler Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 175
- OL/DL Mack Stroupe, Sr., 6-1, 215
- WR/DB Mikkah Hackett, Sr., 6-0, 175
- QB/DL Fred Thacker, Soph., 6-2, 230
- RB/LB Jaqualon Finley, Jr., 5-10, 180
- RB/LB Nick Pope, Sr., 5-11, 175
- OL/DLRa’Dedrick Woodson, Jr., 5-9, 265
- OL/DL Steven Soto, Jr., 6-0, 270
- WR/DB Jayren Whitaker, Jr., 6-2, 170
- WR/LB Jaquenton Moore, Jr., 6-7, 200
Just the facts
- The Tigers and Yellowjackets last met in 2009. Arp won the game, 35-0, en route to a third-round playoff appearance in the old Class 2A playoffs.
- A Class 2A Division I program, Alto is a half-class smaller than Arp and has 58 fewer students than Arp's enrollment of 255 pupils.
- ETSN.fm picked the Tigers to win District 9-3A Division II and Alto to win District 11-2A Division I in the preseason.
- Arp running back Kayce Medlock won the ETSN.fm + APEC Football Recruiting Combine's Offensive Most Valuable Player Award in May and subsequently verbally committed to SMU.
- The Yellowjackets are currently enjoying a three-game home stand. They defeated Big Sandy last week and host Garrison next week.
- Alto is No. 2 in ETSN.fm's Class 2A/Private Schools Poll behind Tenaha and is receiving votes in the Associated Press' state wide 2A Poll.
- The Tigers are ranked fifth in the ETSN.fm Class 3A Poll behind Harmony, Crockett, Malakoff and Newton in ascending order.
- Arp will travel 44 miles to Alto.
Key matchup: Alto's dominant defense versus Arp's offense.
Tigers running back Kayce Medlock is a respected player. He's working in the backfield alongside a very good quarterback in Tyler Stewart and benefitting from physical receivers on the perimeter. And all behind a mostly experienced line.
But Alto's bread and butter in recent years has been its backbreaking plays on defense to supplement an explosive offense. Thirteen Yellowjackets defenders have already recorded 38 tackles for loss and a further five sacks. That's 43 plays for negative yardage in two games ahead of opponent penalties and two fumbles lost in the same span.
Athlete Mikkah Hackett leads the team with 22 tackles, including seven for loss. Defensive end Jared Johnson also has seven tackles for loss and a sack toward 15 takedowns in total.
Arp's offensive line is going to have to be at the top of its game. It will not matter that Medlock is a rare NCAA Division I FBS recruit at the smaller school level if Alto can consistently beat the opposing unit and trap the star runner in the backfield.
This won't be an easy win for the larger Arp team. If it's a win at all.
Don't be surprised if: Alto's Mikkah Hackett impresses on both sides of the ball and keeps the Yellowjackets close at all times.
In addition to leading the defense in sheer tackles, Hackett has averaged 32 yards on three receptions. He also averages three yards per rushing attempt on limited touches.
Fred Thacker is another Yellowjacket to keep an eye on offensively. He has softened the blow of losing former star Keenen Johnson to Tulsa with 454 rushing yards from the quarterback spot on top of 7-of-20 passing for 160 yards and a touchdown to one interception.