CLASS 3A DIVISION II REGIONAL

Arp Tigers (7-5)

vs.

Waskom Wildcats (12-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Pine Tree's Pirate Stadium, Longview

Coaches
  • Arp: Dale Irwin
  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling
Last week
Next week
  • Winner faces winner between Paul Pewitt and West Rusk, state quarterfinals

Playmakers

Arp

 

  • ATH Kayce Medlock, Jr., 6-0, 180 (24-62, 366 yards, 2 TD, 10 INTs; 110 carries, 1,184 yards, 15 TDs)
  • RB Julian Herndon, Sr., 6-0, 195 (172 carries, 1,309 yards, 16 TDs)
  • WR Tray Baker, Jr., 5-7, 150 (11 catches, 201 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Tommy Reese, Sr., 6-1, 185 (15 catches, 333 yards, 5 TDs; 107 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 3 forced fumbles)
  • LB Demarvion Overshown, Soph., 6-0, 175 (118 tackles, 7 for loss, 7 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forded fumble)

 

Waskom

 

  • RB/LB Chan Amie, Sr., 5-11, 175 (157 carries, 1,780 yards, 27 TDs, 5 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs; 157 tackles, 39 for loss, 7 sacks, 2 fumbles forced)
  • LB Mike Reason, Sr., 5-8, 170 (141 tackles, 29 for loss, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 safety)
  • WR/DB Eric Stephens III, Sr., 5-8, 150 (19 catches, 479 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB/DB Keileon Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 165 (101 tackles, 43 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 INT)
  • QB Dylan Harkrider, Sr., 6-3, 180 (50 of 96, 1,001 yards, 18 TDs, 3 INTs, 96 carries, 505 yards, 6 TDs)
  • WR/LB Lucas Norton, Sr., 5-8, 160 (9 catches, 176 yards, 3 TDs; 56 carries, 582 yards, 6 TDs)

 

Just the facts
  • Friday's regional semifinal meeting is a rematch of Waskom's 55-23 District 8-3A Division II win against Arp on Oct. 9.
  • The Tigers have won six straight games since their loss to the Wildcats, and they needed each of the first four to even reach the playoffs.
  • Arp's two playoff wins came against teams that at least tied for a share of their districts' titles.
  • Waskom has outscored its playoff competition, 78-14, through two postseason games.
  • Wildcats senior defensive back Keileon Johnson leads East Texas with 43 tackles for loss, and Waskom's has 205 tackles for loss in total.
  • The Tigers have two 1,000-yard rushers in senior Julian Herndon and junior Kayce Medlock.
  • Waskom has a 27-game winning streak. That's second best in East Texas behind Gilmer's 28 games.
  • With West Rusk on the other side of the Region II bracket, up to two District 8-3A Division II teams could play in next week's regional championship game. One team will certainly make it.
  • Pirate Stadium is a 46-mile trip for Waskom and a 29-mile trip for Arp.
Arp quarterback Kayce Medlock is the Tigers' second leading rusher and has 1,189 yards in addition to 15 touchdowns on the ground. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Arp's running game against Waskom's defensive front.

The Tigers' passing numbers have virtually come to a standstill through their current six-game winning streak while Julian Herndon and Kayce Medlock have shouldered the offensive load on the ground. Arp's 23 points scored against Waskom was the second-worst point total the Wildcats have given up all season.

Herndon is a durable back at six feet and 190 pounds. He has powered his way to more than 1,300 rushing yards. Medlock is an athletic compliment with 1,189 yards. Combined, the duo have 56 percent of Arp's total offense.

The Wildcats' defensive objective will obviously be to contain the two runners. They're equipped for that with two All-State linebackers in Chan Amie and Mike Reason. The defense has 205 total tackles for loss as a whole.

Arp will need to be innovative to work around the running obstructions, but Herndon, Medlock and the offensive line will ultimately have to play at their best to knock out the defending state champions.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is closer than the 55-23 beat down Waskom gave Arp on Oct. 9. First, the Tigers had lost four straight games ahead of that meeting. Second, and most importantly, it's easier for the losing team to make adjustments to their game plan than the winning team.

The Wildcats will obviously come into the game confident about the job it did to Arp nearly two months ago. But the Tigers should be playing with much more confidence and with a slightly different approach to beat Waskom's elite defense this time around.

Waskom safety Keileon Johnson leads the Wildcats with a staggering 43 tackles for loss. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)