CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Region III Championship

Arp Tigers (11-2)

vs.

No. 2 Newton Eagles (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches

Coaches

  • Arp: Dale Irwin
  • Newton: W.T. Johnston

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces Lexington or Boling, Class 3A Division II semifinal

 

Playmakers

Arp

  • RB/FS Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 192 (98 carries, 1,044 yards, 15 TDs; 6 catches, 103 yards, 3 TDs; 42 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, 1 INT; committed to SMU)
  • ATH Demarvion Overshown, Jr., 6-4, 200 (147 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 3 INTs; 4 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD)
  • SB Demontre Wade, Jr., 6-0, 195 (151 carries, 940 yards, 10 TDs; 4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD)
  • QB Tyler Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 200 (35 of 82, 756 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs; 137 carries, 715 yards, 12 TDs)
  • CB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-8, 175 (31 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 4 INTs)
  • WR/CB Jacoby Hawkins, Sr., 5-6, 150 (20 catches, 417 yards, 3 TDs; 23 tackles, 1 INT)
  • LB Terry Nance, Sr., 5-11, 190 (83 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
  • SB Skyler Hotaling, Sr., 5-8, 155 (60 carries, 579 yards, 9 TDs)

 

Newton

  • RB J.D. Spikes, Sr., 5-9, 175 (136 carries, 1,211 yards, 20 TDs; 10 catches, 253 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Darwin Barlow, Soph., 6-0, 180 (126 carries, 1,083 yards, 13 TDs; 7 catches, 84 yards)
  • ATH Tamauzia Brown, Soph., 6-2, 170 (63 carries, 570 yards, 8 TDs; 14 catches, 415 yards, 5 TDs; 46 tackles, 4 INTs)
  • QB Brock Barbay, Sr., 6-2, 200 (91 of 147, 1,780 yards, 25 TDs, 3 INTs; 54 carries, 259 yards, 7 TDs)
  • DE Deviun Kinnebrew, Sr., 6-0, 208 (83 tackles, 30 for loss 15 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
  • DE Bryson Thomas, Jr., 6-1, 175 (72 tackles, 28 for loss, 14 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 blocked punts)
  • S Blake Kelley, Sr., 5-9, 155 (90 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 5 recoveries, 3 blocked punts)
  • LB Corbin Foster, Jr., 6-0, 220 (183 tackles, 10 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 INT)

 

Just the facts

  • Arp has a double-digit win total for the fifth time in 14 seasons under head coach Dale Irwin, and its first since 2011.
  • Newton is 67-14 in six seasons under head coach W.T. Johnston. The Eagles are shooting for their third semifinals appearance since 2012.
  • Arp is averaging 36 points and 365.3 yards per game -- 300 rushing and 65.3 passing.
  • The Tigers have had four of their games decided by seven points or less.
  • Arp's two losses this season came to Tatum (7-4 in 4A), and Elysian Fields (12-1).
  • Newton is averaging 44.2 points and 414.9 yards per game -- 274.9 rushing and 140 passing.
  • The Eagles' average margin of victory this season is 35.2 points.
  • Newton's defense has racked up 59 sacks and forced 34 turnovers on the season.

 

Arp RB Kayce Medlock. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Arp rushing attack vs. Newton defensive front. When the Arp Tigers possess the ball, it will be strength on strength, as Arp's explosive, power-run game matches up against a Newton defense that excels at the line of scrimmage. Arp has rushed for nearly 4,000 yards on the season, and four players enter Friday's regional title game with at least 579 rushing yards to their name. Senior tailback Kayce Medlock, an SMU commit, leads the team with almost 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns, which includes a yards-per-carry average of almost 11. But he's followed closely by slot backs Demontre Wade and Skyler Hotaling, who have combined for more than 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Tyler Stewart ranks third on the team with 715 yards and a dozen touchdowns, which is second-best on the club. When Arp is forced to throw is when it can get into trouble. Stewart completes less than 43 percent of his passes, and averages less than 60 passing yards per game, so it is vitally important that Arp move the ball on the ground against Newton.

Newton running back Darwin Barlow (24) breaks free for a big gain during the Eagles' 42-21 home win over Crockett on Oct. 7.

Arp will be facing the best defensive front it's faced all season in Newton, which has stopped opponents in their tracks all season long. The Eagles are allowing less than 10 points per game, and their defensive statistics resemble something out of a video game. Newton comes into this week with a whopping 151 tackles for loss, which is more than 11 per game. Senior tackle Christopher Conner leads the way in that department with 20 stops behind the line of scrimmage, followed closely by defensive ends Deviun Kinnebrew and Bryson Thomas, who have 29 tackles for loss in addition to their 29 combined sacks. As you might imagine, with a defense so good at the point of attack, Newton is adept at creating takeaways. The Eagles have forced 34 turnovers on the season, including 21 fumble recoveries.

Don't be surprised if: Arp tries to get the ball in the hands of Medlock as much as possible. At this stage of the playoffs, teams usually put all of their faith in their best players to carry them to victory, and Medlock will arguably be the most skilled player on the field for either side. The SMU pledge is third on the team in carries, but has made the most of his opportunities. Medlock averages just eight touches per game, but has turned that into 1,147 yards from scrimmage (11.0 yards per touch) and 18 touchdowns. If the Tigers turn him loose this week, it will be interesting to see how much Newton's quickness on defense will be challenged.