Arp Takes On Crockett In One Of The Biggest All-East Texas Playoff Games Of The Week
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Region III Semifinal
Arp Tigers (10-2)
Crockett Bulldogs (11-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Westwood's Panther Stadium, Palestine
- Arp: Dale Irwin
- Crockett: Jimmy Thompson
- Arp: def. New Waverly, 49-7
- Crockett: def. Clifton, 35-0
- Winner plays Elysian Fields or Crockett, Class 3A Division II, Region III championship game
- RB Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 186 (committed to SMU)
- RB/DB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-7, 150
- RB/DB Demontre Wade, Jr., 6-0, 205
- LB Jordan Brantley, Sr., 5-9, 200
- LB/RB 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 Lucky Daniels, Sr., 5-10, 175 (committed to Lamar)
- OL/DL Tim Riley, Sr., 5-10, 325
- QB B.J. Anderson, Sr., 5-11, 150
- LB Ahmad Brown, Jr., 6-0, 225
- DB Alton Owens, Fr., 5-7, 155
- RB Xavion Dixon, Sr., 6-1, 203
- RB/LB Dekeidrian Rollins, Sr., 5-11, 180
- WR/LB Latavian Jones, Sr., 6-3, 183
Just the facts
- Arp and Crockett have combined to not lose a game since the week of Oct. 7.
- Both teams finished as runners up in their respective districts. Their two champions, Elysian Fields and Newton, are playing in the other Class 3A Division II, Region III semifinal game.
- As far as college football interest is concerned, Arp's headliner is SMU running back commitment Kayce Medlock. Crockett receiver Lucky Daniels has verbally pledged to Lamar.
- The Bulldogs outscored their first two playoff opponents by a combined score of 91-7. The Tigers have defeated their postseason opposition by a combined score of 104-19.
- Both teams reached this round last year.
- Arp lost its third-round playoff game to the ultimate 3A Division II state champion, Waskom.
- Crockett lost in the fourth round to the eventual 3A Division II state runner-up, Franklin.
- Arp will travel 55 miles to Palestine Westwood's Panther Stadium. Crockett has a 39-mile trip.
Key matchup: Arp's running game versus Crockett's defense.
This is the matchup which will pit most of the Tigers' best athletes against the Bulldogs' strength when the team utilizes its best players for roles on defense.
The best thing about Crockett's defensive unit is its size. It is a very big team for the Class 3A Division II level on both sides of the ball, but it certainly imposes its will when the ball is in the other team's hands.
Crockett averages less than two touchdowns given up per game and has three shutouts to its name in the past five games. The team has four shutouts in total through 12 contests.
Linebacker Ahmad Brown anchors the Bulldogs' defense. He was expected to be one of Carthage's best returning defenders off a Class 4A Division I state semifinals appearance a season ago before his mother took a job at Crockett as a basketball coach.
Brown helps highlight the defense's size. He's 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds.
However, Tim Riley is the biggest body. The East Texas Baptist University offensive line commitment can double as a defensive tackle and is part of a defensive line that can average well above 285 pounds when all of its heavy linemen are in the game.
None of that is ideal news for Arp, but any defense is susceptible to big plays. And the Tigers have their share of playmakers.
SMU running commitment Kayce Medlock, a senior, scored three times in last week's easy win against New Waverly. UTSA wants junior athlete Demarvion Overshown to commit to their program. Quarterback Tyler Stewart is one of the region's most experienced signal-callers.
The big question is whether Arp's offensive line is up for the challenge Crockett's defensive front will throw at it. Say what you want about the competition, but the primary Tigers blockers turned in particularly great games against Alto and Waskom earlier this season.
Alto was a Class 2A Division I state championship contender with video game defensive numbers before injuries derailed its season. Arp won that game, 27-7, against a healthy team.
Waskom was somewhat of a disappointment off two consecutive state championship wins, but its defense did have the bulk of the best returners off the second award-winning team.
Furthermore, Arp's offense was one drive shy of at least taking unbeaten Elysian Fields to overtime. A win there plus its other league victories would have given the Tigers a district championship.
Expect this game to be won near the line of scrimmage.
Crockett has the defensive competency to swarm Arp's ball carries. On the other hand, the Tigers have the playmakers to score if the collective offense turns in a complete game.
If the Tigers can't score, Crockett probably has the size on offense to eventually wear down Arp's defense for the win.
Don't be surprised if: Arp and Crockett's kick return men play a major role in the game's outcome.
Not much separates the two teams on defense. Crockett's oversized defenders surrender about two touchdowns per game and Arp's is liable for just 15.4 points per game.
If the defenses uphold their ends of the bargain, a good chunk of yardage can still be gained without defense being on the field in the form of kick return and punt returns. The field is more open, and the players on the kicking side collectively are not as sure tacklers as the players that make up their respective defenses.
Arp can utilize SMU commitment Kayce Medlock and UTSA target Demarvion Overshown when returning kickoffs and punts. Crockett can turn to Lamar receiver commitment Lucky Daniels to tee his team up with good field position.