Arp Tigers
vs.
No. 6 Tatum Eagles

7:30 p.m. Friday
Eagle Stadium
Coaches
Arp: Dale Irwin
Tatum: Andy Evans
Next week
Arp: vs. Paul Pewitt
Tatum: at Winnsboro
Playmakers
Arp
  • ATH Michael Roberson, Sr., 5-9, 165
  • RB Mikechell Potts, Sr., 5-7, 155
  • RB Marcalas Johnson, Soph., 5-9, 175
  • RB/LB John Hawkins, Jr., 6-1, 195
  • DE Sam Stroupe, Sr., 6-2, 205
  • OLB Jeremy Shelton, Sr.
  • DT Cory Ayers, Sr., 6-0, 240
  • LB Mason Bobbitt, Sr., 6-0, 200
  • OT Brandon Perez, Sr., 5-10, 250
  • OT Dimitri Bowe, Sr., 5-9, 240
Tatum
  • LB Kiano Lucas, Sr., 6-0, 210
  • OG Darius Whiting, Sr., 6-0, 265
  • RB Shaq Johnson, Sr., 5-5, 155
  • WR/CB C.J. Whitaker, Sr., 5-8, 165
  • QB/FS Javolick Garrett, Sr., 6-0, 180
  • OL/DT Tristan Durden, Sr., 6-4, 292
  • QB Darian Brooks, Sr., 6-2, 200
  • ATH Klifton Willis, Jr., 6-0, 180
  • LB Kyshaun Smith, Soph., 6-1, 200
  • FS Jaylen Shans, Jr., 5-10, 160
Just the facts
  • Tatum enters 2012 ranked sixth in the Associated Press Class 2A poll. Arp is the top team among others receiving votes.
  • Tatum held opponents to 18.1 points per game in 2011, while scoring 32.0.
  • Arp yielded 22.2 points per game last season and scored 38.6.
  • Arp has reached the state quarterfinals four times since 2007.
  • Tatum has reached the state semifinals four times since 2005.
  • Tatum played two quarterbacks during two-a-days and scrimmages: senior Darian Brooks and senior Javolick Garrett. The Eagles are replacing standout Jalen Overstreet (Texas) at QB.
  • Arp must also replace a veteran quarterback after Kyle Copeland (Air Force) graduated.

 

Key matchup: Arp's running game vs. Tatum's front seven. Arp has a stable of running backs led by Mikechell Potts, Marcalas Johnson, John Hawkins, and perhaps Michael Roberson if coach Dale Irwin opts to get the ball into his hands in various ways. Tatum boasts a large defensive front including mammoth defensive tackles Tristan Durden and Cambron Beall (6-3, 300), and two-way lineman Darius Whiting is far from small himself. Lurking behind them is linebacker Kiano Lucas, Tatum's leading tackler in 2011. The team that can win at the line of scrimmage, especially in this matchup, will have a distinct upper hand in winning a huge season opener between 2A powers.

 

Don't be surprised if: Tatum's size is gives the Eagles a big advantage. Tatum will be larger than virtually every 2A team it plays thanks to Durden, Beall, Whiting, and others, and combined with physical linebackers in Lucas and sophomore Kyshaun Smith, the Eagles' defense has high expectations. Tatum needs a big performance from that unit Friday and must be aware of Roberson's game-breaking skills in all three phases of the game. Roberson averaged 17 yards per catch in 2011, when he also had 96 tackles and seven interceptions playing as a defensive back. The quarterback matchup will be important as each team breaks in new signal callers. That should give the defenses even more opportunities to shine. Don't expect a shootout.