Atlanta + Gladewater Shoot For 2-0 Starts In District 6-4A Division II
DISTRICT 6-4A DIVISION II
Atlanta Rabbits (3-3, 1-0)
Gladewater Bears (2-4, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium, Gladewater
- Atlanta: Matt McClure
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Atlanta: def. Pleasant Grove, 53-31
- Gladewater: def. Tatum, 51-12
- Atlanta: vs. Center, Oct. 23
- Gladewater: at Pleasant Grove, Oct. 23
- DL Keyuntea Kinney, Sr., 5-10, 240
- DE/LB Tristan Allen, Jr., 6-3, 210
- ATH Jeremy Smith, Sr., 5-11, 160
- RB Tyrell Phillips, Sr., 5-8, 175
- WR D'Corey Larry, Sr., 5-11, 170
- OL Tanner Duke, Sr., 6-1, 170
- DB Layton Henson, Jr.
- HB Cade Coulter, Sr., 5-11, 170
- RB/LB Darnell McKnight, Jr., 5-10, 221
- FB Justice Centers, Sr., 6-0, 215
- RB/LB Marcello Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 190
- DB Austin Hawley, Jr., 6-1, 195
- WR Cameron Callaway, Sr., 5-11, 165
- RB/DB Isaiah Davis, Soph., 5-11, 195
- DL Quanterius Turner, Sr., 6-4, 275
- LB Bryston Oliver, Jr.
Just the facts
- Atlanta and Gladewater were a combined 23-4 last season.
- The cumulative record of Atlanta's first six opponents is 22-14, while Gladewater's first six foes are a combined 20-16.
- Atlanta is averaging 41.8 points per game.
- The Rabbits are allowing 30.3 points per game.
- Atlanta has made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons.
- Gladewater is averaging 37.7 points per game.
- The Bears are allowing 32 points per game.
- Gladewater's four losses have come by a combined 41 points.
Key matchup: Gladewater rushing attack vs. Atlanta defensive front. Despite not having as much team success as they did a season ago, the Bears' formula on offense is still in effect. Gladewater will rotate several backs into the game, and typically wear down opposing defenses with fresh legs in the second halves of games. The tailback tandem of senior Marcello Jackson and junior Darnell McKnight is one of the best in the area, while fullbacks Justice Centers and Isaiah Davis will get into the act as well. The Bears have used two quarterbacks on the year, and perhaps their most explosive receiver -- Caleb Williams -- is done for the year with an injury. So, it will be incredibly important for Gladewater to have success on the ground early and often on Friday night.
Atlanta has shared in Gladewater's early-season struggles. These two teams combined for 23 wins a season ago, but turnover in personnel and brutal non-district schedules have led to a combined seven losses heading into Friday's matchup. The one thing that remained fairly constant is the Rabbits' play along their defensive front. Senior Keyuntea Kinney is a physical specimen capable of providing a quality pass rush or curtailing opposing offenses' efforts to run the ball. Backing him up is junior Tristan Allen, who is one of the more versatile defenders in the area. He's quick enough to be a factor in containing the edge, and powerful enough to stop straight-ahead runners in their tracks. Whichever side wins this battle Friday night should be in great position to crack the win column.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is much more competitive than last year's 36-14 Gladewater win. Each team was dealt with significant setbacks brought on by graduation, and both teams have had their newcomers tested with tough non-district opponents the first few weeks of the season. Atlanta's record may read 3-3, but those three losses have come to Henderson, Pittsburg, and Liberty-Eylau, which are a combined 16-2 on the year. The Rabbits have beaten up on New Boston and Tatum -- a combined 1-11. For the first time this season, Atlanta may be lining up against a team that's on its level, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. The average spread in Atlanta games this season has been almost 21 points. Meanwhile, Gladewater's four losses have come against Pittsburg, Bossier City (La.) Parkway, Carthage, and Kilgore, and those teams are a cumulative 19-5. The Bears' two wins have come against Daingerfield and Tatum, which have just one win between them.