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Battle of Unbeaten Teams Decides 9-2A D-II Title When Waskom Visits No. 10 Hughes Springs

Hughes Springs takes the field before a 46-14 win at New Diana on Oct. 4. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)
District 9-2A Division II

Waskom Wildcats (9-0, 6-0)

vs.

No. 10 Hughes Springs Mustangs (9-0, 6-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Mustang Stadium, Hughes Springs

 

Coaches
  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling
  • Hughes Springs: Chris Edwards

 

Last week
  • Waskom: won 61-14 vs. Ore City
  • Hughes Springs: won 54-0 at DeKalb

 

Playmakers

Waskom

  • RB Kevin Johnson, Jr., 5-10, 165 (68 carries, 1,227 yards, 18 TDs; 3 catches, 66 yards)
  • ATH June Bug Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 150 (73 carries, 945 yards, 11 TDs; 8 of 12, 100 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs; 5 catches, 219 yards, 3 TDs)
  • FB Dillon Benton (51 carries, 682 yards, 10 TDs)
  • RB/LB Chandrin Amie, Soph., 5-10, 160 (16 carries, 236 yards, 2 TDs)
  • QB Trace Carter (14 of 28, 342 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 76 carries, 583 yards, 10 TDs)
  • DL Justin Spurlin, Sr., 5-7, 160
  • WR Eric Stephens III (5 catches, 127 yards, 2 TDs)

 

Hughes Springs

  • FB/LB Michael Martinez, Sr., 5-9, 185 (112 carries, 766 yards, 9 TDs; 22 tackles)
  • RB/DB Fredrick Hopkins, Jr. (66 carries, 899 yards, 13 TDs; 32 tackles, 3 INTs)
  • OL/DL Kyre Lewis, Sr., 6-3, 305 (58 tackles, 1 sack)
  • RB/LB Kane Sampson, Sr. (32 carries, 349 yards, 3 TDs; 49 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 def. TDs)
  • LB Hunter Smith, Jr. (36 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • RB Chris Royal (88 carries, 534 yards, 12 TDs)
  • DL Christian Smith (48 tackles, 1 sack, 8 QB pressures)

 

Just the facts
  • Hughes Springs beat Waskom 55-26 in 2012.
  • Waskom averages 510.7 total yards per game: 458.1 rushing, 52.6 passing.
  • Hughes Springs averages 394.3 total yards per game: 347.4 rushing, 46.9 passing.
  • Waskom averages 56.7 points per game and allows 16.0.
  • Hughes Springs averages 44.9 points per game and allows 9.2.
  • Waskom has scored 60 or more points five times in nine contests.
  • Hughes Springs has scored 54 or more points three times in nine contests.
  • Waskom has held six of its first nine opponents to 14 or fewer points.
  • Hughes Springs has not allowed more than 21 points in a game this season. The Mustangs have held seven foes to 14 or fewer points.
  • Hughes Springs has shut out three consecutive opponents, outscoring them 162-0.
  • Both teams have already clinched playoff berths.
  • Tonight’s winner plays the fourth-place team from District 10-2A Division II in a bi-district playoff next week, while tonight’s loser plays that district’s third-place team.
  • Arp, Frankston, and Union Grove are possibilities for those spots pending Friday night’s outcomes.

 

Waskom ATH June Bug Johnson. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: The rushing attacks. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Which team’s running game can dictate the game against a strong defense, something that both teams possess?

Hughes Springs appears to be more what you would think of as a ground-and-pound rushing attack. The Mustangs average an impressive 8.0 yards per carry, but when compared to Waskom’s big-play running game, that doesn’t seem quite as impressive. Waskom averages a staggering 12.1 yards per play, which includes 11.4 per carry for the entire team.

Hughes Springs OL/DL Kyre Lewis. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

However, Waskom faces the best defense it has seen to this point in the season. Hughes Springs carries three consecutive shutouts into this contests. The Mustangs have not allowed more than three touchdowns all season and haven’t yielded more than 14 points since a 43-20 Sept. 27 victory against Ore City.

Hughes Springs needs a big game from its players in the box to win the point of attack. That means veterans Kyre Lewis and Kane Sampson must have strong performances. Waskom needs the same from its smaller, but athletic defense, including lineman Justin Spurlin and linebacker Chandrin Amie.

Waskom RB/LB Chandrin Amie. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don’t be surprised if: The team that runs more plays wins this game and, subsequently, the District 9-2A Division II championship. Ball control could be the name of the game Friday night in Hughes Springs. The Mustangs certainly don’t want to put Waskom’s high-powered, big play-oriented attack on the field, while the Wildcats don’t want to allow Hughes Springs the opportunity to get the ball and play some keep-away.

This game should be a great experience for both teams as they prepare for the playoffs. Neither has played an opponent this season as good as it will see on the other side of the ball Friday night. A game of this magnitude comes at a great time to give the players an idea of what to expect the rest of the season, however long it may last for each team.

One thing is certain: We don’t expect this to be a particularly long game. The teams average a combined 9.3 passing attempts per game, so it probably won’t see 10 p.m. That is, unless we have an overtime thriller on our hands.

Waskom’s Kevin Johnson runs the ball during the Wildcats’ 60-13 road win at Elysian Fields on Friday night. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)

 

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