Battle of Undefeated Teams Features New Diana at Waskom to Start District 9-2A D-II Schedule
District 9-2A Division II Opener
New Diana Eagles (3-0)
Waskom Wildcats (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Waskom
- New Diana: Brett Ratliff
- Waskom: Whitney Keeling
- New Diana: won 55-6 vs. Winona
- Waskom: won 49-7 at Queen City
- New Diana: vs. Hughes Springs
- Waskom: at Paul Pewitt
- RB Garrett Barton, Sr., 5-11, 180 (56 carries, 443 yards, 3 TDs)
- QB Jobie Ainsworth (17 of 33, 301 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 25 carries, 280 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB K.J. Jeffery, Sr., 5-7, 180 (27 carries, 216 yards, 4 TDs; 3 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Tim Perry, Jr., 5-10, 180 (25 tackles, 2 for loss; 4 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Brandon Wesley, Sr., 5-10, 200 (33 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack)
- LB Cody Holland (29 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
- DE Cody Winn (25 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 recovery, 1 def. TD)
- LB Cameron Taylor (25 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- QB/ATH JuneBug Johnson, Jr., 5-7, 150 (3 of 4, 35 yards, 1 TD; 18 carries, 335 yards, 4 TDs; 1 KO return TD)
- RB Kevin Johnson, Jr., 5-9, 160 (23 carries, 202 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB/LB Chan Amie, Soph., 5-9, 153 (10 carries, 126 yards, 1 TD)
- DL Justin Spurlin, Sr., 5-7, 160
- QB Trace Carter (3 of 5, 69 yards; 20 carries, 105 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB/LB Dillon Benton (15 carries, 195 yards, 2 TDs)
- K Manny Munoz (1-for-1 FGs, 20-for-24 PATs)
- WR Eric Stephens (2 catches, 36 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- New Diana won last year’s matchup 30-20.
- New Diana is 9-2 vs. Waskom since 1994.
- Waskom’s last win against the Eagles was 35-12 in 1998 and gave the Wildcats back-to-back victories against New Diana.
- New Diana averages 39.3 points per game and allows 13.0.
- New Diana edged Jefferson 13-12 in the season opener, but outscored Harleton and Winona 105-27 in the Eagles’ last two games.
- Waskom averages 57.7 points per game and allows 6.7.
- Waskom has yielded no more than seven points in any of its first three contests.
- The Wildcats have scored at least 49 points in every game, including 61 or more twice.
- New Diana averages 334.7 rushing yards and 100.3 passing yards.
- Waskom averages 357.3 rushing yards and 34.7 passing yards.
- Waskom has thrown 10 passes this season, completing six for 104 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
Key matchup: New Diana’s 3-4 defensive scheme vs. Waskom’s rushing attack. As the Wildcats’ 3.3 pass attempts per game show, Waskom leans very heavily on its run game, which accounts for 91 percent of the Cats’ offense.
The Johnsons — Kevin and JuneBug — are capable of delivering the home run for head coach Whitney Keeling. Kevin Johnson averages almost nine yards per game, while JuneBug averages a staggering 18.6 yards per carry. The duo has combined for nine rushing touchdowns, but with the ball going to several backs, accounts for a somewhat surprising 50 percent of Waskom’s rushing yardage.
Trace Carter, Dillon Benton, and Chan Amie have combined for 426 rushing yards to give Keeling even more options on the ground.
But don’t overlook the seemingly neglected passing game. While the Wildcats rarely put the ball in the air, they average 17.3 yards per completion, so they’re capable of keeping opposing defenses honest with the occasional play-action pass.
New Diana counters Waskom’s rushing attack with a proven group of front-seven defenders. Brandon Wesley, Tim Perry, Cody Winn, Cody Holland, and Cameron Taylor have combined for 23 tackles for loss in the Eagles’ first three games. Head coach Brett Ratliff needs them to bring their best performance so far this season if the Eagles are to beat Waskom for the 10th time in 12 tries.
Don’t be surprised if: The team with the more consistent rushing attack wins the game and improves to 4-0 on the season.
While Waskom brings a running game that averages almost 360 yards per game, New Diana is definitely no slouch, averaging almost 340 rushing yards. Garrett Barton is the top rusher for either team entering this game, while K.J. Jeffery and Jobie Ainsworth give Ratliff multiple options. The Eagles are also more likely to take to the air, where Ainsworth passes for 100.3 yards per game.
These teams entered the season with hopes of nabbing a couple of the final playoff spots in District 9-2A Division II. But if the non-district schedule was any indicator, New Diana and Waskom could be district championship contenders, which should make for a very interesting game Friday in Waskom.