Tyler Grace Community Cougars (7-2, 5-1)

Vs.

Tyler Bishop Gorman Crusaders (7-2, 4-2)

7 p.m. Friday

McCallum Stadium, Tyler

 

Coaches
  • Grace: Mike Maddox
  • Bishop Gorman: Cody Gipson

 

Last week
  • Grace: defeated Dallas Shelton, 51-6
  • Bishop Gorman: defeated Frisco Legacy Christian Academy, 49-13

 

Next week
  • Grace: TBD
  • Bishop Gorman: TBD

 

Just the facts
  • Bishop Gorman and Grace Community will meet for the seventh straight season Friday.
  • Grace leads the series 5-1 since 2008.
  • The Crusaders won the 2008 meeting and were blown out in the next four games.
  • Last season's game between the two went in favor of Grace, 7-3.
  • Bishop Gorman junior quarterback Michael Goodwin leads all of East Texas in terms of passing yardage. At 2,502 yards through nine games, he is about 200 yards in front of the next leading passer, Rusk's Jake Hugghins.
  • Bishop Gorman's Connor Hobbs is the only player in East Texas with more than 1,000 receiving yards this season. Judah Bell is not far behind with 844 yards.
  • Grace running back Zach Tatman is seventh on the ETSN.fm statistical leader board with 1,440 rushing yards in nine games.
  • Both teams have virtually clinched playoff berths. Bishop Gorman is the current fourth seed and Grace is in a three-way tie for first place with Bullard Brook Hill and Dallas Christian.
  • Dallas Christian has the most favorable district matchup. It plays a Carrollton Prince of Peace team with league victories against teams that are winless in the district.
  • Brook Hill plays Tyler All Saints and is favored to win.
  • Seeding is the only thing on the line in Friday's game between Grace and Bishop Gorman.
  • A Crusaders win could give the team the No. 3 seed.
  • If the Cougars win, they could theoretically be crowned outright District 2 champions with Brook Hill and Dallas Christian losses.
Playmakers
Grace
  • QB/ATH Chandler Nutt, Sr., 6-2, 195 (78 of 136, 1,009 passing yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs, 501 rushing yards, 9 TDs)
  • RB/WR Zach Tatman, Sr., 6-0, 210 (141 carries, 1,440 yards, 18 TDs)
  • WR/S Jonny Spitzer, Sr., 5-11, 165 (37 catches, 543 yards, 7 TDs, 42 carries, 325 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR//DT Call Florence, Sr., 6-0, 200
  • MLB Josh Spitzer, Soph., 5-11, 190
Bishop Gorman
  • QB Michael Goodwin, Jr., 5-10, 185 (163 of 227, 2,502 yards, 21 TDs, 5 INTs, 92 carries, 757 yards, 10 TDs)
  • WR Connor Hobbs, Sr., 6-5, 220 (66 catches, 1,030 yards, 7 TDs; leads East Texas in receptions and total receiving yardage)
  • WR Judah Bell, Soph., 6-4, 170 (39 catches, 844 yards, 8 TDs)
  • DL John Paul Rues, Sr., 6-2, 185 (3 fumbles forced, 2 sacks)
  • LB Tyler Bate, Jr., 6-1, 200 (75 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 fumbles forced)

 

Jonny Spitzer and the Grace secondary will have their hands full containing Bishop Gorman's Connor Hobbs and Judah Bell in Friday's game. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Bishop Gorman's pass-oriented offense versus Grace's defense. It's no secret. Crusaders quarterback Michael Goodwin has burst onto the East Texas scene as a prolific passer with excellent receivers in Connor Hobbs and Judah Bell.

But the Cougars have a strong defense. It's well-suited for passing games. Brook Hill's impressive passing offense had a rough time against Grace in its one district loss of the season. Safety Jonny Spitzer, a TAPPS second team all-state selection last season as a junior, had two interceptions in that game.

Grace's cornerbacks will have to bring their A-game against Hobbs, a 6-5 and 220-pound receiver. Bell, a sophomore, is of the same build. He's 6-4 and 170 pounds.

But the real key for the Cougars rests with its front seven. Not only has Goodwin thrown for 2,500 yards, he also has 757 rushing yards as the Crusaders' leading runner. Grace will have to contain the quarterback in all aspects to have hope of claiming at least a share of the district championship.

Bishop Gorman's defense has given up district-best 88 points all season. Cougars running back Zach Tatman could have something to say about that. He's a hard runner and should be able to extend Grace offensive drives. More importantly, he can help keep Goodwin and company off the field.

Don't be surprised if: the game at McCallum Stadium is one of East Texas' best between exclusively playoff-bound teams that know their fate ahead of time. There's incentive to win for seeding purposes.

The two schools have contrasting offensive strengths. That gives football fans a reason to bite nails. If it's a tight game late, the time remaining on the clock will be a major factor in deciding the outcome.

Have a ticket? You're going to one of the most exciting games of the week.

Tyler Grace running back Zach Tatman ranks seventh among running backs on the ETSN.fm leader board. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)