Bullard Panthers (3-0)

Vs.

China Spring Cougars (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Corsicana

 

Coaches
  • Bullard: Shannon Wilson
  • China Spring: Mark Bell

 

Last week
  • Bullard: def. Edgewood, 56-20
  • China Spring: def. Cameron Yoe, 23-14

 

Next week
  • Bullard: at White Oak, Sept. 26
  • China Spring: at Fairfield, Sept. 26

 

Playmakers

Bullard

  • ATH Connor Mebane, Sr., 6-0, 175 (635 passing yards, 6 passing TDs, 310 rushing yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Drake Daley, Jr., 6-1, 165 
  • OL/DL Dorian Schutt, Sr., 6-2, 235
  • OL/DL Caleb Hallford, Sr., 6-1, 230
  • FB/LB Brooks Parham, Soph., 5-10, 210

China Spring
 
  • WR/DB Cutter Haigood, Soph., 6-0, 175
  • QB Brett Cain, Soph., 6-4, 195
  • LB Zachary Goforth, Jr. 6-0, 188
  • DE Wesley Field, Jr., 6-4, 210
  • OL Clay Sparks, Jr, 5-11, 295

Just the facts
  • Bullard and China Spring will meet for the first time Friday. Corsicana's Tiger Stadium will serve as the neutral site destination.
  • Bullard has not played an opponent from outside the East Texas region since a third-round trip in the Class 3A Division I playoffs against West Orange-Stark on Nov. 25, 2011.
  • China Spring is a Waco area team participating in District 13-4A Division I.
  • Bulard is in District 5-4A Division II, so the two teams have no chance of meeting each other in the same playoff bracket.
  • China Spring was projected to finish last in its district by the Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, but it made a nice statement last week with a 23-14 win against Class 3A Division I power Cameron Yoe.
  • Bullard is 3-0 for the first time since 2012. That Panthers squad lost three games all season yet missed the playoffs.
  • Bullard has the opportunity to go undefeated in non-district play for the first time since 2012 with a victory against China Spring and a win against White Oak next week.
  • Bullard has not scored fewer than 41 points this season and has defeated teams by a 148-50 margin.
  • China Spring averages 33.3 points per game and has given up 30 points per outing in three games.

 

 

Bullard receiver Drake Daly and company will be taking on a China Spring defense which has turned in a mixed bag through three games. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Bullard's offense versus China Spring's defense. Panthers fans should be very glad quarterback Connor Mebane is on their side. He's as good a runner as he is a passer and forces opposing defenses to respect both dimmensions of his game. Paired with fullback Brooks Parham and a capable running group, the Cougars have quite a few tasks ahead of them.

China Spring has been wobbly at times on defense. It gave up 36 points en route to a six-point win against Lorena and 40 points in a five-point loss to Waco Connally. However, the team did hold Cameron Yoe to a season-low 14 points last week.

If Bullard finds offensive success early, it could be a fun bus ride home from Corsicana.

China Spring does have a strong performing offense, however. It has 100 points through its first three games. The Panthers defense should see a step up in quality after facing Groesbeck, Brownsboro and Edgewood -- all 1-2 teams. It will be up defensive linemen Dorian Schutt and Caleb Hallford plus Parham at his linebacker spot to lead the way.

Don't be surprised if: Mebane continues to get a heavy offensive workload. The senior is durable and can hurt China Spring through the air or on the ground. If Mebane performs well, Bullard's defense has looked strong more than ready to compete against a historically above-average, out-of-region team.

Bullard offensive and defensive lineman Dorian Schutt. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)