CLASS 2A DIVISION I
Region III Championship Game

Centerville Tigers (10-3)

vs.

Carlisle Indians (12-1)

7 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Palestine

Coaches

  • Centerville: Kyle Hardee
  • Carlisle: Rocky Baker
Last week

Next week
  • Winner plays Mason or Refugio, Class 2A Division I state semifinals
Playmakers

Centerville

  • ATH Koy Howle, Sr., 5-11, 225
  • FB/LB Brandon Madison, Jr., 5-8, 200
  • TE/DB Coleman Robinson, 6-4, 220
  • QB Hunter Free, Jr.
  • TE/DL Daniel Byrd, Jr., 6-2, 235

Carlisle

  • QB/DB Tristan Craig, Jr., 6-2, 175
  • FB/LB Mason Pendleton, Jr.
  • WR/DB Jay Price, Soph.
  • RB/DB Jose Servin, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • OL/LB Rueben Carreon, Sr.
Just the facts
  • A win Friday will give Carlisle its best record in school history.
  • The Indians have one loss this season, but they have defeated each team on their schedule. Carlisle avenged a regular season loss to San Augustine last week with a 28-14 victory.
  • Centerville and the Indians last met in the area round of the playoffs in 2014. Carlisle lost, 41-0.
  • Carlisle and Centerville share two common opponents -- Alto and West Sabine.
  • Centerville beat West Sabine, 55-29, on Oct. 7. The Indians defeated West Sabine, 38-30, in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
  • Carlisle defeated Alto, 28-7, on Oct. 14. Centerville beat Alto, 49-28, in the area round of the playoffs.
  • The winner of Friday's game will move on to face either Mason or Refugio in the state semifinals. Both of those programs have made at least one state championship appearance this decade.
  • Carlisle will travel 55 miles to Wildcat Stadium in Palestine. Centerville has a 52-mile trip to make.

Key matchup: Carlisle's defense versus Centerville's double wing offense.

The Indians will be encountering an opposing team that loves to dictate the pace of the game when it's on offense. Centerville uses the double wing and doesn't make any bones about what it is trying to accomplish when the ball is in its hands.

Seven blockers, the five offensive linemen and two tight ends, pack tight together along the line of scrimmage. The quarterback is behind the center and the three running backs line up together just a few yards away from each other just behind the quarterback.

The double wing is great for running the football. Since the whole offense is packed in together -- and since the seven blockers pounce forward to attack the defense -- it's hard for the defenders to see which of the four players behind the blocking wall has the ball.

The quarterback faking a handoff to one running back and then either taking it himself or handing off to a second back exacerbates the sight problem.

More than that, it's just a tough task to break the blocking wall and tackle the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. So, the usual result is positive yardage and being that much closer to hitting the end zone.

If Centerville is successfully moving the ball, it is keeping the ball out of the hands of a Carlisle offense averaging more than five touchdowns per game.

But the Indians' defense should be a formidable challenge for Centerville in spite of the double wing formation's near guarantee of positive yards. It is a unit that usually averaging 13.2 points against per game,

The game doesn't come down to Carlisle holding Centerville to zero yards. It comes down to holding the opposition to less than 10 yards over four consecutive plays.

One tackle for loss, an offensive penalty or a bad exchange between the quarterback and intended ball carrier might be enough to derail the entire drive. And Centerville will really be in trouble if two of those things go against it on any set of downs.

It takes some breaks to get past a heavily run-oriented team that has reached the fourth round of the playoffs, but Carlisle has the defense to make those breaks a reality.

 

Don't be surprised if: Turnovers determine the winner of the regional championship game.

Both teams have been similarly productive this season on offense and stingy on defense. Carlisle averages 38.7 points on offense per game to Centerville's 42.7 points, but the Indians possess the stronger defense -- 13.2 points against versus Centerville's liability of 18.1 points per game.

As you can see, not much separates these two teams on paper through 13 games played.

There's no room for error for either squad, particularly an error which results in points for the opposition.