Carthage Hopes to Avoid Becoming Taylor’s Second Upset Victim
Class 3A Division I Region III
Carthage Bulldogs (9-2)
Taylor Ducks (5-6)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Corsicana
Carthage: Scott Surratt
Taylor: Rusty Purser
Carthage: def. Palestine, 30-27
Taylor: def. Waco La Vega, 17-14
Next week: Winner plays Silsbee (9-2) or Stafford (6-5) in the 3A Division I Region III final.
- DT Isaiah Golden, Sr., 6-2, 315 (64 tackles, 31 for loss, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 recovery; committed to Texas A&M)
- QB Blake Bogenschutz, Jr., 6-0, 182 (142 of 252, 2,275 yards, 32 TDs, 6 INTs; 1 rush TD)
- RB Tevin Pipkin, Jr., 5-10, 170 (178 carries, 1,265 yards, 9 TDs; 18 carries, 190 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Tee Goree, Jr., 6-2, 170 (54 catches, 1,058 yards, 15 TDs; 1 INT, 1 def. TD)
- MLB Trent Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 215 (98 tackles, 9 for loss, 2 INTs, 4 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 4 pass breakups)
- WR Okeeron Rutherford, Jr., 6-5, 180 (31 catches, 438 yards, 6 TDs)
- DE/OLB Gregg Graves, Sr., 6-1, 200 (43 tackles, 19 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- RB/FS Bryian Bolton, Soph., 5-10, 175 (26 carries, 239 yards, 5 TDs; 61 tackles, 6 INTs, 4 pass breakups)
- LT/DE Mario McCain, Jr., 6-0, 240 (51 tackles, 22 for loss, 5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- OLB Dvodney Brooks, Jr., 6-3, 190 (5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 def. TD last week vs. Palestine)
- RB/DB Fred Kerley, Sr. (2 INTs last week vs. Waco La Vega)
- QB Jeremy Snyder, Sr. (1 TD pass, 1 rush TD last week vs. Waco La Vega)
- RB Raymond Rodriguez, Sr.
- WR Reagan Fischer, Sr. (7-yard TD catch last week vs. Waco La Vega)
- K Miguel Morales, Soph. (Game-winning 34-yard field goal with 9:24 left in the fourth quarter last week vs. Waco La Vega)
- ATH Eric Aldrete, Sr.
- ATH David Ancira, Jr.
Just the facts
- Carthage averages 41.6 points per game and allows 20.5.
- Taylor averages 18.4 points per game and allows 25.0.
- Carthage receiver Tee Goree’s 15 TD catches tie him with Anthony Pope (1991) for third on the Bulldogs’ single-season record list behind Edward Pope (16, 2011) and Jalen Claiborne (18, 2010).
- Goree’s 1,058 receiving yards are the fourth-best single-season total in Carthage history. Goree needs nine yards to pass Claiborne’s junior year total of 1,066 from 2009.
- Taylor has scored 17 or fewer points six times in 11 games.
- Last week’s 17-14 upset of Waco La Vega was Taylor’s first playoff win since 1995.
- Taylor almost upset eventual 2011 3A Division II state champion Wimberley in the first round, falling 38-31.
- Carthage’s three-point win against Palestine last week marks the Bulldogs’ slimmest playoff victory margin since a 13-12 win vs. Graham in the 2009 3A Division II state championship game. Carthage has won nine playoff games since then.
- Carthage is 22-2 in the playoffs under Scott Surratt, including a 5-0 record at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium.
- During Surratt’s first five seasons, Carthage did not play in Tiger Stadium in 2007 or 2011, but did in 2008-10, when the Bulldogs won three consecutive 3A D-II crowns.
Key matchup: Taylor’s defensive line vs. Carthage’s offensive line. Taylor’s average of less than 19 points per game means the Ducks have to get most of their wins with defense. That starts up front, where Taylor faces a stiff challenge against a large Carthage offensive front. Carthage averages almost 270 pounds per starter on its offensive line, which features five juniors, six including tight end Jamarcus Roberson. The real beef is at the guard positions, which are manned by 6-foot-2, 275-pound Griffin Bankhead and 6-foot-4, 325-pound Adrian Goodacre. Carthage’s offensive line helped tailback Tevin Pipkin run for 179 yards on 29 carries in the Bulldogs’ narrow first-round win against Palestine. If they don’t have to, the Bulldogs won’t burden Pipkin with that many carries, but it’s obvious that if they feel like they need to, they will. He also got 29 carries in Carthage’s 45-29 win at Center. Carthage’s offensive line has been especially good in pass protection, but don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs lean on their hogs to establish the tone early with the ground attack. Don’t forget: Carthage will add to that girth in short-yardage situations with 6-foot-2, 315-pound Isaiah Golden at fullback and 215-pound Trent Jackson dotting the “I.”
Don’t be surprised if: Carthage assembles a much cleaner performance than it had against Palestine. Carthage allowed Palestine to stay in the game and ultimately almost upset the Bulldogs in what would have been one of the biggest upsets in the state. Carthage turned the ball over four times, three times in the second half, including a fumble inside Palestine’s 1-yard line and an interception in Palestine’s end zone. That’s 14 points off the board. Carthage then lost a fumble on a mishandled snap clinging to a 30-27 lead and needed its defense to get a stop backed into its own territory to hang on for the win. Coach Scott Surratt was happy with the win, but not much else. Carthage appeared to be rolling entering the playoffs, especially offensively, but suffered the four turnovers and didn’t hit the big plays in the passing game vs. Palestine that had come with relative ease during all of October. Taylor has proven it can not only play powerhouses close — Wimberley in 2011 — but beat them. The La Vega team the Ducks ousted in the first round wasn’t as strong as the La Vega teams of the last two seasons, but it was still a talented and dangerous squad from a perennially strong program that everyone expected to give Carthage a second-round test. Instead, Taylor got its first playoff win in almost two decades. The Palestine team Carthage barely beat lost 24-23 in overtime to La Vega in the season opener. While the transitive power is far from the best measurement of teams that haven’t faced a mutual opponent, it gives a vague idea of what to expect. For Carthage, that’s a game Taylor team that has already knocked out one heavily favored foe and is playing with house money at this point. Carthage will be heavily favored, too, but the Bulldogs can’t play the way they did against Palestine if they hope to reach next week’s 3A Division I Region III championship.