Carthage + Kilgore Seek Early Control Of 9-4A Division I Race
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Carthage Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0)
Kilgore Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- Carthage: vs. Brownsboro, Oct. 23
- Kilgore: at Chapel Hill, Oct. 23
- TE/DE Jarrod McLin, Sr., 6-3, 215 (11 catches, 84 yards, 2 TDs; committed to UTSA)
- WR Marquise Guinn, Sr., 6-4, 200 (31 catches, 397 yards)
- WR Jakeldric Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (39 catches, 526 yards, 4 TDs)
- QB Jarod Blissett, Sr., 6-1, 230 (115 of 198, 1,522 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs; 17 carries, 13 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB Ravodney Hardy, Sr., 5-9, 200 (99 carries, 558 yards, 3 TDs; 12 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Mykel Gates, Soph., 5-11, 215
- ATH Hunter Townsend, Soph., 5-11, 185 (18 catches, 313 yards, 3 TDs; 24 carries, 168 yards, 1 TD)
- OL Cagan Baldree, Sr., 6-4, 250
- RB Ja'Quorius Smith, Sr., 5-10, 180 (86 carries, 713 yards, 7 TDs)
- QB Patrick Jackson, Soph., 5-9, 150 (25 of 41, 318 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 69 carries, 361 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Jonathan Shepherd, Soph., 6-3, 180 (4 catches, 58 yards)
- WR Cole Wood, Jr., 6-1, 170 (5 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Ty Wallace, Soph. (61 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB pressures)
- LB Mason Shelton, Sr., 5-9, 200 (61 tackles, 2 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery)
- WR/DB Chris Toombs, Sr., 5-11, 185 (5 catches, 104 yards; 46 tackles, 1 sack, 7 PBUs)
- DB Mateo Meraz, Jr. (37 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
Just the facts
- Carthage and Kilgore have met 50 times. Kilgore leads the all-time series 27-23.
- The cumulative record of Carthage's first six opponents is 21-15, while Kilgore's first six foes are a combined 13-23 on the season.
- Carthage is averaging 28.2 points and 407.7 yards per game -- 138.8 rushing and 268.9 passing.
- Carthage is allowing 24.2 points per game.
- Carthage is 37-2 in district games under coach Scott Surratt.
- Kilgore is averaging 27.3 points and 315.3 yards per game -- 261.2 rushing and 54.1 passing.
- Kilgore is allowing 20.7 points per game.
- Kilgore has not had back-to-back losing seasons since 2009-10.
Key matchup: Carthage passing attack vs. Kilgore secondary. The Carthage offense put on a show through the air in last week's 20-point win at Henderson. Senior quarterback Jarod Blissett passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Eight of Blissett's 15 completions went to senior wideout Jakeldric Jackson, who finished the night with a season-best 234 yards receiving yards and two touchdowns. The big plays through the air were much needed, as Carthage struggled to find yards on the ground consistently. The Bulldogs' yards-per-carry average of 3.6 against Henderson was their second-lowest of the season, but thanks to Blissett and his compliment of big-time weapons at the receiver position, Carthage was able to dominate offensively. In addition to Jackson, Carthage has four pass catchers with at least 11 receptions on the year -- Marquise Guinn, Hunter Townsend, Jarrod McLin, and Ravodney Hardy.
The strength of Kilgore's defense is its defensive front, which has limited opposing offenses to just 156.8 rushing yards per game, an impressive figure considering the ground-and-pound offenses Kilgore has faced this season, including Texas High and Gladewater. On the season, Kilgore's defense has made 23 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. It figures to be a tough assignment for Carthage's rushing attack Friday night, but where Kilgore must be on top of its game is in its secondary. While plenty rangy and athletic, the defensive backfield will be put to the test against Carthage's passing attack. In six games, Kilgore has just seven sacks, which suggests opposing quarterbacks are often given time in the pocket to complete passes downfield. Turnovers could be a big factor in this one. Blissett has only thrown three interceptions in 198 attempts this season, while Kilgore has just three interceptions as a team.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is relatively low-scoring. Kilgore has always hung its hat on playing great defense, and this season, for the most part, has been no different. During Kilgore's current four-game winning streak, the Bulldogs' defense is allowing just 13.5 points per game after surrendering a combined 68 points in the first two games. Carthage, meanwhile, has played exceptionally well on the defensive side of the ball of late. It limited a potent Henderson offense to only 15 points and 221 yards, and that came two weeks after Carthage held Gilmer's high-powered attack to a season-low 18 points. And Carthage's defense will be lining up against a young Kilgore offense still finding its way. For the year, Kilgore averages just 315 yards per game and less than 30 points, which will put a ton of pressure on the defense to contain a hot Carthage offense.