Class 3A Division I Region III
Area Playoff

Carthage Bulldogs (10-1)

vs.

Navasota Rattlers (10-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Tiger Stadium, Corsicana

 

Coaches
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt
  • Navasota: Lee Fedora

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Winner faces Silsbee (8-2) or Stafford (10-1) in a 3A D-I Region III semifinal.

 

Playmakers

Carthage

  • QB Blake Bogenschutz, Sr., 6-1, 180 (committed to UTSA; 178 of 297, 3,001 yards, 44 TDs, 3 INTs; 50 carries, 212 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR/S Terian "Tee" Goree, Sr., 6-2, 170 (66 catches, 1,295 yards, 22 TDs; 28 tackles, 4 INTs)
  • RB Tevin Pipkin, Sr., 5-10, 165 (141 carries, 1,282 yards, 13 TDs; 13 catches, 178 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR O'Keeron Rutherford, Sr., 6-5, 181 (48 catches, 749 yards, 12 TDs)
  • OT/DT Mario McCain, Sr., 6-0, 220 (87 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 18 QB pressures)
  • OG Adrian Goodacre, Sr., 6-4, 318 (committed to ULL)
  • OG Griffin Bankhead, Sr., 6-3, 301
  • C Cade Clinton, Sr., 6-3, 230
  • OT Dillon Husar, Sr., 6-0, 230
  • DE Jarrod McLin, Soph., 6-3, 220 (51 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 20 QB pressures)
  • LB James Marshall, Jr., 6-0, 190 (94 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 forced fumbles)
  • RB/S Bryian Bolton, Jr., 5-10, 170 (35 carries, 323 yards, 6 TDs; 2 receiving TDs; 48 tackles)
  • WR/CB Keldrean Strong, Sr., 6-0, 155 (15 catches, 260 yards, 2 TDs; 31 tackles, 2 INTs, 9 pass breakups)
  • DT Javontay Brown, Sr., 5-11, 190 (61 tackles, 11 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 11 QB pressures)
  • LB Tra Leary, Sr., 5-9, 165 (77 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries)

 

Navasota

  • DT Jordan Wells, Sr., 6-0, 277 (138 tackles, 40 for loss, 12 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 30 QB hurries)
  • QB Shelton Eppler, Soph. (154 of 256, 2,610 yards, 27 TDs, 8 INTs)
  • RB Derrion Randle, Jr., 6-0, 197 (133 carries, 1,221 yards, 19 TDs; 16 catches, 159 yards)
  • LB Coy Imhoff, Jr. (144 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 4 forced fumbles, 1 kick block)
  • RB/S Lamarquis Jefferson, Jr., 5-11, 190 (87 carries, 658 yards, 10 TDs; 7 catches, 101 yards; 64 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
  • WR Tren'Davion Dickson, Soph., 6-3, 175 (36 catches, 807 yards, 13 TDs)
  • WR/DB Jerbrell Lipscomb, Jr., 5-9, 180 (39 catches, 701 yards, 6 TDs; 29 tackles, 3 INTs, 8 pass breakups, 2 def. TDs; 1 KO return TD)
  • WR/DB Deiontte Taylor, Sr., 5-10, 165 (20 catches, 332 yards, 2 TDs; 81 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB D.J. Harris, Soph. (75 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack)
  • DE Kevin Harris, Sr. (54 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DT Anthony Small, Sr. (65 tackles, 13 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
  • QB/DB Davon Jernigan, Jr., 6-0, 173 (26 carries, 189 yards, 4 TDs; 61 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DT Christon Jones, Soph. (50 tackles, 9 for loss, 1 sack)
  • OL Ronald Brown, Sr., 6-1, 301
  • OL Bo Meece, Sr., 6-1, 305

 

Just the facts
  • Navasota and Carthage have met once all-time.
  • Navasota beat Carthage 27-21 in a 1994 Class 4A first-round playoff at SFA.
  • Carthage has won at least nine games every year since 2007, which was head coach Scott Surratt's first season leading the Bulldogs.
  • Navasota has won at least nine games every year since 2007, which was head coach Lee Fedora's third with the Rattlers (3-8 in 2005, 3-7 in 2006).
  • Carthage is 83-15 under Surratt.
  • Navasota is 81-29 under Fedora, including a 75-14 record since 2007.
  • Carthage is 25-3 in the playoffs under Surratt, who led the Bulldogs to three consecutive Class 3A D-II state championships from 2008-10.
  • Navasota is 14-5 in the playoffs under Fedora, who led the Rattlers to the 2012 3A D-II state championship.
  • Carthage is 6-0 in Corsicana's Tiger Stadium since 2008. The Bulldogs won twice there in 2008 (Rockdale, Giddings) and 2009 (Caldwell, Lorena), plus once apiece in 2010 (Dallas Madison) and 2012 (Taylor).
  • Carthage averages 46.8 points per game and allows 20.4.
  • Navasota averages 44.8 points per game and allows 10.9.
  • Carthage has scored at least 49 points five times in 11 games.
  • Navasota has scored at least 49 points four times in 11 games.
  • Carthage has allowed 54 points in October and November (9.0 points per game).
  • Navasota has held 7 of 11 opponents to single digits, including four shutouts.
  • Carthage averages 498.7 total yards per game: 281.4 passing, 217.3 rushing.
  • Navasota averages 447.4 total yards per game: 245.3 passing, 202.2 rushing.
  • Carthage's lone loss was 63-39 at Whitehouse on Sept. 27. Whitehouse is 11-0 and finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.
  • Navasota's lone loss was 44-24 at home to Fairfield, which is 11-0 and finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in Class 3A.
  • Carthage's final regular-season ranking was No. 7.
  • Navasota's final regular-season ranking was No. 9.
  • Carthage and Navasota each have two graduates playing for Texas A&M. Redshirt freshman receiver Edward Pope and freshman defensive tackle Isaiah Golden are from Carthage, while junior offensive lineman Jarvis Harrison and senior receiver Gaston Lamascus are from Navasota.
  • Navasota senior defensive tackle Jordan Wells has recorded 107 tackles for loss and 27 sacks since the start of the 2012 season.
  • Navasota senior linebacker Coy Imhoff has 260 tackles and 19 tackles for loss since the start of the 2012 season.
  • Carthage senior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz enters Friday's game with 8,567 passing yards and 106 touchdowns in his career, both of which are easily school records.
  • Carthage senior running back Tevin Pipkin enters Friday's game with 4,734 career rushing yards, which is 396 yards shy of the school record held by Kris Briggs (5,130 from 1995-98).
  • Carthage senior receiver Terian "Tee" Goree has 2,556 receiving yards and 39 touchdown catches since the start of the 2012 season.

 

Key matchup: Carthage's offensive line vs. Navasota's defensive line. Few, if any, Class 3A games this season will feature more established line play. Carthage's multiple offense derives its power from the success of its offensive line, while Navasota's man in the middle -- Jordan Wells -- fuels the Rattlers' odd-front defense.

No defensive player in 3A has produced since the start of the 2012 season like Wells, Navasota's 6-foot, 277-pound front-line force of nature. Wells had a monster junior season with 67 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and nine forced fumbles and capped the campaign with a 10-tackle, six-for-loss state championship performance in Navasota's 39-3 demolition of Gilmer. Wells wreaked havoc on Robinson's front line in the first round to finish with eight tackles, three for loss, and two sacks.

Carthage OL/DL Mario McCain. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

But Wells isn't the only playmaker up front. Fellow senior Anthony Small and sophomore Christon Jones have combined for 22 tackles for loss. Then there's veteran linebacker Coy Imhoff, a sideline-to-sideline player who leads Navasota with 144 tackles. The Rattlers have held almost two-thirds of their opponents to single digits thanks to these defensive playmakers, none greater than Wells.

Carthage counters with a veteran offensive line that averages about 260 pounds per player. The guards -- Griffin Bankhead and Adrian Goodacre -- are the Bulldogs' road-graders. Center Cade Clinton is athletic and strong, while tackles Dillon Husar and Mario McCain have a ton of experience. In Fact, McCain has started on Carthage's offensive line since his freshman season, which was the Dawgs' third consecutive state title in 2010.

Whitehouse has been the only team that has gotten somewhat consistent pressure on senior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz, and that wasn't until well into the third quarter. For the most part, Carthage's offensive line has kept Bogenschutz upright on every throw, while blocking for a group of tailbacks led by senior Tevin Pipkin who have helped the Dawgs average almost 220 rushing yards per game.

Carthage QB Blake Bogenschutz. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Running the ball will be a high priority for Carthage. It's no secret that the Bulldogs' offense is at its best when the entire playbook is open, run or pass. Establishing the ground game against Wells and company won't be an easy task.

Don't be surprised if: The winner of this game plays for the 3A D-I championship in four weeks.

That's how good these teams are. Both are athletic and skilled. Both are big and physical. Both have exceptionally strong recent histories.

It's a shame this game must happen this early in the playoffs. This is a championship-caliber matchup similar to Carthage's 2009 second-round meeting with Mexia, which the Dawgs beat 35-26 en route to their second of three consecutive 3A D-II crowns.

Emphasizing turnovers may sound cliche, but it's the truth. Neither team can afford to turn over the ball. That has been Carthage's Achilles heel in recent playoff games. The Bulldogs thrashed Silsbee 50-21 in last year's regional final, but suffered four turnovers, two of which came in the red zone. That was two weeks after they survived a first-round upset bid by Palestine, which rallied from three scores down thanks to Carthage miscues before falling 30-27.

Carthage RB Tevin Pipkin. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Then there's the El Campo state semifinal loss, a game Carthage led 25-14 in the fourth before a couple of late mishaps shifted momentum and ended the Bulldogs' season. Carthage's only loss this year featured four turnovers in a 63-39 defeat at Whitehouse.

If Carthage protects the ball, the offense is good enough to score on just about any defense. But protecting it won't be easy against a Navasota defense that has forced 27 turnovers in 11 games for an average of 2.45 per game. That killed Robinson in the first round against Navasota. The Rockets turned the ball over at the goal line on their first possession thanks to an Imhoff forced fumble, then suffered a red-zone turnover on downs on another drive.

The weather could also play a factor. The wind will be howling, the temperatures will be dropping, and there could be rain. That may mean the team that runs the ball -- and defends the run -- better will win this titanic area-round matchup.

Navasota's Jordan Wells (68) lunges for Gilmer quarterback Tanner Barr (10) during the Rattlers' 39-3 victory in the 3A Division II state championship Dec. 21, 2012 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)