Gladewater Bears (1-2)

vs.

Carthage Bulldogs (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

Coaches
  • Gladewater: John Berry
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Gladewater: vs. Kilgore, Sept. 25
  • Carthage: vs. Gilmer, Sept. 26

 

Playmakers

Gladewater

  • RB/LB Darnell McKnight, Jr., 5-10, 220 (13 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 recovered fumbles; 90-yard kickoff return touchdown vs. Parkway)
  • RB/LB Marcello Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 190 (41 carries, 375 yards, 5 TDs; 13 tackles, 1 for loss)
  • FB Justice Centers, Sr., 6-0, 215 (43 carries, 246 yards, 3 TDs)
  • QB Dadrian Strickland, Soph., 5-10, 195 (12-27, 192 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 17 carries, 80 yards, 1 rushing TD)
  • WR/DB Cameron Callaway Jr., Jr. (7 catches, 163 yards, 1 TD; 2 tackles)
  • WR Caleb Williams, Sr., 5-11, 160 (8 catches, 74 yards)
  • DL Quanterius Turner, Sr., 6-4, 275 (15 tackles, 6 for loss)
  • LB Austin Blanco, Sr., 5-11, 220

Carthage

  • TE/DL Jarrod McLin, Sr., 6-3, 215
  • WR/TE Marquise Guinn, Sr., 6-4, 220
  • QB Jarod Blissett, Sr., 6-1, 200
  • WR Jakeldric Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160
  • OL Cagan Baldree, Sr., 6-4, 250
  • RB Ravodney Hardy, Sr.
  • ATH Hunter Townsend, Soph., 5-11, 185
  • LB Mykel Gates, Soph., 5-11, 215
  • FB/LB Brewster Griffith, Jr.
  • OL Brandon Carlson, Sr., 5-11, 260

 

Just the facts
  • Carthage leads the series with Gladewater, 17-11.
  • The Bears won last season's meeting, 34-23, in Gladewater.
  • There's lots of history between the two schools. They first met in 1936 when Gladewater sent a "B team" to Carthage, and they squared off against each other a second time prior to World War II.
  • The Bulldogs and Bears won't have to worry about crossing each other a second time this season. If Carthage advances to the playoffs, it will go to the Class 4A Division I bracket while Gladewater would go to the Class 4A Division II tournament.
  • Carthage received four votes in this week's Associated Press Class 4A poll, good enough for 17th place state-wide. It is tied with Pittsburg.
  • John Berry is in his second season as Gladewater's head coach. His overall record is 12-4. He is on his first two-game skid.
  • Gladewater and Carthage have not played any common opponents yet, but the Bears will take on Kilgore next week. Kilgore is one of Carthage's District 9-4A Division I opponents.
  • Gladewater is Carthage's first opponent from Class 4A at large this season. It defeated Class 5A teams Lindale and Nacogdoches while losing its season opener by one point to Hallsville in overtime.
  • The Bears have been all over the map in terms of competition. They opened their season with a win against Daingerfield from Class 3A Division I, lost to Pittsburg from Class 4A Division I and fell last week to a Bossier City (La.) Parkway school about twice their size.
  • The Bears are 4-1 in true road games under Berry.
Gladewater running back Marcello Jackson is the Bears' leading rusher. He's tough to bring down, but turnovers have helped opposing teams get out of match up problems. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Gladewater's offense against its own mistakes and Carthage's defense.

The Bears have some work to do. They looked great offensively at times against a Bossier City (La.) Parkway team with a school population that doubles Gladewater's, but four first half turnovers were more than enough to secure a 47-27 loss. Parkway led 40-6 at the break.

It was the same story a week earlier at Pittsburg. The Bears fumbled away three possessions and put the ball on the ground five times during the game. Pittsburg jumped out to a 28-8 lead through 24 minutes.

However, head coach John Berry's I-formation offense is a thing of beauty when it works its intended way. Running back Marcello Jackson is averaging 9.15 yards per carry and fullback Justice Centers is averaging 5.72 yards per touch on the ground behind a very good offensive line.

Jackson recorded 150 or more yards against Daingerfield and Parkway. Centers led the way with 115 yards against Pittsburg.

Combined, the Bears move the ball well and can control the clock without turnovers. Carthage, a major improvement over itself last season in all phases, prefers to pass and a quicker tempo out of the spread.

The Bulldogs' defense -- which averaged 27.6 points against the three Class 5A teams it has faced -- and Gladewater's execution against it are the keys Friday.

Carthage is capable of quick strikes and can break the game wide open if the Bears' running game continues to make mistakes. Gladewater has to score, and it has to play its possession game to limit the opposing offense's damage.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's meeting is much more competitive than last year's game between the two teams. A superior Gladewater squad initially struggled to put the Bulldogs away early last year thanks to Juston Clough's game-opening 94-yard touchdown return, but the Bears continued to impose their will in the running game and had the game locked up midway through the third quarter.

This time, Carthage has the upper hand with an all-around more experienced team that took its licks last season before rallying in district play to reach the playoffs. But Gladewater should be able to hang around late if turnovers don't cost it. At that point, the game hinges on a late defensive stop from either team.

Carthage defensive end Gilbert Perez. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)