Carthage Suffocates Little Cypress-Mauriceville In 10-0 Bi-District Playoff Shutout
LUFKIN -- Scott Surratt coached his 34th career playoff game for Carthage on Saturday night, so he's experienced enough to know that the only thing that matters this time of the year is the final score.
Despite a subpar performance from an offense that was held scoreless for the game's final 34 minutes, the defending state champion Carthage Bulldogs were able to grind out a 10-0 win over Little Cypress-Mauriceville in their Class 4A Division I bi-district matchup at a rainy Abe Martin Stadium.
Carthage (6-5) advanced to the area round of the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season under Surratt, who improved his postseason coaching record to 31-3. The Bulldogs will face El Campo (10-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday from New Caney's brand-new Texan Drive Stadium.
"It's always win and advance; somehow, someway get it done," Surratt said. "Our defense played well, our special teams played well. Offensively, we get down into the red zone or whatever and we had three holding penalties that just killed drives. So we've got to take care of that kind of stuff, but we don't care right now. As long as we're advancing, we could care less if it's 2-0 or 50-48."
Carthage recorded its first shutout in the playoffs since 2010, a 42-0 first-round defeat of Pleasant Grove. The Bulldogs limited Little Cypress-Mauriceville (5-6) to 179 total yards, including just 53 on the ground. LCM standout running back Robert Green, who entered the playoffs with more than 1,200 yards on the season, managed just 27 yards on 20 carries.
"We came downhill, we knew we had to stop (Green)," Surratt said. "We had to stop him, and we just played hard. We were very physical and we did a good job in the passing game for the most part. They just played great."
The Carthage defense also forced four LCM turnovers -- three interceptions and one fumble recovery. Micah Templeton came up with two INTs, while Chris Howard had the other. Jonathan Brown recovered the fumble, which was forced by defensive end Jarrod McLin late in the fourth quarter.
"We had some pressure on the quarterback, obviously; they had to sprint him a lot," Surratt said. "But Micah made two huge plays. He's a great player for us. He plays offense, defense and he was our special teams player of the year last year. He's done a great job for us."
Carthage picked up 275 yards of offense and did all of its scoring in the game's first 14 minutes. Quarterback Jarod Blissett was 14 of 28 for 181 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while running back Brewster Griffith carried the load in the backfield with 81 yards on 16 rushing attempts.
Bulldogs freshman Hunter Townsend caught a team-best five catches for 83 yards, while Jakeldric Jackson had four receptions for 56 yards and Carthage's lone touchdown of the night.
Carthage's offense looked to be in top form at the game's outset, driving deep into LCM territory on its opening possession of the night. A Blissett incompletion on fourth-and-7 from the Bears' 8-yard line resulted in a 25-yard field from Rafael Hernandez, which gave the Bulldogs an early 3-0 lead.
LCM quarterback Jake Sonnier had a pass tipped and intercepted by Howard on the Bears' next series, but Carthage failed to capitalize. LCM drove into Carthage territory on its following possession, but three consecutive incompletions from the Bulldogs' 31 resulted in a turnover on downs.
Carthage then put together its best drive of the night, marching 69 yards in six plays. On fourth-and-13, Blissett fired a strike in the end zone to Jackson for a 27-yard touchdown, which gave Carthage a 10-0 lead at the 10:46 mark of the second quarter.
Those were the last points of the evening as neither offense was able to gain much traction throughout the remainder of the game.
Carthage 10, Little Cypress-Mauriceville 0
Class 4A Division I
Region III Bi-District Playoff
At Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
Carthage 3 7 0 0 -- 10
LCM 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CAR--FG Rafael Hernandez 25, 8:23.
CAR--Jakeldric Jackson 27 pass from Jarod Blissett (Hernandez kick), 10:46.
First Downs 17 13
Total Yards 275 179
Rushes-Yards 34-94 30-53
Passing Yards 181 126
Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-28-1 11-29-3
Punts-Avg. 3-32.7 3-31.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 8-70 4-39
RUSHING--Carthage, Brewster Griffith 16-81, De'Airreus Hearn 6-29, Hunter Townsend 3-5, Jarod Blissett 9-(-21). LCM, Robert Green 20-27, Jake Sonnier 7-16, Sam King 3-10.
PASSING--Carthage, Blissett 14-28-1--181. LCM, Sonnier 10-27-2--100, Beau Bickham 1-1-0--26, Chris Schilz 0-1-1--0.
RECEIVING--Carthage, Townsend 5-83, Jakeldric Jackson 4-56, Hearn 2-15, Kirston Ingram 1-15, Griffith 1-7, Jarrod McLin 1-5. LCM, Reese Bromley 5-46, Trey Chandler 3-17, Mitchell Lee 1-26, Tyler Hanna 1-19, Coby Roddy 1-18.