Chapel Hill Puts Unbeaten District 9-4A D-I Record On The Line Friday At Kilgore
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Chapel Hill Bulldogs (4-3, 2-0)
Kilgore Bulldogs (2-5, 1-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore
- Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- Chapel Hill: at Henderson, Oct. 31
- Kilgore: at Brownsboro, Oct. 31
- FB/LB Reggie King, Jr., 5-11, 205 (32 carries, 228 yards, 11 TDs; 14 catches, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
- OL/DL Jeremy West, Jr., 6-3, 280
- RB/LB Delenis Garrett, Sr., 5-9, 200 (26 carries, 125 yards, 4 TDs; 1 catch, 5 yards)
- WR/LB Deundre Phillips, Jr., 5-8, 180 (14 catches, 284 yards, 3 TDs; 20 carries, 51 yards, TD)
- RB/DB Ja'Braylon Franklin, Jr. (51 carries, 643 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 35 yards)
- WR Jeffery Minor, Sr., 6-0, 170 (17 catches, 237 yards, 3 TDs; 6 carries, 62 yards)
- OL/DL Rex Cicero, Sr., 6-2, 245
- QB Konnor Hitchcock, Jr., 5-8, 180 (73 of 128, 1,017 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs; 30 carries, 68 yards, TD)
- RB Kevrin Justice, Sr., 6-0, 180 (96 carries, 486 yards, 6 TDs; 9 catches, 113 yards; committed to Houston)
- RB Jacquorius Smith, Jr., 5-8, 175 (95 carries, 674 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Nick Orange, Sr., 6-3, 180 (16 catches, 133 yards)
- TE/DE Jarod Wood, Sr., 6-2, 200 (11 catches, 261 yards, 5 TDs; 16 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- LB Kris Haynes, Sr., 5-11, 220 (86 tackles, 13 for loss, 3 sacks, 6 QB pressures, forced fumble, recovery)
- DB William Colbert, Sr., 6-0, 170 (29 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 PBUs)
- LB Mason Shelton, Jr. (61 tackles, 4 for loss, INT, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DB Trey Tinney, Jr. (55 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 3 PBUs)
Just the facts
- This is the 36th meeting between Chapel Hill and Kilgore. Kilgore leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1970, 28-7.
- Chapel Hill and Kilgore met twice last season -- a 41-25 Kilgore win in the regular season and 59-19 Kilgore victory in the 3A Division I state quarterfinals.
- Chapel Hill is averaging 43.4 points and 417.7 yards per game -- 272.4 rushing and 145.3 passing.
- In last week's win over Palestine, Chapel Hill put up 756 yards of offense -- 538 rushing and 218 passing.
- Chapel Hill is 49-22 under head coach Thomas Sitton.
- Kilgore is averaging 28.1 points and 345.7 yards per game -- 226.3 rushing and 119.4 passing.
- In last week's loss to Carthage, Kilgore was limited to 136 yards of offense -- 23 rushing and 111 passing.
- Kilgore is 39-20 under head coach Mike Wood.
Key matchup: Chapel Hill running game vs. Kilgore defensive front. The Chapel Hill Bulldogs possessed one of East Texas' most balanced offenses a season ago, but with the graduation of quarterback Andrew Black, Chapel Hill's offensive attack has been predicated on running the football with authority. Just last week, Chapel Hill put up a season-high 756 total yards, 538 of which came on the ground. For the season, Chapel Hill is averaging more than 270 rushing yards per game. And just as you might expect, Chapel Hill is most dangerous when it runs the ball effectively. In its four wins, Chapel Hill averages 357.3 rushing yards per game, and just 159.3 in its three losses. And just like in recent past, Chapel Hill uses a multitude of backs to carry the football. Six different Chapel Hill ball carriers have rushed for at least 125 yards on the year, and eight have scored rushing touchdowns. Junior Ja'Braylon Franklin leads the way with 643 yards on just 51 carries -- an average of more than 12 yards per attempt. In last week's win over Palestine, Franklin rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries. All three of his rushing touchdowns have come in the last two weeks, which coincidentally are Chapel Hill's two highest rushing outputs of the season as a team. If Chapel Hill can continue doing damage on the ground Friday, Chapel Hill's hopes of a district title may remain very much alive and well.
However, Chapel Hill's offense will be facing arguably its toughest challenge of the season. Kilgore has long been known for suffocating defensive fronts, and while this year's group may not be as dominant as it's been in the last couple of seasons, Kilgore still prides itself on being able to shut down the opposing team's rushing attack. A solid defensive line anchored by Jarod Wood, Jordan Thompson and Jacobie Wafer works well with a stout linebacking corps highlighted by Kris Haynes and Mason Shelton. Kilgore's secondary has been a work in progress this season after several of last year's playmakers were lost to graduation, but the defensive front has remained rock solid, despite the loss of D-line standouts Ladarrin Anthony and D.Q. Scott. If Kilgore can keep Chapel Hill's ground game from piling up the yards Friday night, it will put added pressure on Chapel Hill junior quarterback Konnor Hitchock to make plays through the air. Hitchcock, like many newcomers to the glare of Friday night lights, has had his ups and downs this season. But a strong running game sometimes acts as a quarterback's best friend, which could again be the case for Chapel Hill this week.
Don't be surprised if: Kilgore's offense performs much better than it did Friday night. Several key injuries throughout the course of last week's 21-7 loss to Carthage, including one to quarterback Xaviar Gaona, had a hand in Kilgore's dreadful offensive showing. Kilgore managed a season-low 136 total yards of offense last week, including a uncharacteristically low 23 rushing yards. A couple of injuries on the offensive line prevented Kilgore from doing what it wanted on offense last week, but a full week to prepare for the game ahead should make a huge difference. In addition, Chapel Hill's defense hasn't exactly been shutting the opposition down this season. Chapel Hill is allowing an average of more than 37 points per game, and in last week's 40-point win over Palestine, Chapel Hill still managed to surrender 489 yards of total offense. Kilgore has one of the top running back tandems in the area with senior Houston commit Kevrin Justice and Jacquorious Smith, who have combined to rush for more than 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. Expect Kilgore to hammer away at Chapel Hill's defense with its running game, especially with the injury suffered by Gaona last week.