Crockett’s Less Heralded Players Hold The Key To Upending Franklin in 3A Division II Quarterfinals
CLASS 3A DIVISION II QUARTERFINAL
Crockett Bulldogs (10-3)
Franklin Lions (13-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Mustang Stadium, Madisonville
- Crockett: Jimmy Thompson
- Franklin: Mike Hedrick
- Crockett: def. Corrigan-Camden, 49-24
- Franklin: def. Newton, 28-20
- Winner faces winner between Boling and East Bernard, state semifinals
- QB Case Robinson, Sr., 6-2, 190 (207 of 315, 3,270 yards, 42 TDs, 4 INTs, 127 carries, 802 yards, 17 TDs)
- WR A.J. Phillips, Sr., 5-8, 190 (84 catches, 1,145 yards, 19 TDs)
- RB De’Anthony Epps, Sr., 5-10, 183 (74 carries, 747 yards 5 TDs)
- OL Tim Riley, Jr., 6-0, 305
- RB Xavion Dixon, Jr., 6-1, 200
- WR/DB Lucky Daniels, Jr., 5-11, 160 (46 catches, 1,118 yards, 13 TDs)
- DL Vunterrious Leonard, Sr.
- DB Adarius Watkins, Sr., 5-11, 150
- RB Rodrick Green, Jr.
- RB/DL Bobby Graham, Jr.
- DB Thomas Box, Jr.
- LB Drew Fannin, Jr.
Just the facts
- Crockett is making its first December appearance since losing to Tatum in the 2011 state quarterfinal round.
- Bulldogs quarterback Case Robinson ranks third among East Texas passers with 3,270 yards.
- Robinson has the best touchdown to interception ratio of anyone within the region. It's 42 scoring strikes to four interceptions.
- Crockett has two receivers well past 1,000 yards. Lucky Daniels has 1,118 yards on 46 catches while A.J. Phillips has 1,145 yards on 84 receptions.
- Don't discount the Bulldogs' running game. With teams forced to respect the pass, De'Anthony Epps averages about 10 yards per run.
- Franklin ended Newton's season last week. Newton had gone undefeated against Class 3A Division II competition, and Newton defeated Crockett, 38-35, in District 11-3A Division II play.
- Franklin's senior class has enjoyed a 46-6 record through their time in high school.
- However, Franklin has never reached beyond the state quarterfinal level during the senior class' time. Franklin got closest in 2013, where White Oak knocked it out convincingly.
- Crockett and Franklin were district opponents between 2012 and 2013. Franklin won both meetings.
- The Bulldogs will travel 38 miles to Madisonville. Franklin will drive 61 miles one-way.
Key matchup: Crockett's aerial game versus Franklin's defense.
Franklin can approach this game with goals of containing a simple trio of players. Case Robinson has more than 3,000 passing yards while receivers Lucky Daniels and A.J. Phillips have more than 1,000 receiving yards apiece. No other Bulldogs player has more than 419 receiving yards, and the running game excluding Robinson's leading 802 yards has generated only about one quarter of the remaining offense.
Opposing defenses that have tried heavy pass rushes against Robinson have generally failed because of the gunslinger's mobility around and then out of the pocket, but the quarterback will have to be aware that Franklin will bring pressure time-to-time. If Robinson can read what Franklin is trying to accomplish ahead of those specific situations, there's going to be some ground right behind the pass rush to dump a pass into. Those could translate into the biggest plays of the night due to the Bulldogs' sheer athleticism.
But, generally, Franklin will just have to be patient and hope they can keep Daniels and Phillips in front of them while fanning the linebackers out into shallow pass coverage to defend other receivers.
Robinson and the running backs can bring the defense back down by running the ball effectively. It would reopen passing lanes Franklin seeks to close down.
If Crockett has a player outside of the main passing trio step up, the odds actually increase for Daniels and Phillips to carry the team into the state semifinals.
Watch to see if Robinson or the other backfield players have early success running the ball.
Don't be surprised if: Crockett makes it interesting. Quarterback Case Robinson is nowhere near turnover prone and opposing defenses have tried every trick in the book to get him to make mistakes. The Bulldogs are in the state quarterfinals for that reason. But it's going to take a complete effort to take the win. Not only is Franklin stout defensively, it has a running game to somewhat limit the chances Crockett has with the ball.