‘District of Doom’ Playoff Race Implications Loom Over Gladewater’s Trip to Bullard
Gladewater Bears (3-3, 1-1)
Bullard Panthers (2-2, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Panther Stadium, Bullard
- Gladewater: Jerrod Baugh
- Bullard: Shannon Wilson
- Gladewater: vs. Kilgore
- Bullard: at Chapel Hill
- DT/FB Daylon Mack, Jr., 6-1, 311 (36 tackles, 12 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 punt block; 2 rushing TDs)
- RB James Reese, Jr., 5-9, 155 (114 carries, 832 yards, 6 TDs; 7 catches, 57 yards, 1 TD)
- DB Daylon "Duke" Gordon, Jr., 5-10, 155 (64 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 6 PBUs)
- LB Hagen Cooper (54 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks)
- LB Austin Blanco, Soph., 5-10, 180 (48 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 recoveries)
- DB Kenny Clark (50 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB Nick Canaguier, Jr., 5-10, 140 (31 of 67, 310 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs; 21 carries, 60 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Marcello Jackson, Soph. (61 carries, 357 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB/TE Justice Centers, Soph. (48 carries, 282 yards, 2 TDs; 9 catches, 74 yards)
- WR Bailey Glenn, Jr., 5-7, 130 (11 catches, 177 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Connor Mebane, Sr., 6-0, 170 (27 of 48, 343, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 75 carries, 407 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Dillon White (30 carries, 177 yards)
- RB Austin Skelton, Sr., 5-9, 175 (18 carries, 165 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Ryan Young, Sr.
- OL Aaron Johnson, Sr., 5-11, 165
- WR Drake Daly (7 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Jacob Shelton (5 catches, 92 yards)
- OL Dorian Schutt, Jr., 6-2, 235
Just the facts
- Bullard won last year's meeting 26-6.
- Gladewater is 7-3 against Bullard since 1995.
- Bullard averages 308.8 total yards per game: 223.0 rushing, 85.8 passing.
- Gladewater averages 368.5 total yards per game: 316.8 rushing, 51.7 passing.
- Gladewater allows 276.2 total yards per game: 117.2 rushing, 159.0 passing.
- Bullard averages 19.5 points per game and yields 27.8.
- Gladewater averages 23.0 points per game and allows 29.8.
- Gladewater's James Reese ran 28 times for a career-high 256 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 41-10 win against Spring Hill to earn ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Offensive Player of the Week recognition.
- Gladewater's Daylon Mack holds 16 college offers, the most among recruits in East Texas' 2015 class.
Key matchup: Bullard's defensive front vs. Gladewater's running game. A quick glance at Gladewater's offensive play selection and yardage breakdown clearly shows that the Bears want to run the ball and run it a lot.
Junior James Reese has emerged as Gladewater's go-to back, while sophomores Marcello Jackson and Justice Centers give head coach Jerrod Baugh two more talented options. Last week Gladewater showed that it's not afraid to hand the ball to 311-pound Daylon Mack, who rushed for two touchdowns in short-yardage situations.
All of those rushing options combine with a big and improving offensive line to give Gladewater a running game that has been critical to the Bears' success in their three wins. The ground game wore down Daingerfield and Atlanta in the second half of Gladewater victories, while the Bears ran the ball successfully from the start in last week's rout of Spring Hill.
Bullard needs a big game from its in-the-box defenders to contain Gladewater's grinding ground attack.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game all but eliminates the losing team from the District 16-3A playoff race.
Like all other Class 3A districts, the "District of Doom" has four playoff berths this fall. But two of those were most certainly go to Gilmer and Kilgore -- teams ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in this week's Associated Press poll -- while Chapel Hill is the favorite for the third spot.
That leaves Henderson (1-4, 0-1), Gladewater (3-3, 1-1), Bullard (2-2, 0-1), and Spring Hill (2-4, 0-2) to battle for the final spot. Considering that Gladewater already beat Spring Hill by 31 points, Friday's Bears vs. Panthers matchup and Gladewater's regular-season finale Nov. 8 at home against Henderson appear to be the most important games on the remaining schedule to decide the final playoff spot ... unless Bullard surprises East Texas fans by beating the Bears.
In other words, this game is a must-win for both teams.