East Texas Meets West Texas As Mineola Squares Off With Shallowater
Class 3A Division I
Shallowater Mustangs (13-1)
Mineola Yellowjackets (11-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Gordon Wood Stadium, Brownwood
- Shallowater: Kyle Maxfield
- Mineola: Joe Drennon
Road to state semifinals
- Bi-district: def. Friona, 42-6
- Area: def. Boyd, 49-35
- Regional semifinal: def. Breckenridge, 17-6
- Regional final: def. Brock, 22-21
- Bi-district: def. Pattonville Prairiland, 52-14
- Area: def. Commerce, 42-14
- Regional semifinal: def. Pilot Point, 34-27
- Regional final: def. Pottsboro, 14-7
- Winner plays Cameron Yoe-Edna winner, Class 3A Division I State Championship Game
*Team has not reported stats since end of the regular season
- RB/CB Cooper Ogle, Jr., 5-7, 160 (216 carries, 1,614 yards, 24 TDs through regular season)
- LB Brenton Burgett, Jr., 5-9, 170 (165 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks through regular season)
- TE Preston Scaff, Sr. (29 catches, 552 yards, 9 TDs through regular season)
- QB/S Chris Contreras, Jr., 5-6, 140
- QB Jeremiah Crawford, Soph., 5-10, 155 (57 of 118, 1,149 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 209 carries, 1,620 yards, 21 TDs)
- RB Chantz Perkins, Soph., 5-7, 155 (213 carries, 1,703 yards, 19 TDs in 13 games)
- MLB Juan Vargas, Sr., 5-10, 213 (184 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 INTs, 4 forced fumbles)
- DL Trevor Keener, Sr., 6-4, 260 (168 tackles, 24 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
- DE Casey Gilbreath, Sr., 6-0, 185 (102 tackles, 20 for loss, 6 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DB Noah Sneed, Soph., 5-10, 165 (74 tackles, 8 INTs, 1 defensive score)
- K Willie Tinajero, Jr. (51 of 52 PATs, 8 of 10 FGs, long of 37 yards)
Just the facts
- Mineola is the Region II champion, an area that covers Northeast Texas from just east of Gainesville to White Oak, and the school is making its first appearance in a state semifinal game.
- Shallowater is the Region I champion, an area that covers the entire Panhandle and extends northeast of Abilene.
- Since starting the season 0-3, Mineola is on an 11-game winning streak.
- Shallowater's only loss came against Snyder, a Class 4A team which finished the season 2-8.
- Both teams had close calls in their regional championship games.
- Mineola trailed for 35:28 in its win against Pottsboro.
- Shallowater needed a two-point conversion in the final 10 seconds to defeat Breckenridge.
- Mineola recorded three takeaways, two punts and two turnovers on downs last week.
- Yellowjackets running back Chantz Perkins broke 1,700 yards and quarterback Jeremiah Crawford is now above 1,600 rushing yards.
- Mineola receiver Brent Wells needs seven more yards to break 500 yards this season.
- Yellowjackets linebacker Juan Vargas is on pace to record his 200th tackle of the season. He needs 16 takedowns Friday.
- Mineola will undertake the region's longest trip for a football team this season. It will travel about 250 miles one-way to Brownwood.
- Shallowater, situated a few miles northwest of Lubbock, will travel 258 miles to the game.
- The Yellowjackets will depart Mineola on Thursday morning and have a final practice in Brownwood's sister city of Early later in the day.
Key matchup: Mineola's defense versus Shallowater's offense. If it was a secret, it's not anymore. The Yellowjackets have an outstanding defense, top-to-bottom, for any mid-sized school.
The defensive front especially kept Mineola in last week's game against Pottsboro. The Yellowjackets' offense was shut out and held to two first downs and 59 total yards in the first half of the meeting. However, the defensive unit capitalized on a fumble and had two fourth down stops during that time frame, including defensive a stop on 4th-and-1 at the Mineola 10-yard line.
Linebacker Juan Vargas is now East Texas' leading tackler with 184. Defensive tackle Trevor Keener is not far behind with 168 tackles, 24 of them for loss and five sacks. Casey Gilbreath is a quick defensive end with a team-best six sacks.
Combined, Mineola has more than 55 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 20 takeaways.
The unit will have to play another good game against Shallowater. Kyle Maxfield's squad averages 35 points per game. The Mustangs also have been as battle tested as the Yellowjackets.
Shallowater has not won a game by more than 14 points since the first round of the playoffs.
Running back Cooper Ogle and quarterback Chris Contreras are the guys to watch in red and black. The Mustangs, like Mineola, run a spread offense which leans more to running plays. Ogle does the heavy lifting and Contreras sprints outside of his offensive tackles for runs and passes with a clear line of sight.
If Mineola can collapse Shallowater's offensive line consistently, the Yellowjackets should be able to knock Contreras out of his comfort zone and create a lot of traffic for Ogle to dodge when he takes the ball.
Don't be surprised if: One of the teams runs away with the game. State talent pockets shift year-to-year, especially on the smaller school levels. Quite often, one regional path to the state's final four is just tougher than the other. The buildup to this match will be as grand as any game, but semifinal pairings are as often letdowns as they are thrillers.
Was the road out of Region II or Region I tougher? That's a question that could be answered Friday.
Region II won four straight Class 2A Division I semifinal meetings by 65 combined points from 2009 through 2012, but Wall of Region I took New Boston for a 31-3 win last season before the teams were rebranded as Class 3A Division I programs in the latest round of realignment.