Elysian Fields’ Tanner Norman is ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week
The last two Fridays have seen Elysian Fields avenge lopsided regular-season losses with big playoff wins.
After beating Arp 30-20 to turn the tables on its 43-13 regular-season defeat, Elysian Fields set its sights on District 9-2A Division II foe Hughes Springs, which thrashed the Yellow Jackets 55-14 on Oct. 26.
That didn't happen Friday at Longview's Lobo Stadium.
Elysian Fields contained the Mustangs' high-octane running game thanks to a defensive line that won the leverage battle at the point of attack and a linebacker corps that cleaned up behind that front. Nobody cleaned up more than EF junior linebacker Tanner Norman, who made a season-high 23 tackles and is the ETSN.fm Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Norman is the second Jacket in as many weeks to win the ETSN.fm Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week honor after Zane Barge earned it a week ago thanks to his three-interception effort in the win against Arp. Norman was one of seven Jackets who reached double-digit tackles after Hughes Springs ran 74 plays, 57 of which were on the ground. Norman and company held the Mustangs to 220 rushing yards on those almost five dozen rushing attempts, which made for a pedestrian average of 3.9 yards per attempt. In the Oct. 26 encounter, Hughes Springs' Michael Martinez ran for 220 yards and two touchdowns to spearhead the 41-point win. Friday, EF held him to 89 yards on 26 carries.
Fellow linebacker Bruce Woods had 18 tackles as the Elysian Fields defensive line occupied blockers and allowed EF's linebackers to roam and make plays, something Norman has done all year. He leads East Texas with 216 tackles, the only player in the region who is north of the 200-tackle plateau, according to stats submitted by coaches to ETSN.fm.
Norman has 11 double-digit tackle performances in Elysian Fields 14 games. Norman has been at his best in the playoffs, recording a staggering 78 tackles in four games. Including the regular season-closing win against Paul Pewitt, Norman has 98 tackles in Elysian Fields' last five games.
The 11-3 Jackets will once again be the underdog this week. They play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco against unbeaten East Bernard in a Class 2A Division II state semifinal, the winner of which goes to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington for an 8 p.m. state championship game Dec. 20. East Bernard (13-0) pounded defending state champion Refugio 54-23 in the Region IV final.
Dairy Queen Defensive Players of the Week
Dec. 6-8: Tanner Norman, LB, Elysian Fields
Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Zane Barge, DB, Elysian Fields
Nov. 22-24: Tyus Bowser, DE, John Tyler
Nov. 15-17: Joe Cruz, DB, Alto
Nov. 8-10: Tyus Bowser, DE, John Tyler
Nov. 1-3: A.J. Davis, LB, Kilgore
Oct. 25-27: Corey Bartley, FS, Longview
Oct. 18-20: Syd Moore, DT, Van
Oct. 11-13: Eric Berryhill, LB, Hughes Springs
Oct. 4-6: LaDarrin Anthony, DT, Kilgore
Sept. 27-29: Arqez Walton, LB, Henderson
Sept. 20-22: Benny Colbert, DB, Kilgore
Sept. 13-15: DeQuante Woods, DB, John Tyler
Sept. 6-8: Corey Bartley, FS, Longview
Aug. 30-Sept. 1: Coby Bradford, DE, Hallsville