Gladewater Bears (1-0)

vs.

Pittsburg Pirates (1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Pirate Stadium, Pittsburg

 

Coaches
  • Gladewater: Jerrod Baugh
  • Pittsburg: Dickey Meeks

 

Last week
  • Gladewater: won 16-14 vs. Daingerfield
  • Pittsburg: won 55-14 vs. Wills Point

 

Next week
  • Gladewater: at Athens
  • Pittsburg: at New Boston

 

Playmakers

Gladewater

  • DT Daylon Mack, Jr., 6-1, 311 (6 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 safety, 1 punt block)
  • RB James Reese, Jr., 5-9, 155 (21 carries, 72 yards)
  • RB Marcello Jackson, Soph. (10 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD)
  • TE/FB Justice Centers, Soph. (3 carries, 60 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 15 yards)
  • QB Nick Canaguier, Jr., 5-10, 140 (7 of 8, 72 yards)
  • RB Daryl Polk, Jr. (6 carries, 14 yards; 2 catches, 13 yards)
  • WR Bailey Glenn, Jr. (2 catches, 35 yards)
  • LB Hagen Cooper, Sr. (1 fumble recovery)
  • OL Thorn Berry, Jr., 6-2, 250
  • DB Daylon "Duke" Gordon, Jr., 5-10, 155

 

Pittsburg

  • QB Garrett Truitt, Sr., 6-4, 190 (10 of 14, 226 yards, 4 TDs; 1 rush TD)
  • RB Teriyan Cuba, Jr. (17 carries, 125 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 56 yards)
  • DL Tajawin Smith, Sr., 6-1, 265
  • RB Fre'Zarian Harris, Jr., 5-10, 185 (1 rush TD)
  • WR Ernando Valdelamar (5 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB/LB Sir Charles Perkins, Jr. (3 carries, 27 yards)
  • WR Markevius Traylor, Sr. (1 receiving TD)
  • RB DeQuaveon Douglas (9 carries, 64 yards)
  • WR Charlie Mitchell (1 receiving TD)
  • WR Derek Torrey (1 receiving TD)

 

Just the facts
  • After gaining only 73 total yards in the first half, Gladewater gained 193 total yards in the second half of last week's 16-14 home win against Daingerfield.
  • Gladewater junior defensive tackle Daylon Mack tackled Daingerfield's Ramius Wallace in the end zone with 18 seconds remaining to lift the Bears to their two-point victory a week ago.
  • Mack is widely considered East Texas' top recruit in the 2015 class. ESPN.com recently ranked him as the No. 10 overall prospect in the nation in the 2015 class, while 247Sports.com ranked him as the No. 2 overall prospect in Texas in that grade.
  • Ole Miss offered Mack earlier this week, giving the defensive tackle 14 offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.
  • Gladewater won last year's meeting with Pittsburg 35-34 on the power of Mack's two-point conversion run with 2:25 remaining in the game.
  • Gladewater is 12-5 vs. Pittsburg since 1964, but the Pirates have won four of the last six meetings.
  • Gladewater's James Reese, Marcello Jackson, and Justice Centers ran 13 times for 42 yards in the first half vs. Daingerfield, but burst loose in the second half, running 21 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Pittsburg's 55-14 blowout of Wills Point earned first-year head coach Dickey Meeks his 150th career win in Texas, where he has coached Chapel Hill, Pine Tree, Mount Vernon, Henderson, and now Pittsburg.
  • Pittsburg senior quarterback Garrett Truitt averaged 22.6 yards per completion last week.
  • Pittsburg gained 466 yards of total offense against Wills Point: 240 rushing, 226 passing.
  • The Pirates reached that total on 50 plays, averaging better than 9.3 yards per play.
  • Pittsburg used two place kickers against Wills Point. Daniel Silva made the Pirates' lone field-goal attempt and hit 2 of 3 extra-point tries. Osvaldo Aguilar went 2-for-2 on PATs.

 

Key matchup: Pittsburg's defensive front vs. Gladewater's running game. Gladewater head coach Jerrod Baugh stuck to his game plan and it paid off. After the Bears averaged fewer than two yards per carry in the first half of last week's home game against Daingerfield, their perseverance prevailed in the final 24 minutes, when Gladewater ran for 145 yards as a team and averaged six yards per tote.

Gladewater RB James Reese. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

That allowed the Bears to dictate the tempo and win the field-position battle, which was ultimately the difference in the game. Gladewater's Hagen Cooper killed a perfectly-placed, 26-yard punt by Daylon "Duke" Gordon at the 1-yard line, allowing super recruit Daylon Mack to make a game-winning safety two plays later in the final 20 seconds of the game.

Like Daingerfield, Pittsburg runs a spread offense that likes to try to stay balanced. Pittsburg senior quarterback Garrett Truitt threw for 226 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns in his first game under head coach Dickey Meeks and offensive coordinator Ricky Joe Meeks. Similar to their approach when at Henderson, where they led the Lions to the 2010 Class 3A Division I state crown, the coaching staff spread the ball around, allowing six players to rush at least once and six to catch at least one pass.

If Gladewater successfully runs the ball, Pittsburg will have a hard time doing that. The Bears will dictate the pace, much the same way as they did in the second half against Daingerfield. Pittsburg needs a big game from its defensive front, including senior lineman Tajawin Smith and junior linebacker Sir Charles Perkins, who led the Pirates in 2012 with 146 tackles. If Pittsburg can get Gladewater's offense off the field, that means more snaps for the revamped offense, which showed in its debut how potent it could be.

Pittsburg DL Tajawin Smith. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Both teams get in their licks. Gladewater built a ton of confidence with its second-half performance against Daingerfield, and that doesn't go for only the offense side of the ball. After allowing a 55-yard touchdown on the game's second play from scrimmage, the Bears' defense allowed a lone touchdown in the game's final 47 1/2 minutes.

Meanwhile, Pittsburg showed against Wills Point that regardless of the opponent, the Pirates' offense could be difficult to prevent from busting a big play here or there.

That results in a contrast in styles that should make for an entertaining contest Friday at Pirate Stadium.