DISTRICT 8-3A DIVISION II

West Rusk Raiders (7-1, 4-1)

vs.

Frankston Indians (6-2, 3-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Jeff and Opal Austin Stadium, Frankston

Coaches
  • West Rusk: John Frazier
  • Frankston: Mike Owens
Last week
Next week
  • West Rusk: vs. Troup, Nov. 6
  • Frankston: at Arp, Nov. 6

Playmakers

West Rusk

 

  • QB Dee Starling, Sr., 6-2, 190 (56-100, 1,007 passing yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs, 28 carries, 207 yards)
  • RB Nick Ballard, Sr., 5-10, 220 (164 carries, 1,238 yards, 10 TDs)
  • WR/DB Breyon Thurman, Sr., 6-4, 165 (13 catches, 397 yards, 6 TDs; 35 tackles, 1 INT)
  • WR/DB D.J. Hicks, Sr., 5-9, 160 (19 catches, 397 yards, 5 TDs, 39 carries, 302 yards, 2 TDs; 28 tackles, 1 INT)
  • LB Joe Wright, Sr., 6-0, 225 (114 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT)
  • LB Vaughn Liedtke, Sr., 6-0, 220 (88 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB Jacob Waller, Jr., 5-11, 190 (80 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
  • WR/DB Kevin Jones, Jr., 6-3, 175 (20 catches, 287 yards, 7 TDs; 57 tackles, 7 INTs, 2 forced fumbles)
  • DL Matthew Davidson, Soph., 5-6, 220 (43 tackles, 10 for loss, 1 INT)

 

Frankston

 

  • WR/DB Kendrick Rogers, Sr., 6-5, 190 (24 catches, 519 yards, 6 TDs, 25 carries, 352 yards, 3 TDs; 65 tackles, 4 INTs; committed to Texas A&M)
  • WR/DB Justice Bean, Sr., 5-10, 170 (36 catches, 669 yards, 10 TDs, 44 carries, 441 yards, 6 TDs; 31 tackles, 3 INTs)
  • OL Josh Porter, Soph., 5-10, 250
  • LB Dylan Hokit, Sr., 5-8, 160 (81 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries)
  • LB Drew Lewis, Soph., 5-9, 184 (77 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 forced fumble)

 

Just the facts
  • As of publication time, the Frankston-West Rusk game is still scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday despite other games shifting to Thursday or moving up to early Friday evening. ETSN.fm will let you know if this District 8-3A Division II contest is affected by a time change.
  • If the playoffs began today, West Rusk would be the league's No. 2 seed. Frankston would own the fourth spot despite being tied for third with Winona due to Winona's head-to-head win.
  • Friday's game should be a good one, but it doesn't have as much bearing on the playoffs as other notable East Texas games this week.
  • Frankston owns a tiebreaker against Elysian Fields, which is tied with Arp in fifth place, and will have to knock out Arp next week for the most direct route into the postseason.
  • College talent will be on display. Indians receiver Kendrick Rogers is committed to Texas A&M.
  • However, fellow Frankston receiver Justice Bean leads the team in receiving with 669 yards through eight games. Rogers, who is often double teamed, has 519 yards.
  • West Rusk's strength is defense. That unit has recorded 70 plays for negative yardage and has 26 takeaways.
  • The Raiders defeated Frankston, 22-21, last season at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium. Neither team reached the playoffs.
West Rusk senior linebacker Vaughn Liedtke is just one piece of a very strong Raiders defensive front. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Frankston's air raid offense against West Rusk's defense.

The question is, can the Raiders bog down a Texas A&M receiver commitment and another prospect in Justice Bean? The Indians' primary receiving threats, who have combined for 16 scoring receptions, are in for a real test.

West Rusk safety kevin Jones leads all of East Texas with seven interceptions this season. Another five defenders have one pick apiece for a total of 12 takeaways through the air.

But there are more ways to hurt Frankston's passing game than simply making great plays at the final second. It all starts with the pass rush, and the Raiders have some outstanding players within their defensive front.

Linebacker Joe Wright ranks sixth among East Texans in total tackles with 114, including 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. In total, West Rusk has recorded eight sacks in addition to 29 passes broken up and those 12 interceptions through eight games.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is a close one. As good as West Rusk's defense is, it's unlikely the unit can win every single battle against Frankston's high-flying offense. Kendrick Rogers and Justice Bean can go off for a big gain without any prior notice. The Raiders will have to counter with a solid night offensively as well. Fortunately, running back Nick Ballard seems up for the task. The bruiser averages 155 yards on the ground per game and can help West Rusk limit the Indians' possessions to some degree.

Frankston receiver, defensive back and Texas A&M commitment Kendrick Rogers. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)