Gladewater Aims For First Playoff Win Since 2001 When Bears Face Canton on Thursday Night
Class 3A Division II Region II Bi-District Playoff
Canton Eagles (4-6)
Gladewater Bears (4-6)
7 p.m. Thursday
Eagle Stadium, Lindale
- Canton: Robert Ivey
- Gladewater: Jerrod Baugh
- Canton: lost 35-21 vs. Van
- Gladewater: won 49-42 vs. Henderson
- Winner plays Atlanta or Emory Rains in a 3A Division II area-round playoff
- QB Chandler Eiland, Jr., 6-1, 170 (117 of 198, 1,673 yards, 17 TDs, 2 INTs; 102 carries, 637 yards, 14 TDs in seven games)
- WR Brad Wiggins, Sr. (50 catches, 590 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Ryan Slider, Sr., 5-10, 150 (19 catches, 427 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Jared Grace, Sr. (17 catches, 281 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Jordan Jackson (45 carries, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
- OL Jacob Busch, Jr., 6-4, 270
- DL Ke'Adric Nelson, Sr, 5-11, 240
- DT Daylon Mack, Jr., 6-2, 310 (committed to Texas A&M; 72 tackles, 23 for loss, 3 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 pass break-up, 1 punt block, 1 safety; 12 carries, 38 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB James Reese, Jr., 5-9, 155 (165 carries, 1,097 yards, 8 TDs; 8 catches, 115 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Justice Centers, Soph. (111 carries, 726 yards, 5 TDs; 20 catches, 178 yards)
- RB Marcello Jackson, Soph. (83 carries, 442 yards, 4 TDs)
- QB Nick Canaguier, Jr., 5-10, 140 (62 of 126, 765 yards, 5 TDs, 10 INTs; 38 carries, 169 yards, 3 TDs)
- DB Daylon "Duke" Gordon, Jr., 5-10, 155 (96 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 INT, 8 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
- DB Kenny Clark (85 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 2 pass break-ups)
- LB Hagen Cooper (76 tackles, 15 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 pass break-up, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Kenneth Gossett, Sr., 5-7, 165 (33 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- LB Austin Blanco, Soph., 5-10, 180 (79 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries, 1 INT, 1 def. TD)
Just the facts
- Canton has won four of its last six games after beginning the season 0-4.
- The Eagles have made the playoffs in seven of the past 11 seasons.
- Canton is averaging 25.6 points per game, while allowing 35.3.
- The cumulative record of Canton's opponents is 48-52.
- Canton and Gladewater have met four times since 1950. The Bears lead, 3-1.
- Gladewater, one of the most storied programs in the history of East Texas, has not won a playoff game since 2001.
- The Bears have made the playoffs fives times since '01 with first-round losses coming to Carthage (2002, 2009), Liberty-Eylau (2004, 2005) and Atlanta (2006).
- Gladewater is averaging 22.6 points and 344.3 yards per game.
- The cumulative record of Gladewater's opponents is 60-38.
Key matchup: Canton offensive line vs. Gladewater defensive front. Just one look at Canton's season stats, and you see how important quarterback Chandler Eiland is to the Eagles' offense. The junior signal-caller is responsible for 31 of Canton's 37 touchdowns on the season. When he went down in the season opener and was forced to miss the next three games, Canton found itself in an 0-4 hole to begin the year. Without Eiland in the lineup, Canton scored just 20 points total. Since his return, the Eagles are averaging 35.8 points per game. Canton will be without one of its top receivers in Garrett Denbow on Thursday night, which makes Eiland's role on the team even more significant.
It will be up to Canton's offensive line to make sure Gladewater's aggressive defensive front does not disrupt Eiland's effectiveness. The Bears' defense is led by junior defensive tackle Daylon Mack, a Texas A&M commit who's among the nation's top recruits in the 2015 class. In addition to Mack, Gladewater also possesses a quick and active linebacking corps, led by Hagen Cooper and Austin Blanco.
Canton's best chance at victory is if Eiland can put forth an effort much like his performance Oct. 25 against Mineola, in which he accounted for 519 yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-35 victory. Gladewater will be devoting most of its defensive resources to stopping Eiland, so unless the Eagles find another couple of playmakers, everything will be on the shoulders of the Canton quarterback.
Don't be surprised if: Gladewater comes out ready to play Thursday night as the Bears look to deliver the town of Gladewater its first postseason win in 12 years. In the biggest game of the season -- last week's regular-season finale against Henderson with a playoff spot on the line -- Gladewater turned perhaps its best offensive performance of the year. The Bears rolled up 522 yards of offense and scored a season-high 49 points, and with Spring Hill's victory over Bullard, were rewarded with their first playoff berth since 2009. Canton has dealt with debilitating injuries all season long, but have rebounded from that adversity to salvage its season with a trip to the playoffs. With one of its top playmakers out with an injury, another obstacle stands in the way. Will Canton be able to overcome yet another setback?