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Hallsville Meets Undefeated Lucas Lovejoy in First Round

Hallsville’s Khalil Sneed (9) runs the ball during the Bobcats’ 54-49 loss at Mount Pleasant on Nov. 2. Hallsville plays undefeated Lucas Lovejoy on Friday in Forney. (Richard Shoemaker, ETSN.fm)

Class 4A Division II Region II
Bi-District Playoff

Hallsville Bobcats (7-3)
vs.
Lucas Lovejoy Leopards (10-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
City Bank Stadium, Forney

Coaches
Hallsville: David Plunk
Lovejoy: Matt Green

Next week: Winner plays Lancaster or Jacksonville in a 4A Division II Region II area playoff.

Playmakers

Hallsville

  • QB Macailyn Wilder, Jr., 5-10, 175 (16 of 27, 213 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 118 carries, 862 yards, 18 TDs)
  • DE Coby Bradford, Sr., 6-1, 205 (64 tackles, 30 for loss, 12.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 27 QB pressures)
  • QB Austin Toney, Sr., 6-3, 185 (124 of 189, 1,469 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs; 6 rush TDs)
  • RB Thaddeus Fagan, Sr., 6-0, 190 (128 carries, 862 yards, 6 TDs)
  • LT Hayden Wall, Sr., 6-4, 270
  • S Cayden Ferrill, Sr., 5-10, 195 (77 tackles, 18 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 4 pass breakups)
  • DB Jesse Navarro, Sr., 5-9, 170 (69 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries)
  • WR Andre Jones, Jr., 5-9, 170 (49 catches, 692 yards, 2 TDs)
  • DB Santos Estrada, Sr., 5-9, 175 (48 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 14 pass breakups)
  • DT Tray King, Sr. (48 tackles, 23 for loss, 3 sacks)

 

Lovejoy

  • QB Bowman Sells (135 of 212, 2,223 yards, 24 TDs, 6 INTs; 48 carries, 137 yards)
  • RB Nicholas LaSane (81 carries, 865 yards, 5 TDs; 6 catches, 176 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB Daniel Sefcik (90 carries, 735 yards, 8 TDs; 34 catches, 507 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR Cullen Oldham-Greene (45 carries, 383 yards, 1 TD; 25 catches, 217 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Justice Luce (26 catches, 642 yards, 11 TDs)
  • ATH Zach Saffle (9 of 19, 64 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 42 carries, 196 yards, 12 TDs; 15 catches, 246 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Grant Jarvis (20 catches, 276 yards, 2 TDs)
  • K Mick Ellis (9 FGs, 35 PATs)

 

Just the facts

  • Hallsville averages 32.7 points per game and allows 22.7.
  • Lovejoy averages 43.9 points per game and allows 22.2.
  • Hallsville averages 397.0 total yards per game: 228.8 rushing, 168.2 passing.
  • Lovejoy averages 483.7 total yards per game: 256.1 rushing, 227.6 passing.
  • Hallsville is 2-2 in games decided by seven or fewer points.
  • Lovejoy has not won a game by fewer than seven points.
  • Hallsville has scored at least 40 points three times.
  • Lovejoy has scored at least 46 points six times.
  • Lovejoy is in its first season as a Class 4A school.

 

 

Hallsville DE Coby Bradford. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Hallsville’s defensive line vs. Lovejoy’s offensive line. Lovejoy has perhaps the most balanced offense Hallsville will face this year. Of the previous three high-powered offenses Hallsville has seen — Whitehouse, Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant — only Sulphur Springs has produced as well on the ground as it has in the air in the manner that Lovejoy has. Lovejoy QB Bowman Sells has plenty of targets in the passing game and a fleet of backs in the rushing attack, including Nick LaSane, who leads the Leopards in rushing yards. Hallsville most successfully attack Lovejoy’s offensive front if the Bobcats hope to have a chance at the first-round upset. Coby Bradford is tied with Van’s Syd Moore and Carthage’s Isaiah Golden for the East Texas lead with 30 tackles for loss, and his 12 1/2 sacks put him in the top five in the region. Hallsville needs the kind of game Bradford had against Whitehouse in the season opener — five sacks — to pressure Sells and throw the Leopard offense out of rhythm. The Bobcats could also use a big game out of defensive tackle Tray King, who is also among East Texas’ tackles-for-loss producers. On the other side of the ball, Hallsville’s O-line led by Hayden Wall needs to get a consistent push so the Bobcat offense can play keep-away from the potent Lovejoy offense and dictate the game’s tempo.

 

Don’t be surprised if: Hallsville hangs around as long as it can, but Lovejoy’s offense finds a way to make too many plays for the Bobcats to pull the upset. Hallsville has proven that it can score a lot of points against strong offensive teams. The Bobcats went down to the wire vs. Sulphur Springs (38-31) and Mount Pleasant (54-49), but weren’t able to close the deal at the end of those games. Hallsville’s recipe for the upset hinges on the Bobcats’ ability to force turnovers and create points from them. If Hallsville can be plus-2 or plus-3 in the turnover battle — and in turn plus-14 in the points-off-turnovers battle — the Bobcats have a shot at ending Lovejoy’s promising season prematurely. But if Hallsville is on the other side of that, the Bobcats will have an extremely difficult time extending their season. Even in an even turnover battle, Lovejoy figures to be a solid favorite. With the schedule it has played, Hallsville is prepared to face a team like Lovejoy. We’ll see if the ‘Cats can beat the odds and get their first playoff win since 2003.

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