Hallsville + Nacogdoches Enter Meeting on High Note After Knocking Off East Texas’ Best From Season Ago
Nacogdoches Dragons (1-0)
Hallsville Bovcats (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Hallsville: David Plunk
- Nacogdoches: defeated Kilgore, 27-25
- Hallsville: defeated Carthage, 52-20
- Nacogdoches: at Carthage, Sept. 12
- Hallsville: at Athens, Sept. 12
- S Brandon Jones, Jr. 6-0, 185 (East Texas’ Class of 2016 scholarship leader with 30 FBS offers)
- CB Jaylon Lane, Sr., 6-2, 180 (East Texas’ Class of 2015 scholarship leader with 38 offers)
- S Corey Lane, Jr., 5-11, 185
- QB Hunter McClellan, Sr., 6-2, 175 (15-for-23, 269 yards, 3 TDS, 24 rushing yards)
- WR Sam Morgan, Sr., 5-11, 175
- CB Latavion “Tay” Forest, Sr., 5-10, 180
- WR Ken Rogers, Sr., 5-11, 167
- RB Coronado Tolbert, Sr. (20 carries for 120 yards)
- K Rudy Fuentes, Sr. (game-winning 30-yard field goal vs. Kilgore)
- QB Wyatt Wolverton, Sr., 5-11, 170 (14-for-16, 158 yards, 17 carries, 79 yards, 5 total TDs)
- RB Kha’lil Sneed, Sr., 5-6, 175 (109 yards, 14 carries, 1 TD)
- WR Jamil Young, Sr., 6-2, 180 (121 yards, 9 receptions, 2 TDs)
- DL Dwayne Johnson, Sr., 6-2, 205
- WR/DB Dionte Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 180
- OL Trey Gillespie, Sr., 6-4, 270
- DB Jaylon Kerby, Sr., 5-10, 170
- OL Logan Bailey, Sr.
- LB Ben Dewoody, Sr., 6-2, 200
- WR Ky-Untae Hicks, Sr.
Just the facts
- Hallsville defeated a rebuilding Carthage team that won the 2013 Class 3A Division I state championship.
- Nacogdoches defeated Kilgore which played Carthage in the state championship game.
- Quarterback Wyatt Wolverton exploded on the scene for Hallsville with 237 total yards and five touchdowns.
- Nacogdoches' secondary is home to junior safety Brandon Jones and senior cornerback Jaylon Lane. The two players lead their respective East Texas recruiting classes in terms of total offers.
- Nacogdoches head coach Bobby Reyes said each of his four starting defensive backs probably will find a college football home. Junior safety Corey Lane has an offer from Louisiana Tech and senior cornerback Tay Forest could grab attention with offenses throwing away from Jaylon Lane's side of the field.
- Hallsville running back Kha'lil Sneed is right on pace for a 1,000-yard season with 109 yards against Carthage last week.
- Nacogdoches running back Coronado Tolbert picked up 120 yards against Kilgore.
- Hallsville and Nacogdoches could theoretically meet in the first round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs. Hallsville plays in District 15-5A and Nacogdoches is in the adjacent 16-5A league.
Key matchup: Wolverton and the Hallsville passing offense versus Nacogdoches' promising secondary. The Bobcats did some damage to a Kilgore defense with three returning players from last year's state championship appearance team, but the back end of the Dragons' defense is probably the best in all of East Texas.
Nacogdoches' Brandon Jones, a junior safety, picked up offers from Texas and Arkansas on Monday to up his scholarship offer list to 30 schools. Senior cornerback Jaylon Lane leads all of East Texas with 38 scholarship opportunities and is committed to Oklahoma State.
Hallsville will ultimately have to throw against Nacogdoches, and there's not a good spot to pick on. Tay Forest is probably the the "weak point" of the secondary as a smaller cornerback, but Forest had a great summer and is very good at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. He will be supported by Jones and fellow safety Corey Lane.
The key for the Bobcats will be to nickel and dime the Dragons' defense with running back Kha'lil Sneed and short throws underneath the coverage to set up manageable third downs. With a short field to defend, however, Nacogdoches' secondary should have a say in the outcome.
Don't be surprised if: Dragons quarterback Hunter McClellan begins an ascent to notoriety in East Texas. The signal caller was putting together a fantastic junior season before an injury in the fifth game of the year. He has 259 yards and three touchdowns to his name in 2014. Facing a defense with eight fresh faces could allow McClellan to flourish early.
Hallsville gave up 251 yards through the air against Carthage despite a limited running game. With a durable running back in Coronado Tolbert to keep defenses honest, McClellan and Nacogdoches' should face a Bobcats defense that is forced to respect the run.