Class 3A Division I Region III
Bi-District Playoff

Palestine Wildcats (7-3)
vs.
No. 9 Carthage Bulldogs (8-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

Coaches
Palestine: Lance Angel
Carthage: Scott Surratt

Next week: Winner plays Taylor (def. Waco La Vega 17-14 on Thursday) in a 3A Division I Region III semifinal.

Playmakers

Palestine

  • QB Gee Clark, Soph. (54 of 111, 916 yards, 11 TDs)
  • RB Jadarrius Beasley, Sr., 5-10, 170 (73 carries, 826 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Darrius Stephens, Sr., 5-10, 160 (65 carries, 503 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Ben Luckett, Jr., 5-11, 180 (60 carries, 395 yards, 7 TDs)
  • ATH Jarrell Owens (60 carries, 305 yards, 6 TDs)
  • DT Walter Sheridan, Sr., 6-1, 260
  • CB Ivory Brown, Sr., 6-0, 180
  • WR Jordan Anthony, Sr., 6-1, 180 (22 catches, 270 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Paul Barksdale, Sr., 5-8, 170 (13 catches, 187 yards, 4 TDs)
  • OL Eric Gonzales, Jr. 6-0, 284

 

Carthage

  • QB Blake Bogenschutz, Jr., 6-0, 182 (130 of 228, 2,136 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INTs; 1 rush TD)
  • DT Isaiah Golden, Sr., 6-2, 315 (57 tackles, 30 for loss, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 recovery; committed to Texas A&M)
  • WR Tee Goree, Jr., 6-2, 170 (49 catches, 1,026 yards, 14 TDs)
  • RB/MLB Trent Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 215 (2 rush TDs; 93 tackles, 9 for loss, 2 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 4 pass breakups)
  • RB Tevin Pipkin, Jr., 5-10, 170 (149 carries, 1,086 yards, 9 TDs; 17 catches, 170 yards, 1 TD)
  • OT/DE Mario McCain, Jr., 6-0, 240 (48 tackles, 20 for loss, 4 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
  • RB/FS Bryian Bolton, Soph., 5-10, 175 (23 carries, 219 yards, 5 TDs; 55 tackles, 6 INTs, 4 pass breakups)
  • DT K'Aelin Ware, Sr. 6-0, 225 (60 tackles, 13 for loss, 1 sack, 4 fumble recoveries)
  • WR Okeeron Rutherford, Jr., 6-5, 180 (28 catches, 388 yards, 6 TDs)
  • OG Adrian Goodacre, Jr., 6-4, 325

 

Just the facts

  • Palestine averages 41.8 points per game and allows 26.3.
  • Carthage averages 42.8 points per game and allows 19.9.
  • Palestine averages 399.6 total yards per game and yields 348.6.
  • Carthage averages 402.3 total yards per game and yields 274.4.
  • Both teams have played Jacksonville, Chapel Hill, and Rusk.
  • Carthage lost 34-30 to Jacksonville, beat Chapel Hill 30-6, and beat Rusk 54-14.
  • Palestine beat Jacksonville 37-20, lost to Chapel Hill 34-14, and beat Rusk 35-28.
  • Junior Blake Bogenschutz is the first Carthage QB to throw 30 TD passes in the regular season.
  • Carthage leads the all-time series vs. Palestine 19-11.
  • The series dates to 1960.
  • Palestine won the last two meetings: 47-21 in 2005 and 42-31 in 2004.

 

Palestine DB Ivory Brown. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Carthage's offensive line vs. Palestine's defensive line. Carthage coach Scott Surratt said the Bulldogs must be able control the line of scrimmage, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Carthage's passing game has been rolling lately, and Surratt pointed out that the Bulldogs expect Palestine to blitz QB Blake Bogenschutz to throw him out of rhythm. If that doesn't work, Palestine has a solid secondary to lean on, Surratt said. That secondary will have a tall order Friday night. Junior wideouts Tee Goree and Okeeron Rutherford are 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-5, respectively, and both are athletic, especially Goree, who's averaging 20.9 yards per catch. Goree's 14 receiving touchdowns are the fourth-best single-season total in school history and four behind record-holder Jalen Claiborne's 2010 total of 18.

 

Chalk talk

  • Carthage coach Scott Surratt on what stands out about Palestine: "Very, very, very fast. I think their skill guys are the fastest we've seen all year. I don't think there's any question. ... They're a spread run team that runs a lot of jet or hand sweeps. That's the things we've got to do, keep them bottled up or we're not going to catch them if they get loose."
  • Surratt on his offense entering the playoffs: "I think we're playing very well right now. We're in a good rhythm. I think we're ready for the playoffs."
  • Surratt on Carthage's defensive approach vs. Palestine: "We've got to keep them in front of us and be patient. We know they're going to get some big plays, but don't give up the big, big play."
  • Surratt on his defense entering the playoffs: "I think we've gotten better over the open week. We did a little scrimmaging and actually the defense won. I think they're getting better and better."

 

Don't be surprised if: Carthage's balanced offensive firepower wears down Palestine in the second half. Carthage has one of the most balanced offenses in East Texas and is one of the few teams you'll find in the state with a 2,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver during the regular season. Palestine has proven it can score a ton of points, too, averaging 45.8 per game in the six contests since a 34-14 loss to Chapel Hill. But Carthage has scored points at an eye-opening rate lately, averaging 51.6 points per game in five contests since a 29-27 loss to Whitehouse. Palestine must use its speed to get outside on Carthage, which will undoubtedly try to set to the edge and drive blockers into the running lanes on jet sweeps. Protecting the ball is crucial, as always, for both teams. If Palestine can keep the ball away from Carthage's offense and finish drives, the Wildcats have a chance at the upset. But if Carthage is protecting Bogenschutz and getting regular defensive stops, the Bulldogs will march to the second round.