CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Region II Semifinal

Howe Bulldogs (9-3)

vs.

Mineola Yellowjackets (10-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Royse City ISD Stadium, Royse City

Coaches

  • Howe: Zach Hudson
  • Mineola: Joe Drennon
Last week

Next week
  • Winner plays Farmersville or Pottsboro, Class 3A Division I, Region II championship game
Playmakers

Howe

  • RB/LB Tyler Grisham, Sr., 6-1, 220
  • RB/LB Andrew Griffin, Jr., 5-9, 200
  • RB Jaden Matthews, Sr., 5-8, 200
  • RB/DB Mason Riggs, Soph., 6-0, 175
  • RB/DB Brent Masters, Sr., 5-7, 155
  • QB Brandon Wall, Sr., 6-0, 170

Mineola

  • QB Jeremiah Crawford, Sr., 5-10, 185
  • RB Chantz Perkins, Sr., 5-6, 155
  • DB/WR Cameron Sorenson, Jr., 6-2, 170
  • DB Noah Sneed, Sr., 6-0, 195
  • LB/WR Kartney Hampton, Sr., 5-8, 165
  • DL Drason Tenner, Sr., 5-9, 255
  • LB/TE Michael Drennon, Jr., 6-1, 210
  • WR/DB Frankie Meason, Sr., 6-2, 177
  • DL Devon Goguen, Sr., 6-4, 190
  • ATH Kourtland Sinches, Sr., 5-10, 165
Just the facts
  • Mineola enters Friday's game having not lost to any Class 3A Division I teams in Region II since the 2013 season.
  • The Yellowjackets are trying to reach the regional championship game for the third time in three years. They have been to the state semifinals or better the past two seasons, but they're also still looking for the school's first football state championship.
  • Mineola's two losses this season came in the first two weeks of the season against Class 4A Division I opponents Van and Kaufman. Both of those teams went two rounds deep in their playoff bracket, and Van has advanced to the third round.
  • Yellowjackets senior running back Chantz Perkins missed a few games midway through the season, but he's available and makes up a potent backfield alongside senior quarterback Jeremiah Crawford.
  • Crawford and Perkins have guided the program to a 36-7 record since their sophomore seasons with zero district losses.
  • Mineola is unbeaten at Royse City ISD Stadium the past three campaigns. It has a 3-0 record dating back to the 2014 season.
  • The Yellowjackets average a 48-17 victory per game.
  • Mineola will travel 56 miles to Royse City ISD Stadium. Howe, about a 10 minute drive due south of Sherman, will bus 61 miles.
Mineola running back Chantz Perkins needs 59 yards to hit 1,000-yards on the season. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Mineola's running game versus Howe's defensive front.

The Yellowjackets got off to a sluggish start in last week's area round playoff game against Whitesboro -- the second-place finisher in District 5-3A Division I just ahead of Howe as the league's third seed. They obviously would prefer not to be in that position again.

Howe's offense runs a variant of the T-formation, so the team's defense is more familiar than most against defending the run. And 82 percent of Mineola's 4,894 yards have come on the ground out of a spread look.

The Yellowjackets offensive line, which lost two twin tackles to Texas A&M and a third seasoned starter from last year's state semifinalist team, will need to get a good push for quarterback Jeremiah Crawford and running back Chantz Perkins. But both Crawford and Perkins are lethal once they're past the first wave of defenders.

Crawford needs 82 yards to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards on the season. Perkins needs 59 yards to hit 1,000 yards in spite of missed time.

Combined, the two primary runners have scored 48 touchdowns in 12 games. That's four per game before factoring an abnormally high 15 touchdowns through the air on just 86 attempts from Crawford all season.

If the Yellowjackets' offense hits on all cylinders early, it probably will be a long night for Howe. Mineola's defense averages 17 points against per contest.

 

Don't be surprised if: Howe takes some chances on offense to keep the ball away from Mineola's offense.

If the Yellowjackets score consistently early in the game, expect Howe to get more and more aggressive to keep the ball out of its opposition's hands.

Going for it on fourth down, fake punts, onside kicks -- those things are all on the table as another Region II team tries to solve the region's three-season Mineola problem.

Mineola defensive end Devon Goguen is East Texas' fourth-leading tackler for negative yardage. He has 23 tackles for loss. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)