Huge Playoff Implications Surround Friday’s Matchup Between New Diana + Elysian Fields
District 9-2A Division II
New Diana Eagles (5-3, 2-3)
Elysian Fields Yellow Jackets (3-5, 3-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jacket Stadium, Elysian Fields
- New Diana: Brett Ratliff
- Elysian Fields: Scott Ford
- New Diana: vs. DeKalb
- Elysian Fields: at Paul Pewitt
- RB/LB Garrett Barton, Sr., 5-11, 180 (132 carries, 1,123 yards, 15 TDs; 6 catches, 225 yards, 3 TDs; 20 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 forced fumbles)
- QB Jobie Ainsworth (38 of 77, 777 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs; 58 carries, 322 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB K.J. Jeffery, Sr., 5-7, 180 (60 carries, 411 yards, 5 TDs; 8 catches, 242 yards, 3 TDs; 16 tackles, 1 INT, 1 def. TD)
- LB Brandon Wesley, Sr., 5-10, 200 (101 tackles, 16 for loss, 2 sacks)
- LB Cody Holland (81 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- LB Cameron Taylor (51 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries)
- WR/DB DeQuailyn Hollins (17 catches, 174 yards, 1 TD; 68 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- DE Cody Winn (62 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 def. TD)
- LB Tanner Norman, Sr., 5-11, 190
- RB Tanner Davis, Sr., 5-10, 185 (139 carries, 1,086 rushing yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Logan Hughes, Fr. (83 of 194, 1,200 yards, 7 TDs, 16 INTs)
- DL Braden Jett, Sr., 5-9, 200
- DL Randall Wall, Sr., 6-0, 250
- OL Zack Holcomb, Sr., 6-2, 220
- LB Colby Simmons, Sr.
Just the facts
- New Diana and Elysian FIelds have met 13 times since 1996 with Elysian Fields holding a 9-4 advantage in the series over that span.
- The Eagles are in a fight for a playoff berth, something they haven't accomplished since 2005.
- New Diana is averaging 34 points and 370.9 yards per game.
- Since beginning the season 3-0, the Eagles have gone 2-3. But two of the losses have come against Waskom and Hughes Springs, who are a cumulative 16-0.
- The combined record of New Diana's eight opponents -- Jefferson, Harleton, Winona, Waskom, Hughes Springs, Ore City, Paul Pewitt and Linden-Kildare is -- 38-26.
- Elysian Fields is danger of just its third losing season since 1993.
- First-year Jackets coach Scott Ford has previous head-coaching stints at Los Fresnos, Hidalgo, Joshua and Nacogdoches.
- The combined record of Elysian Fields' eight opponents -- Corrigan-Camden, Jefferson, Arp, Linden-Kildare, Ore City, DeKalb, Waskom and Hughes Springs -- is 35-29.
Key matchup: New Diana running game vs. Elysian Fields defensive front. It's been a rough two weeks for the Elysian Fields defense, which has given up 901 combined rushing yards in consecutive blowout losses to district front-runners Waskom and Hughes Springs. The Jackets were outscored 121-13 in those two games, which doesn't bode well for their offense either. But Elysian Fields has a chance to salvage its season and put itself in good position for the playoffs with a win Friday against New Diana. However, EF must find a way to slow down the run against another run-heavy offensive attack. New Diana runs the ball 78 percent of the time and averages 268.1 rushing yards per game, which means if Elysian Fields is to have any kind of chance to win, it must be effective in stopping the run.
That may be easier said than done with New Diana standout running back Garrett Barton, who averages more than 140 yards per game and 8.5 yards per carry. Even in losses, Barton has proven difficult to stop. The Eagles have other options in the backfield as well with K.J. Jeffery, who has gone for more than 400 yards on the season in his own right. What makes this tandem so difficult to contain is their ability to make big plays in the passing game out of the backfield. Barton and Jeffery have combined for 14 receptions for 467 yards (33.4 yards per catch) and have caught six of quarterback Jobie Ainsworth's nine touchdown passes.
Don't be surprised if: Elysian Fields plays with a great sense of urgency. The Jackets have been beaten down the last two weeks, but still find themselves one big win away from re-emerging in the playoff win. The last two playoff spots from the district figure to be decided by Paul Pewitt (5-3, 3-2), New Diana and Elysian Fields. Pewitt has defeated both New Diana and EF, which gives the Brahmas a leg up and makes the New Diana-EF game of utmost importance in the 9-2A D-II playoff race.