DISTRICT 8-3A Division I

White Oak Roughnecks (5-0, 0-0)

vs.

Hughes Springs Mustangs (3-2, 0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Mustang Stadium, Hughes Springs

Coaches

  • White Oak: Kris Iske
  • Hughes Springs: Chris Edwards
Last week
  • White Oak: Idle
  • Hughes Springs: Idle

Next week
  • White Oak: vs. Sabine, Oct. 14
  • Hughes Springs: at Jefferson, Oct. 14
Playmakers

White Oak

  • ATH Heath Hood, Jr., 5-10, 170
  • DL/WR Elijah Trest, Jr., 6-2, 190 (committed to Arkansas baseball)
  • WR Kason Kienzle, Jr., 5-10, 150
  • LB Caleb Hampton, Sr., 5-9, 175
  • WR/DB Brandon Cook, Sr., 5-10, 153
  • RB Connor Hearron, Sr., 6-0, 178
  • WR/LB Antonio Castiglione, Sr., 5-10, 180
  • LB Chase Reeves, Sr., 5-11, 175
  • WR/DB Colby Siegley, Jr., 5-11, 168
  • ATH Chandler Gordy, Jr., 6-0, 160
  • ATH Jacob Young, Soph., 5-7, 150

Hughes Springs

  • FB/LB Clark Black, Sr., 5-10, 185
  • OL/DL Hunter Brabham, Jr., 6-3, 220
  • QB Alex Bruce, Jr., 5-9, 165
  • WR/DB Dedrick Hill, Jr., 5-6, 150
  • LB Zach Pilgrim, Jr., 5-10, 205
  • OL/DL Colton Tigert, Sr., 6-3, 280
  • ATH Shamori Ivory, Sr., 6-0, 160
Just the facts
  • White Oak is 5-0 for the first time since the 2013 season.
  • In 2013, the Roughnecks got handed their first loss in their first district game and dropped to a 5-1 overall record.
  • Hughes Springs is making its Class 3A Division I district debut. It has not played schools White Oak's size in district competition since 3A was all one level back before the 2010 season.
  • ETSN.fm picked White Oak to win District 8-3A Division I in the preseason. The Mustangs were picked to finish third.
  • The Roughnecks are ranked fourth in this week's Class 3A Poll and are ranked sixth in the Associated Press' state wide 3A poll.
  • Hughes Springs is unranked.
Hughes Springs linebacker Zach Pilgirm will be one of a few players essential to discouraging White Oak's Heath Hood from running the football. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)
(Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Hughes Springs' defense versus White Oak quarterback Heath Hood.

The Roughnecks' signal caller's passing numbers stand out through five games. Despite a handful of quarterbacks in the area having already played a sixth game, Hood is East Texas' third-leading passer with 1,858 yards and 19 touchdowns to seven interceptions and forces defenses to respect that facet of the offense.

But maybe the best thing about Hood is his running ability. He's not the most durable back in the region, but White Oak's four-wide scheme will create open space for the quarterback to run through if there's nothing open in the passing game.

Four receivers take off, the defense drops back to defend them, White Oak's offensive line spreads out the defensive front and Hood finds a running lane.

Does Hughes Springs have the defenders to trap Hood in the pocket? Is the team willing to take chances against the pass to take away easy yardage?

Any team that beats White Oak this season will need a complete defense. A secondary that can hold its own against the Roughnecks' receivers as well as a defensive front that can tackle in open space.

Hughes Springs might have those things.

Linebackers Clark Black and Zach Pilgrim are imposing players in the middle of the field.

Senior safety Dedrick Hill is a good player to have as the last man between the ball carrier and the end zone.

But it will take an absolutely complete defensive effort for the Mustangs to give their team a chance in this game.

 

Don't be surprised if: The Mustangs slow down the tempo of the game.

The surest way to limit White Oak quarterback Heath Hood's impact is to not give him the ball. If Hughes Springs can successfully run the ball and utilize the play clock, it will ultimately reduce the damage White Oak has inflicted on other teams toward a combined score of 250-123 through five games.

Hughes Springs receiver and safety Dedrick Hill. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)