Kilgore Bulldogs (2-2)

vs.

Gladewater Bears (1-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium, Gladewater

Coaches
  • Kilgore: Mike Wood
  • Gladewater: John Berry

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Kilgore: idle
  • Gladewater: idle

 

Playmakers

Kilgore

  • RB Jaquorius Smith, Sr., 5-10, 180 (58 carries, 454 yards, 4 TDs; 3 catches, 11 yards
  • QB Patrick Jackson, Soph., 5-9, 150 (16-of-30, 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 45 carries, 195 yards, 2 TDs
  • WR Jonathan Shepherd, Soph., 6-3, 180 (4 catches, 58 yards)
  • WR Cole Wood, Jr., 6-1, 170 (4 catches, 56 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Ty Wallace, Soph. (42 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 QB pressure)
  • LB Mason Shelton, Sr., 5-9, 200 (42 tackles, 1 QB pressure)
  • DB Chris Toombs, Sr., 5-11, 185 (32 tackles, 5 PBUs)
  • DB Mateo Meraz, Jr. (22 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 QB pressure)

 

Gladewater

  • LB Darnell McKnight, Jr., 5-10, 221 (13 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries; through three games)
  • FB Justice Centers, Sr., 6-0, 215 (43 carries, 246 yards, 3 TDs)
  • RB/LB Marcello Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 190 (57 carries, 430 yards, 6 TDs; 13 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT; through three games)
  • DB Austin Hawley, Jr., 6-1, 195 (20 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 3 PBUs; through three games)
  • WR Cameron Callaway, Sr., 5-11, 165 (12 catches, 215 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB/DB Isaiah Davis, Soph., 5-11, 195 (21 carries, 190 yards, 2 TDs; 11 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBUs; through three games)
  • DL Quanterius Turner, Sr., 6-4, 275 (15 tackles, 6 for loss, 2 sacks; through three games)
  • LB Bryston Oliver, Jr. (32 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack; through three games)

 

Just the facts
  • Kilgore and Gladewater have met 17 times since 1951 with Kilgore holding a 13-4 advantage during that time span.
  • The two teams have played one another in each of the last three seasons. Prior to 2012, their last meeting occurred in 1981.
  • Kilgore is averaging 19.5 points and 258 yards per game -- 193.4 rushing and 64.6 passing.
  • The Bulldogs' defense is allowing 24 points and 365 yards per game -- 157.8 rushing and 207.2 passing.
  • The cumulative record of Kilgore's non-district opponents -- Nacogdoches, Corpus Christi Flour Bluff, Pine Tree, and Texas High -- is 5-8.
  • Gladewater is averaging 36.8 points and 334.5 yards per game -- 251.3 rushing and 83.2 passing.
  • The Bears are allowing 36.3 points per game. Last year, Gladewater yielded opponents 20.2.
  • The cumulative record of Gladewater's non-district opponents -- Daingerfield, Pittsburg, Bossier City (La.) Parkway, and Carthage -- is 10-5.

 

Gladewater RB Marcello Jackson. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Gladewater rushing attack vs. Kilgore defensive front. It's been true for the better part of the last three decades, and it's not likely to change Friday night. Kilgore's defense will do everything within its power to stop the opponent's ground game, and that's what Gladewater is up against this week. The Bears have been one of the area's best rushing offenses over the last few seasons, and the same is ringing true in 2015. Gladewater has run 205 plays from scrimmage so far this season, and 155 of them have been rushing attempts. The Bears may not have been as explosive through the first four games of this season as they've been the previous two years, but Gladewater is still carrying a 6.8 yards-per-carry average into Friday night's game. Considering Gladewater has competed a little less than half of its passing attempts, and starting receiver Caleb Williams is out with an injury, expect the Bears to place an even heavier emphasis on the running game this week.

The Bears could be without senior fullback Justice Centers, who has not played since the first half of Gladewater's Week 3 loss to Bossier City Parkway. Centers is currently second on the team with 246 yards and three touchdowns, and his status for Friday's game is uncertain. That could mean a heavy dose of senior Marcello Jackson, whose 430 yards and six touchdowns are a team-best. Jackson's had a pair of 100-yard rushing performances so far, but he'll need help from others. Sophomore Isaiah Davis is a tough runner who is averaging more than nine yards on his 21 carries, but has been limited to 61 yards on 16 carries the last two weeks. Junior Darnell McKnight is another capable back, but he's spent most of his time at linebacker in the early going after posting 705 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground a season ago.

Kilgore LB Mason Shelton. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Following a tough start to the season, Kilgore's defense has begun to round into form. The Bulldogs allowed 70 combined points in losses to Nacogdoches and Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in Weeks 1 and 2, but held their next two opponents -- Pine Tree and Texas High -- to 26 total points. For the season, Kilgore's defense is yielding a little more than 150 rushing yards per game. In last week's 21-17 victory over Texas High, the Tigers managed just 142 ground yards with an average of 4.4 yards per carry. If Kilgore's defense can turn in a similar performance against Gladewater, the Bulldogs stand an excellent chance of capturing their third consecutive win.

Don't be surprised if: Points are hard to come by Friday night. Gladewater's offensive numbers have been above average through four games, but Kilgore could present the Bears' offense with their biggest challenge to date. Kilgore's offense, meanwhile, has struggled the first month of the season. The Bulldogs are averaging less than 20 points per game and putting up only 258 yards of total offense each week. With the exception of senior running back Jaquorius Smith, the team's leading rusher, Kilgore is young at the other impact positions. Quarterback Patrick Jackson and receiver Jonathan Shepherd are both sophomores, while Cole Wood, who has Kilgore's only touchdown reception of the season, is a junior. The Bulldogs' offense has been a work in progress so far, and there's still a ways to go. Right now, it's on Kilgore's defenders to leave their imprint on games.