Liberty-Eylau Battles Argyle in Rematch Of Last Season’s State Quarterfinal
CLASS 4A DIVISION I QUARTERFINAL
Liberty-Eylau Leopards (12-1)
Argyle Eagles (12-1)
9 p.m. Friday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- Liberty-Eylau: Steve Wells
- Argyle: Todd Rodgers
- Liberty-Eylau: def. Kaufman, 38-22
- Argyle: def. Kennedale, 58-34
- Winner faces winner between Brownwood and Abilene Wylie, state semifinals
- QB Ke'Mon Freeman, Sr., 6-0, 205 (179 of 288, 3,101 yards, 28 TDs, 5 INTs; 208 carries, 1,747 yards, 26 TDs)
- DE Lagaryonn Carson, Jr., 6-5, 255
- WR Thurman Morbley, Sr., 6-0, 165 (50 catches, 1,165 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Garyco Witcher, Sr., 5-9, 165 (48 catches, 825 yards, 5 TDs
- RB Lamont Byrd, Sr., 5-9, 180 (192 carries, 1,484 yards, 24 TDs; 16 catches, 192 yards)
- LB Demarcus Pegue, Sr., 5-10, 220
- LB/S Andre Wiley, Sr., 5-10, 185
- WR Decorian Meadows, Sr., 5-11, 160 (42 catches, 519 yards, 6 TDs)
- TE J.C. Chalk, Sr., 6-4, 230 (39 catches, 428 yards, 4 TDs; 4 carries, 72 yards, 2 TDs; committed to Clemson)
- WR Drew Estrada, Sr., 6-0, 185 (57 catches, 884 yards, 7 TDs; 32 carries, 340 yards, 8 TDs)
- RB Taylor Sweatt, Sr., 5-10, 205 (182 carries, 1,370 yards, 24 TDs; 12 catches, 114 yards)
- WR Gage McCook, Sr., 5-9, 165 (43 catches, 582 yards, 8 TDs; 48 carries, 355 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Dane Ledford, Jr., 6-0, 180 (167 of 229, 2,301 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs; 41 carries, 100 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Hudson Speed, Sr., 6-0, 230 (120 tackles, 6 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 7 PBUs)
- DE Shane McKinney, Sr., 6-0, 200 (75 tackles, 13 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries)
- DB Dylan Sadler, Jr., 5-10, 180 (28 tackles, 5 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
Just the facts
- Liberty-Eylau's season ended in the quarterfinals last year with a 45-42 loss to Argyle.
- Argyle has eliminated six East Texas teams since 2010 -- Gilmer (2010, 2011, 2013), Carthage (2011), Gladewater (2013), and Liberty-Eylau (2014).
- Liberty-Eylau is averaging 46.8 points and 542.5 yards per game -- 306.5 rushing and 243.0 passing.
- The Leopards' defense has allowed 25.8 points per game -- 24.0 in the playoffs.
- Liberty-Eylau has won 19 of its last 21 games, dating back to last season.
- Argyle is averaging 51.6 points and 394.3 yards per game -- 203.2 rushing and 191.1 passing.
- The Eagles' defense has allowed 20.6 points per game -- 25.0 in the playoffs.
- Argyle is 93-8 (.921) since 2009, and is 3-1 (.750) in fourth-round playoff games during that span.
Key matchup: Argyle rushing attack vs. Liberty-Eylau defensive front. When these two teams met last season in the state quarterfinals, Argyle senior running back Nick Ralston, who eventually signed with Arizona State, ran the ball 38 times for 214 yards and scored five touchdowns. Luckily for Liberty-Eylau, the Leopards won't have to face Ralston. Instead, the 2015 Argyle running game features a few ball carriers capable of breakout performances. Senior running back Taylor Sweatt leads the team with more than 1,300 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, but the Eagles have also incorporated receivers Drew Estrada and Gage McCook into the running game. The receiving duo, in addition to its exploits in the passing game, has combined to run for almost 700 yards with 17 touchdowns. Their combined yards-per-carry average is 8.7, which is higher than Sweatt's 7.5. So not only will Argyle attack opposing defenses with hard-nosed runs in between the tackles with their featured back, but the Eagles also have a tendency to challenges teams wide.
The focus for Liberty-Eylau's defense will be to keep Argyle's ground game from controlling the pace of the game. The Leopards' front did an excellent job in their last two playoffs wins over Sanger and Kaufman, keeping the ground attack in check. L-E junior defensive end Lagaryonn Carson, who has already committed to Texas, is adept at rushing the passer but is also a menacing force when it comes to playing run. His size and strength combination make him a mismatch for most offensive linemen, and his ability to chase plays wide or down the field have helped the Leopards' rush defense immensely during the playoffs. Linebacker Demarcus Pegue and safety/linebacker Andre Wiley Jr. are also quick to the football and physical at the point of contact.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game materializes into a shootout. Argyle and Liberty-Eylau combined for 87 points and 937 yards a season ago, and many of the Leopards' standouts from that game will be on display once again. L-E senior quarterback Ke'Mon Freeman is having an all-state caliber season, as he's closing in on 5,000 total yards of offense with 54 touchdowns. Senior wideout Garyco Witcher is 175 yards from joining fellow senior receiver Thurman Morbley as 1,000-yard receivers, while senior Lamont Byrd is nearing 1,500 rushing yards. Argyle does not average close to the number of yards as L-E, but has scored at least 58 points five consecutive weeks, including last week's 58-34 defeat of previously unbeaten Kennedale. Argyle and Liberty-Eylau share three common opponents -- Sanger, Paris, and Pittsburg. The Eagles outscored those three foes by an average score of 52-27, while Liberty-Eylau beat them on average, 43-16. All signs point to a classic game between two evenly matched teams.