Atlanta Rabbits (1-1)

vs.

Liberty-Eylau Leopards (0-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Harris Field, Texarkana

Coaches

  • Atlanta: Matt McClure
  • Liberty-Eylau: Steve Wells
Last week

Next week
  • Atlanta: vs. New Boston, Sept. 23
  • Liberty-Eylau: at Pleasant Grove, Sept. 23
Playmakers

Atlanta

  • TE/LB Tristan Allen, Sr., 6-4, 218
  • WR/LB Desmond Robinson, Sr., 6-3, 205
  • RB/DB Kelton Young, Sr., 5-10, 180
  • OL/LB Christian Oliver, Sr.
  • LB Danny Dickerson, Sr.
  • OL/DL Ethan Mauldin, Sr.
  • QB/DB Layton Henson, Sr., 6-2, 180
  • WR/DB Desmond Webster, Sr., 5-11, 180

Liberty-Eylau

  • DL Lagaryonn Carson, Sr., 6-5, 255 (committed to Texas)
  • WR Aaron Bruce, Sr., 6-1, 175
  • RB/LB DeAndre Hoof, Jr., 5-10, 185
  • QB Decorian Phillips, Jr., 6-0, 162
  • OL/DL Franklin Smith, Sr., 6-3, 275
  • QB Isaiah Cross, Soph., 6-0, 147
  • RB Kameron Levingston, Sr., 5-8, 175
  • DL/LB Michael Lindley, Sr., 5-11, 210
Just the facts
  • Atlanta and Liberty-Eylau have a very long history of competition against each other as district opponents, but this is the third straight season the two teams are facing each other in non-district play.
  • The Leopards lead Atlanta, 2-1, in years the two school's seniors have been enrolled.
  • Liberty-Eylau edged the Rabbits, 44-43, last season at Harris Field.
  • Atlanta has not won at the Leopards' Harris Field in more than a decade.
  • The Rabbits were off last week and will now play eight straight weeks ahead of the playoffs.
  • Both programs reached the regional championship round of their respective playoffs brackets in 2014 and 2015 -- Liberty-Eylau in 4A Division I and Atlanta in 4A Division II.
  • Both teams have two more non-district contests ahead of beginning district schedules.
  • Liberty-Eylau may be 0-3, but it has played a great schedule featuring Gilmer, Carthage and Texas High.
Atlanta guard Ethan Mauldin and the Rabbits whole offensive line are keys to a Rabbits win Friday. (ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Atlanta's running game versus Liberty-Eylau's defensive front.

The Leopards have performed pretty well offensively, especially against Gilmer and Texas High. They scored 55 and 37 points in those respective games and still lost.

 

Atlanta showed a flash of offense in its win against a smaller Daingerfield program two weeks ago, a 41-6 victory, but Henderson from 4A Division I neutralized the same offense in Week 1 en route to a blowout win.

The Rabbits do have some threatening players on offense, but they don't have the same amount of fire power or experience as Gilmer or Carthage nor the numbers to throw at Liberty-Eylau like Texas High did. An offensive backfield of signal caller Layton Henson and running back Kelton Young is the strong point of the unit.

Liberty-Eylau linebacker DeAndre Hoof should get challenged by Atlanta's running game. (ETSN.fm)

Liberty-Eylau linebackers Michael Lindley and DeAndre Hoof plus Texas defensive end commitment Lagaryonn Carson, all three experienced players, might be answers to slow the Atlanta running game down and force it to throw at an always athletic Leopards secondary. Any wildcard player along the front would be a bonus.

If the Rabbits are forced out of their comfort zone, the odds increase the Leopard's defense can get the job done.

This is a big game for Atlanta's offensive line and potentially for its passing facet.

It's also an important game in the development of the young Leopards' defense if it intends on making a third straight run to the regional championship round of the playoffs.

 

Don't be surprised if: Atlanta's offensive success rate dictates the outcome of Friday's game.

Liberty-Eylau has twice been within a possession of a win, and its own offense is putting together some nice numbers in spite of three somewhat disappointing defensive performances. If Atlanta can't convert a majority of its drives for touchdowns, it is facing an offensive unit that averaged nearly 38 points per game against collectively a stronger schedule.

Atlanta running back Kelton Young. (ETSN.fm)