District 7-2A Division I

Eustace Bulldogs (3-2, 1-0)

vs.

Malakoff Tigers (5-0, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Tiger Stadium, Malakoff

 

Coach
  • Eustace: Heath Ragle
  • Malakoff: Jamie Driskell

 

Last week
  • Eustace: won 58-15 vs. Kemp
  • Malakoff: won 73-0 at Grand Saline

 

Next week
  • Eustace: vs. Quitman
  • Malakoff: at Lone Oak

 

Playmakers

Eustace

  • FB Jesus Barcenas, Sr. (74 carries, 479 yards, 2 TDs)
  • DT Zach Hughes, Jr., 5-10, 210 (40 tackles)
  • LB Abed Abuhatab, Sr., 5-9, 170 (39 tackles)
  • RB Lance Rogers (41 carries, 276 yards, 4 TDs)
  • ATH Clay Carson, Soph. (23 carries, 229 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Keenan Hargest (36 carries, 281 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB Steven Stine (42 carries, 266 yards, 1 TD)

 

Malakoff

  • RB Damontes Dowell, Sr., 5-9, 170 (3 rushing TDs vs. Grand Saline)
  • RB Marcus Dowell, Jr., 6-1, 190 (1 rushing TD vs. Grand Saline)
  • RB/DB Dariuhn Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 150 (1 rushing TD vs. Grand Saline)
  • ATH Kendrick Hornbuckle (1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD vs. Grand Saline)
  • RB Garrian McCallister (1 rushing TD vs. Grand Saline)
  • ATH Braylon Cable (1 rushing TD vs. Grand Saline)

 

Just the facts
  • Eustace won last year's meeting 30-16.
  • Malakoff's 73 points in last week's shutout of Grand Saline broke a 79-year-old school record for more points in a game, according to the Athens Review.
  • Malakoff had six different ball carriers run for a touchdown in the win against Grand Saline.
  • Malakoff has won all five of its games by at least 32 points.
  • Malakoff averages 59.6 points per game and allows 11.8.
  • Eustace averages 23.0 points per game and allows 15.6.
  • Malakoff forced four turnovers -- two interceptions, two fumbles -- in the blowout of Grand Saline.
  • Eustace's defense has forced 13 turnovers in five games.
  • Eustace averages 348.4 total yards per game -- 328.8 rushing, 19.6 passing.
  • Five Eustace players have rushed for at least 229 yards.

 

Eustace DT Zach Hughes. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: The rushing attacks. Friday's game pits two of the more prolific running games around in a District 7-2A Division I showdown that could ultimately decide the league's champion.

Malakoff and Eustace have shown big play ability and balance in their strong starts, perhaps no better demonstrated than by Malakoff's six ball carriers with at least one rushing touchdown in last week's 73-0 blowout of Grand Saline. The Dowells -- senior Damontes and junior Marcus -- are the home-run hitters for head coach Jamie Driskell.

Eustace has been extremely balanced with five backs who have at least 200 rushing yards. Senior fullback Jesus Barcenas leads the Bulldogs with almost 500 rushing yards, but first-year head coach Heath Ragle has several other options from which to choose that have proven reliable during the first five games of the year.

Malakoff RB Marcus Dowell. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Which rushing attack wins out Friday at Tiger Stadium and pushes its team into the driver's seat of the district championship race?

Don't be surprised if: This year's game is higher-scoring than last year's contest. The combined point total of 46 from last year's 30-16 Eustace win doesn't seem like it will be enough to forecast what could happen this Friday night.

Malakoff suffered a string of key injuries during the middle of the 2012 regular season that cut back on the Tigers' ability to maintain the scoring rate with which they started the season's first three games.

With a healthier roster that has shown no signs of slowing down from its almost 60 points per game average in the first five games of the year, Malakoff has to be considered the favorite. However, Eustace has the kind of offense -- clock-controlling and almost exclusively run -- that could play some keep-away from the Tigers and shorten the game.

Eustace LB Abed Abuhatab. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)