CLASS 3A DIVISION I QUARTERFINAL

Sunnyvale Raiders (12-1)

vs.

Mineola Yellowjackets (13-0)

2 p.m. Saturday

Royse City ISD Stadium

Coaches
  • Sunnyvale: John Settle
  • Mineola: Joe Drennon
Last week
Next week
  • Winner faces winner between Brock and Shallowater, state semifinals

Playmakers

Sunnyvale

 

  • QB Caleb McDill, Jr., 6-0, 180 (147 of 200, 2,827 yards, 37 TDs, 5 INTs; questionable for Saturday)
  • QB Patrick Spera, Sr., 6-0, 170 (37 of 57, 663 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs)
  • WR Lawson Ayo, Sr., 6-2, 185 (78 catches, 1,558 yards, 23 TDs)
  • WR Cash Goodhart, Jr., 6-4, 190 (59 catches, 1,201 yards, 18 TDs)
  • RB Jonathan Ennin, Sr., 6-0, 170 (135 carries, 764 carries, 8 TDs)
  • DB Trey Sterling, Jr., 6-0, 180 (192 tackles, 3 for loss, 6 INTs)
  • LB Garrett Ferguson, Sr., 5-10, 185 (187 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)

 

Mineola

 

  • OL/DL Austin Anderson, Sr., 6-4, 280 (Committed to Texas A&M as an offensive lineman)
  • OL/DL Riley Anderson, Sr., 6-5, 285 (Committed to Texas A&M as an offensive lineman)
  • QB/DB Jeremiah Crawford, Jr., 5-10, 185 (68 of 123, 1,087 yards, 14 TDs, 7 INTs, 171 carries, 2,132 yards, 29 TDs)
  • RB/DB Chantz Perkins, Jr., 5-7, 155 (174 carries, 1,713 yards, 24 TDs, 9 catches,, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Noah Sneed, Jr., 5-11, 185 (5 INTs)
  • RB/LB/DE Kourtland Sinches, Jr., 5-10, 165 (99 tackles, 20 for loss)
  • DE Devon Goguen, Jr., 6-4, 185 (78 tackles, 22 for loss, 7 sacks)
  • LB Mike Drennon, Soph. (123 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks)
  • DB Cameron Sorenson, Soph., 6-1, 165 (124 tackles)

 

Just the facts
  • Mineola is hoping to reach the state semifinals for a second consecutive year.
  • Everything in the postseason is new to Sunnyvale, which opened its doors in 2009. It had never won a playoff game prior to this campaign.
  • The Yellowjackets are on a 13-game winning streak and capped their first perfect regular season since 1966 during the streak.
  • Mineola quarterback Jeremiah Crawford is one of six East Texas quarterbacks with more than 1,000 yards both passing and rushing this season. He surpassed the 2,000-rushing yards mark against Callisburg.
  • It's somewhat feasible Yellowjackets running back Chantz Perkins could hit 2,000 rushing yards this season Saturday. He needs 287 yards and once had a 300-yard game in last year's state playoffs. Perkins is averaging a team second-best 131.8 yards per game.
  • The Yellowjackets defense ranks second among still-alive East Texas football teams in tackles for negative yardage. Only Waskom, the defending Class 3A Division II champion, is ahead of Mineola.
  • Mineola's defense gave up its season-worst point total in the season-opener, 24 points to Elysian Fields. Sunnyvale has never scored less than 28 points and averages about 47 points per game.
  • The only team to defeat Sunnyvale in the regular season hailed from East Texas. It was Eustace.
  • Sunnyvale starting quarterback Caleb McDill is questionable for the game with an injury. He did not play last week, but backup Patrick Spera threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score in last week's regional round game against White Oak. All four touchdowns came from 32 or more yards away.
  • Mineola and Sunnyvale share one common opponent, White Oak. The Yellowjackets beat White Oak, 28-13, at Meredith Stadium on Oct. 9. Sunnyvale defeated White Oak last week, 32-15.
  • The Yellowjackets will travel 56 miles to Royse City. Sunnyvale will drive 26 miles one-way.
Led by Dalton Robles (56) and Mike Drennon (11) on this gang tackle, Mineola's defensive front held Callisburg to an average of 3.1 yards per carry last week.

Key matchup: Mineola's total team effort versus Sunnyvale's passing game.

Sunnyvale's capability through the air was the end of White Oak -- the Yellowjackets District 8-3A Division II rival -- despite starting quarterback Caleb McDill's unavailability. Mineola's opposition has generated 57 percent of its 6,094 total yards via the pass.

Sunnyvale has good matchups at the outside receiver positions. Both of its 1,000-yard receivers are above six feet tall. The Yellowjackets' cornerbacks are considerably shorter and will be at a disadvantage in one-on-one battles. And if the safeties ultimately have to help the cornerbacks, that opens up room for other receivers to make plays.

Furthermore, Sunnyvale will be enticed to pass because of the damage Mineola's defensive front has inflicted on its 13 victims to date.

The Yellowjackets' front is one answer in an effort to force Sunnyvale to face it directly with runs. Mineola has recorded 20 sacks as a team and more than 90 other tackles for loss, indicating good penetration against all opposing offensive lines.

Mineola defensive back Noah Sneed (6) comes up with an interception in the Yellowjackets' Class 3A Division I state championship game loss last season to Cameron Yoe. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

If the Yellowjackets can pressure Sunnyvale's quarterback consistently, the odds decrease significantly that Sunnyvale's height advantage will come into play down the field.

Don't discount Mineola's secondary though, as Sunnyvale will inevitably get some good throws down the field. Cornerback Noah Sneed moved to five interceptions on the season with one last week against Callisburg. The team has nine picks in total.

But the blanket answer for the Yellowjackets against Sunnyvale's passing game is simply to have a strong day running the football with quarterback Jeremiah Crawford and running back Chantz Perkins. They have been combining for roughly 300 yards per playoff game and really take a toll on the clock while converting drives for touchdowns more than half the time.

The less opportunities Sunnyvale has with the ball Saturday, the better Mineola's overall chance of winning the regional title and advancing to the semifinals get.

Don't be surprised if: Frankie Meason makes a notable impact for Mineola as a receiver. The Yellowjackets are far less two-dimensional than Sunnyvale because quarterback Jeremiah Crawford and running back Chantz Perkins have delivered on the ground all season. But Crawford has a solid arm and Sunnyvale will obviously be devoting a lot of defensive resources toward defending the run. Meason enters the game with 450 yards, 41 percent for Crawford's passing yards, and six touchdowns.

Yellowjackets quarterback Jeremiah Crawford has more than 2,000 yards rushing and an additional 1,000 yards through the air. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)