Mineola Hopes To Keep Best Season In Years Going Against Pilot Point
Class 3A Division I
Region II Semifinals
Mineola Yellowjackets (9-3)
Pilot Point Bearcats (10-2)
2 p.m. Saturday
City Bank Stadium, Forney
- Mineola: Joe Drennon
- Pilot Point: Rob Best
- Mineola: defeated Commerce, 42-14
- Pilot Point: defeated New Boston, 35-13
- Winner plays Pottsboro-Whitesboro winner, Region II championship
- QB Jeremiah Crawford, Soph., 5-10, 155 (48 of 94, 979 yards, 8 TDs, 9 INTs, 146 carries, 1,186 yards, 15 TDs)
- RB Chantz Perkins, Soph., 5-7, 155 (161 carries, 1,371 yards, 14 TDs)
- MLB Juan Vargas, Sr., 5-10, 213 (131 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 INTs, 3 forced fumbles)
- DL Trevor Keener, Sr., 6-4, 260 (121 tackles, 19 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery)
- DE Casey Gilbreath, Sr., 6-0, 185 (77 tackles, 17 for loss, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DB Noah Sneed, Soph., 5-10, 165 (51 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 defensive score, 1 fumble recovery)
- QB Travis Garrett, Sr., 6-1, 180 (16 carries, 118 yards, 3 TDs, 6 of 8, 130 yards, 1 passing TD vs. New Boston)
- WR/S Rylee Hellman, Jr. (4 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD vs. New Boston)
- RB/S DaCoven Bailey, Jr., 6-0, 185 (8 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Regardless of Saturday's outcome, Mineola's senior class will give the school its first winning record since 2011.
- A trip to the regional semifinals marks the Yellowjackets' best season in more than a decade. There's lots of promise the next two years with three sophomores serving as major contributors.
- Pilot Point's senior class also is making its first trip to the regional semifinals in more than a decade.
- New Boston was Pilot Point's victim last round. That would have been shocking to learn in the preseason, but New Boston lost future TCU athlete Jeff Gladney and running back Devontae Wade to injuries prior to the game.
- Mineola sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Crawford is on pace to break 1,000 yards passing in Saturday's game.
- Sophomore Yellowjackets running back Chantz Perkins could hit the 1,500-yard mark with 129 rushing yards Saturday.
- The winner of Saturday's playoff game will take on the winner of the Pottsboro-Whitesboro game. Pilot Point shared a district with both teams. It split with a win against Whiteboro and loss to Pottsboro.
- Mineola and Pilot Point share no common opponents.
- Forney's City Bank Stadium is an 86-mile drive from Mineola and a 69-mile trip for Pilot Point.
- Pilot Point hails from the Texoma region, about 38 miles southwest of Sherman.
Key matchup: Mineola's defense versus Pilot Point's offense. The Bearcats have averaged 39 points per game this season and cede an average on 19.75 points on defense.
The Yellowjackets should have a formidable defense to put up against Pilot Point. The unit has had a lot of success up front and cornerback Noah Sneed, a sophomore, is one of the best in East Texas with six interceptions.
Keeping Pilot Point quarterback Travis Garrett in check would make a big difference in the outcome of Saturday's game. Garrett lit up New Boston for 248 total yards, including three rushing scores and a 79-yard pass for a touchdown to Rylee Hellman. If guys like Casey Gilbreath and Trevor Keener get to Garrett from their defensive line spots, it could be a long day for the Bearcats. The two linemen have a combined 198 tackles, 36 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 12 games.
Senior Mineola linebacker Juan Vargas has put up excellent numbers and will have to play another strong game to keep the Pilot Point running game from yielding decent gains. With a team-best 131 tackles, it seems like a good bet he'll be able to hold down the fort. He's extremely quick and should be able to create pressure when he's sent on a pass rush.
Sneed will be a nice match against a solid Bearcats receiving group. He averages an interception every two games and has a handful of pass breakups to his name.
Don't be surprised if: Mineola's offensive style of play causes headaches for Pilot Point. The Yellowjackets run a standard spread and are pretty balanced in it, but athleticism takes the unit to the next level. Crawford and Perkins should give Pilot Point some scares in the open field. The Bearcats will have to respect the passing game as well. Mineola has caught defenses napping for big yardage through the air after getting opposition to buy into its run-first style.