Mineola Seeks First State Title Against Defending Champs Cameron Yoe
Class 3A Division I
State Championship Game
Cameron Yoe Yoemen (11-4)
Mineola Yellowjackets (12-3)
8 p.m. Thursday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- Cameron Yoe: Rick Rhoades
- Mineola: Joe Drennon
Road to Arlington
- Bi-district: def. Glen Rose, 41-21
- Area: def. Teague, 42-31
- Regional semifinal: def. East Chambers, 54-21
- Regional final: def. Rockdale, 44-25
- State semifinal: def. Edna, 70-34
- Bi-district: def. Pattonville Prairiland, 52-14
- Area: def. Commerce, 42-14
- Regional semifinal: def. Pilot Point, 34-27
- Regional final: def. Pottsboro, 14-7
- State semifinal: def. Shallowater, 42-27
- QB Reid Nickerson, Sr. (179 of 302, 2,879 yards, 39 TDs, 3 INTs, 60 carries, 118 net rushing yards, 7 TDs)
- WR Aaron Sims, Sr., 5-5, 125 (78 catches, 1,240 yards, 18 TDs)
- WR Sicory Smith, Soph. (56 catches, 1,166 yards, 14 TDs)
- RB Traion Smith, Jr., 5-8, 190 (288 carries, 2,127 yards, 29 TDs, 10 catches, 118 yards, 1 TD)
- DL D'Andre Adams, Jr., 5-11, 230 (145 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 fumbles forced, 3 blocked kicks)
- LB Ryan Cullen, Sr. (170 tackles, 6 for loss, .5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble)
- DB Jaylon Bryant, Jr., 5-10, 160 (69 tackles, 2 for loss, 6 INTs)
- DB John Washington, Sr. (104 tackles, 4 INTs)
- QB Jeremiah Crawford, Soph., 5-10, 155 (59 of 122, 1,184 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 227 carries, 1,737 yards, 24 TDs)
- RB Chantz Perkins, Soph., 5-7, 155 (238 carries, 2,075 yards, 22 TDs in 14 games)
- MLB Juan Vargas, Sr., 5-10, 213 (204 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 INTs, 4 fumbles forced)
- DL Trevor Keener, Sr., 6-4, 260 (188 tackles, 25 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 fumble forced)
- DE Casey Gilbreath, Sr., 6-0, 185 (109 tackles, 21 for loss, 24 QB hurries, 6 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries)
- CB Noah Sneed, Soph., 5-10, 165 (78 tackles, 8 INTs, 1 defensive score)
- S Aaron Stanford, Soph., 5-6, 160 (95 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 INT, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovery)
- K Willie Tinajero, Jr. (57 of 58 PATs, 8 of 10 FGs, long of 37 yards)
Just the facts
- The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Southwest or Fox Sports Southwest Plus, depending on the region in Texas.
- Mineola has reached the state championship round for the first time in school history.
- Cameron Yoe is the a two-time defending state champion with playoff wins against Daingerfield, Newton and White Oak in the span.
- Both teams will play the game on five days rest. The Yellowjackets and Yoemen played their state semifinal games last Friday.
- The Yellowjackets' offense looked great last week against Shallowater. Sophomore running back Chantz Perkins recorded 372 yards and three touchdowns. He now has more than 2,000 rushing yards this season and missed a game earlier in the season.
- Mineola quarterback Jeremiah Crawford added another three scores on the ground in the win.
- Cameron Yoe is loaded offensively. It has a 2,800-yard passer, a 2,000-yard running back and two receiver with more than 1,000 yards each.
- Both teams struggled out of the gate.
- Mineola lost its first three games of the season, but it now on a 12-game winning streak.
- Cameron Yoe lost four of its first six games. Two games were to Class 4A teams, one was to state power Refugio of Class 2A and the fourth loss came against Rockdale. The Yoemen avenged the Rockdale loss in the regional final.
- Cameron Yoe has not lost since Oct. 10.
- The Yoemen have three state championship wins. Its first victory came back in 1981 as a Class 3A school prior to straight title wins in 2012 and 2013.
- Mineola will travel 96 miles to Arlington. The trip for Cameron Yoe is 154 miles from its location halfway between Temple and College Station.
Key matchup: Mineola's offense versus Cameron Yoe's defense. The Yellowjackets certainly have performed well throughout the playoffs, but this is a game the offense will have to win on top of an excellent defensive performance.
The Yoemen's offense is extremely prolific in both the passing and running phases, so the best opportunity for Mineola to control the game is to dictate the offensive pace. With running back Chantz Perkins and quarterback Jeremiah Crawford, the Yellowjackets are in great shape.
Mineola's offense is run-dependent, which is a good matchup against Cameron Yoe. With a strong offensive line anchored by twin tackles Austin and Riley Anderson, the Yellowjackets should be able to gain yardage with their key runners. The trick will be converting possessions into touchdowns, but even pinning the Yoemen with bad field position against a strong Mineola defense can be considered a win as long as Cameron Yoe does not take a two-possession lead.
When the Yoemen have the ball, look to the Yellowjackets' defensive front to determine the outcome of the play. Defensive end Casey Gilbreath is a quick player who can mess up offensive timing on pass plays if he gets loose from blockers.
Cornerback Noah Sneed, who is in a three-way tie as East Texas' leader in interceptions with eight, and safety Aaron Stanford headline a rotating cast of defensive backs that will have to play a great game.
Mineola should have a good performance against Cameron Yoe's straightforward running game. Linebacker Juan Vargas and defensive tackle Trevor Keener are first and second on the ETSN.fm tackles leader board and deliver a punishing blow.
Don't be surprised if: Crawford is the Yellowjackets' offensive player of the game. Cameron Yoe must be aware of the damage Perkins did to Shallowater last week from his running back spot. A lot of Mineola's offensive playbook is based out of the zone-read. If the Yoemen take away Perkins, Crawford is going to be heading upfield with the ball.
Other than that, there are no real surprises in state championship games. Mineola will be in good position for its first state championship in school history if it can dictate the offensive pace with long, sustained drives for points.