Mineola’s Defensive Front Will Be Tested By Callisburg
CLASS 3A DIVISION I REGIONAL
Callisburg Wildcats (10-2)
Mineola Yellowjackets (12-0)
2 p.m. Saturday
Royse City ISD Stadium, Royse City
- Callisburg: Ritchie Pinckard
- Mineola: Joe Drennon
- Callisburg: def. Harmony, 31-8
- Mineola: def. Whitesboro, 21-15
- Winner faces winner between White Oak and Sunnyvale, state quarterfinals
- RB Chase Caldwell, Jr., 5-9, 180 (221 carries, 1,321 yards, 21 TDs)
- RB Blake Berryman, Sr., 5-10, 190 (102 carries, 622 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Reese Richey, Sr., 6-0, 160 (25 catches, 364 yards, 5 TDs)
- QB Morgan Rigsby, Sr., 5-7,150
- QB Parker Huddleston, Jr., 6-3, 175
- 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 (63 of 116, 1,030 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs, 148 carries, 1,908 yards, 25 TDs)
- RB/DB Chantz Perkins, Jr., 5-7, 155 (150 carries, 1551 yards, 23 TDs, 9 catches,, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Noah Sneed, Jr., 5-11, 185 (4 INTs)
- RB/LB/DE Kourtland Sinches, Jr., 5-10, 165 (96 tackles, 19 for loss)
- DE Devon Goguen, Jr., 6-4, 185 (76 tackles, 21 for loss, 7 sacks)
- LB Mike Drennon, Soph. (115 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks)
- DB Cameron Sorenson, Soph., 6-1, 165 (118 tackles)
Just the facts
- Mineola is near the halfway point of a repeat appearance in the Class 3A Division I state championship game.
- The Yellowjackets own the third-best East Texas winning streak -- 12 games. Gilmer and Waskom lead the area with 28 and 27 wins, respectively.
- Mineola enjoyed an undefeated regular season for the first time since 1966.
- Yellowjackets junior quarterback Jeremiah Crawford is one of six East Texas players with more than 1,000 rushing yards in addition to 1,000 passing yards.
- Crawford needs 92 yards Saturday to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing.
- Major college talent will be on display. Mineola senior twin offensive tackles Austin Anderson and Riley Anderson are committed to Texas A&M.
- The Yellowjackets and Callisburg share two common opponents -- Harmony and Whitesboro.
- Mineola beat Harmony, 51-13, on Oct. 16. Callisburg knocked out Harmony last week with a 41-8 victory.
- Callisburg lost to Whitesboro in overtime, 27-20, on Oct. 29. The Yellowjackets bounced Whitesboro last week with a 21-15 win.
- Callisburg finished last in District 5-3A Division I a season ago and, as a healthier team, finished third to close the 2015 district campaign. It is the last team standing from its league, which also featured strong Whitesboro and Pottsboro squads.
- Callisburg will travel 95 miles to Royse City ISD Stadium. Mineola will go 56 miles one-way.
Key matchup: Mineola's defensive front against Callisburg's offensive philosophies.
Callisburg has multiple offensive weapons and therefore presents multiple challenges, but it is a run-oriented team only hoping to catch teams off guard for the occasional pass.
Within the running game, however, Callisburg presents problems with multiple change-of-pace backs complimenting leading rusher Chase Caldwell. It took Cladwell 221 carries to hit 1,321 yards while Mineola's two leading rushers needed 150 carries or less to reach at least 1,500 yards, yet that will work Callisburg's favor as it tries to limit the amount of time Mineola quarterback Jeremiah Crawford and running back Chantz Perkins get with the ball.
It's up to the Yellowjackets' defensive front to interfere with Callisburg's game plan. The unit enters the meeting with 82 tackles for loss among its top five players in the category, and the team as a whole has 30 sacks. While sack opportunities will be limited Saturday, it gives you an idea of the unit's ability to penetrate opposing offensive lines.
This is a big game for junior defensive lineman Devon Goguen, who has 76 tackles and a team-leading 21 tackles for loss. Behind him will be linebackers Kourtland Sinches and Mike Drennon. They're a troubling trio for any offense to deal with before factoring in Austin Anderson or Riley Anderson at defensive tackle for snaps.
The safeties also will play a role in run defense for Mineola. That will create some opportunities for Callisburg to draw man-to-man situations in a handful surprise passing situations, so the cornerbacks will especially have to be alert through the game.
Don't be surprised if: The Yellowjackets offense turns in a better performance than it did a week ago against Whitesboro. Mineola was held to a season-low 21 points and its offensive keys had to watch their defensive partners save the day for a six-point win. That should have served as a wakeup call that there's still a long way to go in the postseason.