No. 9 Carthage Bulldogs (2-1)
vs.
Nacogdoches Dragons (0-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches

Coaches
Carthage: Scott Surratt
Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes

Last week
Carthage: def. Chapel Hill, 30-6
Nacogdoches: lost to Lufkin, 45-7

Next week
Carthage: vs. Whitehouse
Nacogdoches: at Hallsville

Playmakers
Carthage

  •  WR/DB Tee Goree, Jr., 6-2, 170 (22 catches, 373 yards, 5 TDs; 1 INT return TD)
  • QB Blake Bogenschutz, Jr., 6-0, 182 (43 of 83, 599 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs; 1 rush TD)
  • RB Tevin Pipkin, Jr., 5-10, 170 (51 carries, 380 yards, 4 TDs; 7 catches, 55 yards)
  • DT Isaiah Golden, Sr., 6-2, 315 (19 tackles, 9 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
  • MLB Trent Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 215 (37 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • LT/DE Mario McCain, Jr., 6-0, 240 (16 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)
  • WR Okeeron Rutherford, Jr., 6-5, 180 (5 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD)
  • DT K'Aelin Ware, Sr., 6-0, 230 (18 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries)

Nacogdoches

  • OL Jacob Bragg, Jr., 6-3, 280
  • RB Derrick Fields, Sr., 5-9, 182 (26 carries, 68 yards)
  • QB Patrick Ledet, Sr., 6-0, 180 (12 of 27, 115 yards)
  • QB Hunter McClellan (9 of 15, 123 yards, 1 TD)
  • DE Gregg Roberts, Jr., 6-5, 205 (15 tackles, 5 for loss)
  • WR/DB Michael Dove, Sr., 5-9, 165 (5 catches, 130 yards; 12 tackles)
  • LB Jadarius Ervin (23 tackles, 1 for loss)
  • RB Shawn Smith, Soph., 5-10, 185 (9 carries, 79 yards)

Just the facts

  • Carthage had six turnovers in its season-opening loss to Jacksonville, but haven't had one since
  • Nacogdoches has been outscored 71-21 in its first two games
  • Carthage has outscored its last two opponents 68-27
  • Nacogdoches has beaten Carthage twice since 2008, splitting the past four matchups with the Bulldogs
  • Carthage has forced 13 turnovers in three games, including five during last week's 30-6 win at Chapel Hill
  • Friday's game is the 28th meeting between Carthage and Nacogdoches, which first played in 1956
  • Carthage leads the all-time series 15-12

 

Nacogdoches OL Jacob Bragg. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

 

Carthage DT Isaiah Golden. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Nacogdoches' offensive line vs. Carthage's defensive line. Nacogdoches has had trouble putting points on the board in its first two games, which saw the Dragons face talented defensive lines from Henderson and Lufkin. Players such as Henderson's Bo Brady and Contrell Phillips and Lufkin's Demontrai Lewis and D'vante Botley are similar to the defensive linemen the Dragons will see Friday against Carthage. The Bulldogs feature Texas A&M-bound defensive tackle has been a terror so far this season, averaging three tackles for loss per game. There's also end Mario McCain, one of East Texas' forced fumbles leaders with three, and tackle K'Aelin Ware, who is a key part of a Carthage defense that has amassed a staggering 46 tackles for loss in three games. Nacogdoches counters with a talented duo of junior offensive linemen in Jacob Bragg and Malik Gilder, but they'll have to do a stellar job of run blocking and pass protection if Nacogdoches is to match Carthage's scoring ability.

 

Carthage receiver Tee Goree scores against Lindale on Sept. 7. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Carthage's advantages at the skill positions are too much for Nacogdoches. The Dragons have some quality linemen on both sides of the ball, and while that may be the key matchup, Nacogdoches still might be in trouble if the trench fight is a draw. Carthage has one of the best backfield tandems in East Texas in Blake Bogenschutz and Tevin Pipkin, and Bogenschutz has grown more comfortable with receivers Tee Goree, one of the region's top pass catchers through three games, and Okeeron Rutherford. They stand 6-2 and 6-5, respectively, and give opposing secondaries matchup problems on the perimeter. Nacogdoches must limit Carthage's offensive snaps and in turn limit the big plays when the Bulldogs have the ball. Carthage, on the other hand, cannot fall into a trap a week before a marquee non-district matchup with Whitehouse at Bulldog Stadium. Nacogdoches has beaten Carthage twice since 2008, and both times Carthage wound up winning a state championship, so the Dragons have burned the Dawgs in September before.