Nacogdoches Looks to Make Statement When Dragons Host No. 3 Whitehouse
No. 3 Whitehouse Wildcats (7-0, 2-0)
Nacogdoches Dragons (6-1, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Whitehouse: Adam Cook
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Whitehouse: at Corsicana
- Nacogdoches: at John Tyler
- QB Patrick Mahomes, Sr., 6-3, 200 (committed to Texas Tech; 162 of 265, 2,652 yards, 31 TDs, 3 INTs; 69 carries, 405 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR Jake Parker, Sr., 6-0, 160 (41 catches, 806 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR Coleman Patterson, Sr., 6-0, 165 (38 catches, 696 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Jaylon Dews, Sr., 6-0, 160 (33 catches, 424 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Ryan Cheatham, Sr., 6-2, 185 (27 catches, 337 yards, 4 TDs)
- LB Reggie Long, Sr., 6-0, 220 (70 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble)
- CB Nate Brooks, Jr., 5-11, 150 (33 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 4 pass break-ups, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- RB Shemar Smith, Soph., 5-8, 155 (33 carries, 265 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB/LB Dominique Hollie, Jr., 6-0, 210 (35 carries, 277 yards, 5 TDs; 21 tackles, 1 for loss)
- CB Isaiah Burton, Sr., 5-8, 160 (30 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 INTs, 8 pass break-ups, 1 fumble recovery)
- OL Jacob Bragg, Sr., 6-4, 311 (committed to Kansas)
- DE Greg Roberts, Sr., 6-5, 200 (committed to Baylor; 17 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 8 QB pressures, 1 pass break-up, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- QB Bryce Matthews, Jr. (29 of 44, 379 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs; 53 carries, 277 yards, 5 TDs)
- DB Brandon Jones, Soph., 6-0, 185 (56 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 4 pass break-ups, 1 def. TD)
- RB Coronado Tolbert (131 carries, 624 yards, 1 TD)
- WR L.J. Barnes, Sr., 5-11, 165 (26 catches, 418 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR Sam Morgan, Jr., 5-11, 165 (30 catches, 334 yards, 7 TDs)
- ATH Jacorey Whitaker (45 tackles, 12 for loss, 7 sacks, 11 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- LB Brian Scott, Sr., 6-1, 215 (77 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 5 pass break-ups, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 def. TD)
- DB Jamar Woodard, Sr., 5-9, 160 (33 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 pass break-ups, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked kick)
Just the facts
- Whitehouse leads the all-time series with Nacogdoches, 7-4. The Wildcats have won the last four meetings.
- Both Whitehouse and Nacogdoches were two of the most unsuccessful East Texas programs in the previous two decades. From 1990-2005, Whitehouse was 55-107 with one playoff appearance, while Nacogdoches was 56-106-1 and one playoff appearance.
- Whitehouse is averaging 59.4 points and 611.4 yards per game.
- The Wildcats have 14 different players with at least one reception and nine with at least one touchdown catch.
- With a win Friday, Whitehouse would be 8-0 for just the second time in school history, equaling last season’s start.
- The combined record of Whitehouse’s seven opponents — Hallsville, Chapel Hill, Sulphur Springs, Marshall, Carthage, Lindale and Jacksonville — is 25-26.
- Nacogdoches is averaging 35.6 points and 389.1 yards per game. The Dragons average 190.1 rushing and 199 passing,
- The Dragons have run 439 offensive plays from scrimmage and average 6.2 yards per snap.
- Nacogdoches is plus-12 in the turnover margin, having only turned the ball over times on the season.
- The combined record of Nacogdoches’ seven opponents — Henderson, Lufkin, Carthage, Hallsville, Pine Tree, Jacksonville and Corsicana — is 20-29.
Key matchup: Whitehouse offensive line vs. Nacogdoches defensive line. No team has been able to slow down Whitehouse’s offensive juggernaut that enters Friday’s game having scored at least 42 points in all seven games this season. The catalyst for the explosive unit is senior quarterback and Texas Tech commit Patrick Mahomes, who’s averaging 378.8 passing yards per game. The Whitehouse offense is set up to allow for just about everything an opposing defense has to offer. If the defense wants to bring extra defenders to rush the passer, Mahomes is adept and finding the open man and getting rid of the ball in a hurry. If corners play press-coverage on Whitehouse’s receivers, Mahomes can usually rely on at least of them to beat their man for a big gain downfield. If the pass rush flushes Mahomes out of the pocket, there’s not a better quarterback in the area at making plays on the run or extending plays long enough for receivers to break free.
However, if Nacogdoches can create pressure by using minimal defenders, success could be found. Back on Sept. 5, Chapel Hill was able to apply a steady pass rush with just four down-lineman, which limited Whitehouse’s effectiveness on offense and almost led to a big-time comeback win.
One of the strengths of Nacogdoches’ defense is its pass rush, which has accounted for 16 sacks and 29 quarterback pressures on the season. Defensive ends Greg Roberts (Baylor commit) and Jacorey Whitaker have made life rough on opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Both will need to have big games again on Friday in order to help the Dragons stay in the game. Nacogdoches’ offense, while very good, is not as explosive as Whitehouse, so keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone as much as possible will be especially important for the Dragons. Getting a heavy pass rush on Mahomes would only help in that endeavor.
Don’t be surprised if: Whitehouse, which averages 42 passing attempts per game, puts it in the air even more Friday night. Starting running back Vincent Dunning was injured in last week’s game and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Dominique Hollie and Shemar Smith are capable backs, but neither has carried the ball more than nine times in a game all season.
Expect more designed runs from Mahomes, who has turned in back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances, to help pick up the slack left by Dunning. Whitehouse enters the game as a clear favorite, but if the game is close late and the Wildcats need to turn to their ground game to eat clock, it will be interesting to see who Whitehouse turns to in crunch time. Smith had a career-high 132 yards and two touchdowns last week, while the bigger Hollie has been called upon in short-yardage situations all season.