Ninth-Ranked Gladewater Hosts Tatum In Pivotal District 6-4A Division II Opener
DISTRICT 6-4A DIVISION II
Tatum Eagles (2-3)
No. 9 Gladewater Bears (4-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium, Gladewater
- Tatum: Andy Evans
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Tatum: lost to Hardin-Jefferson, 21-14
- Gladewater: idle
- Tatum: vs. Center, Oct. 17
- Gladewater: at Atlanta, Oct. 17
- LB Kyshaun Smith, Sr., 6-1, 180 (62 tackles, 2 for loss)
- RB/LB Devon Boyd, Sr., 5-10, 180 (25 carries, 177 yards, TD; 6 catches, 71 yards, TD; 37 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, PBU)
- ATH Chaston Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 190 (17 of 31, 237 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs; 18 carries, 129 yards, 2 TDs; 33 tackles, INT, PBU)
- WR Deyanta Roberson, Sr., 6-2, 190 (17 catches, 244 yards, 5 TDs)
- QB J.D. Taylor, Jr., 6-2, 180 (35 of 65, 509 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs; 47 carries, 235 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Denarius Earl, Jr., 5-6, 150 (13 carries, 98 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 87 yards)
- DB Jordan Nelson, Sr., 6-0, 170 (40 tackles, 1 for loss, INT, 3 PBU)
- WR Martin Williams, Sr., 6-3, 190 (12 catches, 198 yards)
- DT Daylon Mack, Sr., 6-1, 330 (committed to Texas A&M)
- DE Quanterius Turner, Jr., 6-2, 280
- RB James Reese, Sr., 5-9, 175
- FB Justice Centers, Jr., 5-11, 220
- DB Daylon "Duke" Gordon, Sr., 5-10, 155
- RB/DB Marcello Jackson, Jr., 6-0, 177
- RB Darnell McKnight, Soph., 5-11, 195
- WR Caleb Williams, Jr, 5-11, 160
Just the facts
- This is the 18th meeting between Tatum and Gladewater since World War II. Tatum leads the series, 9-7-1, having won the last four encounters.
- The last time Tatum and Gladewater shared a district was in 2009, which was also the last time the Eagles and Bears played one another.
- Tatum is averaging 33.6 points and 351 yards per game -- 201.8 rushing and 149.2 passing.
- The combined record of Tatum's five previous opponents is 15-10.
- Tatum is 45-7 in district games under head coach Andy Evans.
- Gladewater is averaging 38.8 points per game, while allowing 22.6.
- The combined record of Gladewater's five previous opponents is 8-17.
- Gladewater has equaled last season's regular-season win total.
Key matchup: Tatum offensive line vs. Gladewater defensive line. The key behind any productive offense is a strong offensive line, and that's the case with Tatum, whose O-line will receive a stern test from Gladewater's front line when the two get together for Friday's District 6-4A Division II opener. So far this season, Tatum's offense has put up solid numbers, averaging more than 30 points and 350 yards per game, and the Eagles' men up front have been a big reason for that success. Tatum uses a variety of skill-position players on offense, and all of them have had big games at one point or another during the early part of the season. The Eagles have gotten solid quarterback play from both junior J.D. Taylor and senior Chaston Brooks, as well as solid contributions from a bevy of ball carriers, which include Devon Boyd, Denarius Earl and Josh Ivy. On the year, 12 different Tatum players have at least one rushing attempt and nine have caught at least one pass. In addition, six players have rushed for touchdowns and another three have caught touchdown passes. But no matter who is doing the damage for Tatum on offense, the Eagles' O-line has been responsible for paving the way.
The first name that comes to mind when the subject of Gladewater football is brought up these days is Daylon Mack. And why not? The 6-1, 330-pound defensive tackle, ranked as one of the very best recruits in the nation, has committed to Texas A&M and has been wreaking havoc in opposing backfields for the last three seasons. Even though Mack is rarely confronted by just one offensive lineman, it's becoming harder and harder to double-team the disruptive force in the middle of Gladewater's D-line. That's because junior defensive end Quanterius Turner has proven to be quite the sidekick for Mack along the Bears' defensive front. It would be hard to find a better defensive-line combo in all of East Texas than the one in Gladewater, and it will be at the forefront of the Bears' game against Tatum on Friday night. If Tatum allows Gladewater's dynamic D-line duo to get consistent penetration in the backfield, the Eagles may find some tough sledding on the offensive side of the ball. In order for Tatum to have success Friday night, it must do whatever it can to slow down what figures to be the Eagles' offense's biggest challenge of the season thus far.
Don't be surprised if: Tatum runs away from Gladewater's strength on defense. Expect most of Tatum's plays to go wide, whether they be running plays designed to go to the edge, or passing plays in the flat. While the Eagles take pride in their offensive line, Tatum would be playing with fire by trying to attack the Bears' best two players. It would not be surprising to see the running backs get involved in the passing game as well on screen passes. One of the ways offenses have success against overpowering defensive fronts is by taking advantage of their aggressiveness. Having the O-linemen release their blocks, allowing Gladewater's rushers to run past the play, could pay big dividends for Tatum. The Tatum receivers could have a big night as well. The Eagles' top two targets -- Deyanta Roberson and Martin Williams -- are both well over six-feet tall and present challenges to smaller defensive backs. If quarterback J.D. Taylor has enough time to operate in the pocket, and the receivers are able to get open quickly, Tatum's offense could be in good shape.