Ninth-Ranked Tatum Begins New Season At Arp
No. 9 Tatum Eagles
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bill Herrington Tiger Stadium, Arp
- Tatum: Andy Evans
- Arp: Dale Irwin
- Tatum def. Arp, 41-21
- Tatum: vs. Winnsboro, Sept. 6
- Arp: at Paul Pewitt, Sept. 6
- LB Kyshaun Smith, Jr., 6-1, 175
- WR Deyanta Roberson, Jr., 6-1, 175
- DT Keaton Blanton, Sr., 6-3, 310
- LB Devon Boyd, Jr., 5-10, 175
- ATH Klifton Willis, Sr., 5-11, 180
- RB/DB Jaylen Shans, Sr., 5-10, 170
- OL/DL Tyrone Hunt, Jr., 6-4, 219
- RB Marcalas Johnson, Jr., 5-10, 180
- LB Kalik Hines, Jr., 5-10, 222
- QB Chase Bonner, Sr.
- LB John Hawkins, Sr.
- LB Gabe Reynolds, Sr.
Just the facts
- This is the sixth meeting between Tatum and Arp since 2006 with the Eagles having three of the five matchups.
- Tatum will be seeking its 12 consecutive playoff appearance this season. Since 2002, the Eagles are 113-31.
- The Eagles have won 13 of their last 15 season openers. Their only season-opening losses occurred in 2008 and 2009, both to Hallsville.
- Tatum averaged 32.5 points per game in 2012, while its defense surrendered an average of 21.2.
- Arp has been one of the most consistent 2A programs in East Texas over the last decade. Since 2000, the Tigers are 113-44.
- The Tigers averaged 40.7 points per game a season ago. Their defense held opponents to 18.9.
- The combined record of the three teams that defeated Arp in 2012 -- Tatum, Troup and Elysian Fields -- was 29-9.
- Arp averaged 303.8 rushing yards per season last year. Three backs -- Johnson, Mikechell Potts and Michael Roberson -- combined for 3,054 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Key matchup: Arp running game vs. Tatum run defense. After posting more than 300 rushing yards per game in 2012, the Tigers would like nothing more than to dictate tempo once again with their running game in 2013. Bonner may be asked to do a little more at quarterback this season after three ball carriers rushed for at least 900 yards a year ago, but Arp's bread and butter is still its rushing attack. Johnson led the team in rushing a season with ago with 1,111 yards and 15 touchdowns, and his workload is likely to increased after the graduation of Potts and Roberson. If Arp can dictate the pace with a strong rushing attack, the Tigers stand a better chance of exploiting cheating defenses with big plays over the top.
Tatum counters with a strong defensive line, led by the 310-pound defensive tackle Blanton. Much like Darius Whiting from last year, Blanton will be counted upon to stuff the run up the middle and divert plays to the edge where Tatum's speedy linebackers hold a big advantage. Arp would love to take its chances by running into the middle of the defense rather than attempting to go wide, which plays right into the hands of the Eagles' defense. If Tatum can force Arp wide, it could be a long night for the Arp offense.
Don't be surprised if: There are few mistakes made by both offenses early as both units have several new faces on the field. But don't expect the rustiness to last long; both teams have long histories of re-loading year-to-year. If speed is what you're looking for, there will be plenty of it on the field Friday night in Arp. Like in most season openers, the team that is able to adapt and cut down on the mistakes the fastest stands a better chance of coming out on top. Tatum won last season's game by three touchdowns, but this one could easily be decided in the fourth quarter, especially if Arp is able to have success on the ground.