No. 1 Mineola Should Get Toughest Test Yet From White Oak
DISTRICT 8-3A DIVISION I
White Oak Roughnecks (4-1)
No. 1 Mineola Yellowjackets (5-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Meredith Memorial Stadium, Mineola
- White Oak: Kris Iske
- Mineola: Joe Drennon
- White Oak: idle
- Mineola: idle
- White Oak: vs. Sabine, Oct. 16
- Mineola: vs. Harmony, Oct. 16
- WR/LB Swade Smith, Sr., 5-11, 190 (6 catches, 120 yards, 2 TDs; 55 tackles, 13 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
- OL/DL Chris Bloyd, Sr., 5-10, 230
- QB/DB Cade Palmer, Sr., 6-0, 135 (43-85, 525 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs)
- LB Antonio Castiglione, Jr., 5-10, 180 (42 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 PBUs)
- QB/WR Heath Hood, Soph., 5-9, 150 (1 start at QB, 23-29, 337 yards, 4 TDs, 13 catches, 198 yards, 2 TDs, 17 carries, 100 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Dax Davis, Sr. (18 catches, 232 yards, 3 TDs; 9 tackles, 2 INTs, 12 PBUs)
- RB/LB Connor Hearron, 6-0, 185 (69 carries, 377 yards, 6 TDs)
- OL/DL Austin Anderson, Sr., 6-4, 280 (6 tackles for loss, 1 sack; committed to Texas A&M as offensive tackle)
- OL/DL Riley Anderson, Sr., 6-5, 285 (Committed to Texas A&M as offensive lineman)
- QB/DB Jeremiah Crawford, Jr., 5-10, 185 (30-51, 511 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 52 carries, 783 yards, 10 TDs)
- RB/DB Chantz Perkins, Jr., 5-7, 155 (59 carries, 605 yards, 11 TDs, 7 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Noah Sneed, Jr., 5-11, 185 (4 INTs)
- RB/LB Kourtland Sinches, Jr., 5-10, 165 (11 tackles for loss)
- DE Devon Goguen, Jr., 6-4, 185 (12 tackles for loss, 2 sacks)
- LB Michael Drennon, Soph. (8 tackles for loss, 1 sack)
- WR/DB Aaron Stanford, Jr. (1 INT)
Just the facts
- Friday's game is the first District 8-3A Division I competition for both teams.
- Mineola entered the Associated Press' state wide Class 3A poll as the No. 2 team behind defending 3A Division I state champion Cameron Yoe. A Yoe loss in Week 3 pushed the undefeated Yellowjackets to the No. 1 spot.
- Two other East Texas 3A teams are ranked in the top 10. Defending Division II state champion Waskom is No. 6 and Malakoff is No. 9.
- Mineola and White Oak have reached at least the state semifinals between the past two seasons, and Yoe derailed both of them. White Oak reached the fifth round in 2013 and still has a few carryovers while Mineola fell to Yoe in last year's title game.
- The Yellowjackets won last season's head-to-head meeting, 20-17, in White Oak.
- White Oak finished second in the district last season due to the loss. It went on to win out against the remainder of its regular season.
- The Roughnecks have not lost a game against Class 3A competition this year. Its lone loss came on the road two weeks ago at Bullard from Class 4A Division II, 23-20.
- Mineola defeated Wills Point from Class 4A Division I three weeks ago, 35-17.
Key matchup: Mineola's offenses versus White Oak's defense.
The Yellowjackets' offensive strongpoints and objectives are straightforward. It's the Jeremiah Crawford and Chantz Perkins show in Mineola for a second year in a row.
Defending it is another matter.
Crawford, the signal caller, is a zone read and option quarterback operating out of spread formations first and foremost, but his passing numbers are ahead of pace compared to his sophomore season last year. He has 1,294 total yards and 14 touchdowns in just five games -- roughly 500 yards through the air.
If it was just Crawford producing behind the offensive line, defending the Yellowjackets' offense would be favorable for White Oak with its ultimate strength along the defensive front and a good secondary backing it up.
Perkins, arguably East Texas' most athletic running back on the Class 3A level with more than 600 rushing yards of his own as a junior, will force the Roughnecks to play more conservatively. They cannot afford to invest too heavily on defending one player, and that will probably come back to bite them at least once as one of the two key players shake off the first wave of tacklers.
You just can't win every single battle against the duo.
But even before White Oak can worry about the Mineola backfield, they'll have to fight off twin offensive tackles and Texas A&M commitments Austin Anderson and Riley Anderson.
White Oak does have some resources no team Mineola has faced yet posses, however. The Roughnecks' defensive front has put up some very impressive numbers.
Linebackers Swade Smith and Antonio Castiglione have combined for 97 total tackles, including 19 tackles for loss. If head coach Kris Iske and his defensive staff can devise ways to limit direct contact with the Anderson brothers, there will be opportunities for the linebackers to catch Mineola's key athletes in the backfield before the play can really develop.
The Yellowjackets have been very good about avoiding latter down situations this season. They'll probably encounter more than they're used to in this game. From there, White Oak will just have to make more plays and get the ball back to its own high performing offense.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's meeting is another close one between the two schools. Matchup wise, these teams were built to play each other.
Furthermore, the Roughnecks' fan base had mixed emotions during Mineola's run to the state championship game last year after just barely losing last season's meeting, 20-17. There was the thought that, if White Oak had won the game, maybe it could have been the team to make a serious run with a better first round opponent than Redwater. This is the players' chance to show they're a formidable opponent on the state level as well.
None of that is lost on the Roughnecks.