Spring Hill Panthers (2-2)
vs.
No. 5 Kilgore Bulldogs (3-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore

Coaches
Spring Hill: Bobby Chadwick
Kilgore: Mike Wood

Last week
Spring Hill: def. Bullard Brook Hill, 29-7
Kilgore: def. Mount Pleasant, 38-6

Next week
Spring Hill: vs. Gladewater
Kilgore: at Bullard

Playmakers
Spring Hill

  • QB Ben Hollas, Sr., 6-0, 185 (7 of 18, 124 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs; 79 carries, 656 yards, 6 TDs)
  • FB Trenton Craig, Jr. (47 carries, 227 yards, 3 TDs)
  • FB/LB Spencer Hendricks, Sr. (29 carries, 146 yards; 26 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
  • DL Dallas Green, Sr., 6-0, 190 (34 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DB Jake Ferrill, Jr., 5-10, 165 (16 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 PBUs)
  • LB Lane Nesbett, Sr. (24 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 punt block)
  • OL/DL Morgan Knight, Jr., 6-2, 230 (24 tackles, 2 sacks)

Kilgore

  • TE/MLB A.J. Davis, Sr., 6-0, 220 (2 receiving TDs; 25 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
  • CB Benny Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 175 (13 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 1 PAT block, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DT LaDarrin Anthony, Jr., 5-11, 225 (18 tackles, 4 for loss, 3 sacks)
  • DB Q. Brewster, Jr. (13 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 kick block)
  • OL Clay Wiley, Jr., 6-1, 280
  • QB Cooper Coldiron, Sr., 5-11, 170 (13 of 21, 306 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 2 rush TDs)
  • RB JuJu Brown, Jr. (41 carries, 218 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Austin Jordan, Jr. (29 carries, 261 yards, 1 TD; 1 receiving TD)

Just the facts

  • Kilgore, which averages 34.7 points per game, is tied with Mount Vernon for the No. 3 scoring defense in East Texas allowing 4.3 points per game.
  • Spring Hill scores 21.3 points per game and allows 20.3.
  • Spring Hill picked off Brook Hill three times in last week's 22-point win.
  • Kilgore picked off Mount Pleasant five times in last week's 32-point win.
  • Kilgore hasn't started 3-0 since 2004, when the Bulldogs finished 16-0 and won the Class 4A Division II state championship.
  • Spring Hill is aiming for its first win in a district opener since 2009, when the Panthers beat Chapel Hill 29-28.

Key matchup: Spring Hill's defensive line vs. Kilgore's offensive line. Kilgore's defensive prowess has become well known around East Texas. If there were any doubters left, chances are they can't be found now after the Bulldogs shut down one of the region's best offenses in a 38-6 rout at Mount Pleasant this past Friday. In other words, a one-dimensional Spring Hill offense -- 88.8 percent of the Panthers' 1,331 total yards are rushing yards -- won't be expected to score too much against one of the best defenses in East Texas. That puts the onus Spring Hill's defense, particularly its front, to keep Kilgore from dominating the line of scrimmage and keeping the Panther defense on the field for long stretches. Kilgore prefers to run the ball, and the Bulldogs have run the ball 85.3 percent of their 143 offensive snaps during their first three games. Spring Hill's best chance to hang around for four quarters is to play stellar defense and keep the contest low-scoring.

 

Kilgore FB/DE Cornelius Bell. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Kilgore overwhelms Spring Hill up front, and the difference shows on the scoreboard. Kilgore is rolling right now and has manhandled the first three opponents on its schedule. From a personnel standpoint, the Bulldogs should again have a distinct advantage against Spring Hill. Kilgore has several options in the running game -- JuJu Brown, Austin Jordan, Kevrin Justice, Cornelius Bell, and others -- and have one of the most experienced defenses in Class 3A. The Bulldogs are the embodiment of the old cliche about good teams: they can run the ball and they can stop the run. That's what we expect from Kilgore on Friday and for weeks to come.