No. 9 Malakoff Faces Tough Test From Undefeated Palestine Westwood
DISTRICT 11-3A DIVISION I
Palestine Westwood Panthers (5-0)
No. 9 Malakoff Tigers (5-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Malakoff
- Palestine Westwood: Kevin Hayes
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Palestine Westwood: defeated Anderson-Shiro, 49-13
- Malakoff: idle
- Palestine Westwood: vs. Teague, Oct. 16
- Malakoff: vs. Elkhart, Oct. 16
- WR/DB Devon Lomax, Sr., 6-2, 205
- ATH D.J. Hicks, Sr., 5-8, 160
- RB Kaigan Baker, Sr., 5-7, 180
- RB Steven Green, Sr., 5-6, 155
- OL Freedom Thompson, Sr.
- OL Logan Rogers, Sr., 5-10, 220
- DL Danny Burns, Jr.
- TE Malik Benson, Sr., 6-0, 275
- ATH Red Warren, Jr.
- RB Q.T. Barker, Jr., 5-11, 160
- WR Tyler Russell, Jr., 6-2, 170
- LB Dylan Grim, Sr., 5-9, 175
- OL Colton Barker, Sr., 5-11, 285
- DB A.J. Cook, Jr., 6-0, 190
- QB Judd Miller, Soph., 5-10, 180
- OL Chase Busch, Jr., 5-10, 200
- DB Dustin Miller, Sr.
Just the facts
- Friday's game is the first District 11-3A Division I game for both Malakoff and Palestine Westwood.
- Westwood rolled over Anderson-Shiro in its final non-district game last week. The Tigers will enter the meeting on 13 days' rest.
- Like this year, both teams were perfect through non-district play last season. Malakoff defeated Westwood, 47-28, on the way to starting the year 7-0.
- Both teams reached the postseason and fell in the bi-district round.
- ETSN.fm projected Malakoff to finish the season behind Teague for the district championship in the league's preseason preview. Westwood was predicted to finish third.
- The Tigers have earned a lot of midseason respect. The latest Associated Press' overall Class 3A ranks Malakoff ninth in the state. The team trails Mineola (No. 1) and Waskom (No. 6) within the region.
- Westwood and Malakoff outscored their five respective non-district opponents by nearly 100 total points each -- the best margins within their district.
- The Panthers have defeated opponents by a combined score of 223-127. Malakoff preformed even better, 290-111.
- Neither school faced a common opponent in non-district competition.
- Westwood is 12-4 under second-year head coach Kevin Hayes.
Key matchup: Malakoff offense versus Palestine Westwood's defense.
Each positional matchup is important, but with each side holding 10 or more returning starters from strong teams a year ago, we'll dive into last season's game. The Tigers' 47-28 victory.
Westwood will simply have to do a better job defending Malakoff's spread attack -- which has six starters back from last year's game. It might be a little easier this go around. The pass set up bruising running back Marcus Dowell, who has since graduated after earning the District 11-3A Division I Offensive Most Valuable Player honor.
But Q.T. Barker -- who is also a Malakoff basketball standout -- is no slouch. He's more of a finesse runner than Dowell was, but he adds another dynamic in the passing game for quarterback Judd Miller.
No team has gotten closer than 16 points against the Tigers. An athletic Daingerfield squad fell to Malakoff, 44-28, in Week 2.
The Panthers counter with a defensive unit that has not allowed more than 34 points in a game and has averaged 25.4 points against per night. They have enjoyed seven defensive starters back from last year's breakthrough team.
Westwood's line and secondary are particular strengths. Safety Devon Lomax, a two-way starter, recorded two interceptions last week against Anderson-Shiro and linebacker Noland Lombrarez recorded a pick of his own.
Don't be surprised if: Turnovers have a say in the game. Westwood is an opportunistic defense, especially up top, and Malakoff has big play capabilities in the passing game. The magic number of defensive stops in this game probably hovers around five for Westwood against an offense averaging 58 points per game.