No. 9 Texas High Hosts Kilgore in Final Tuneup Before District
Kilgore Bulldogs (1-2)
No. 9 Texas High Tigers (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Texarkana
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Kilgore: vs. Palestine, Sept. 23
- Texas High: at Marshall, Sept. 23
- QB Buddy Jackson, Jr., 5-9, 155 (18 of 29, 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 32 carries, 235 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jonathan Shepherd, Jr., 6-3, 180 (3 catches, 21 yards)
- RB Melek Hamilton, Sr., 5-5, 160 (49 carries, 412 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Cole Wood, Sr., 6-2, 170 (12 catches, 127 yards)
- OL Dylan Scarlett, Sr., 6-2, 285
- LB Jamal Nobles, Sr., 5-9, 196 (32 tackles, 2 QB pressures, 1 blocked kick)
- DE Demorrea Richardson, Jr. (18 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery)
- DT Kevin Tinney, Sr., 5-11, 230 (12 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 QB pressures)
- QB Cade Pearson, Sr., 6-2, 200 (57 of 85, 902 yards, 9 TDs, 0 INTs; 11 carries, 43 yards; committed to North Texas)
- WR Quan Hampton, Sr., 5-9, 165 (23 catches, 413 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Devuntay Walker, Sr., 6-0, 180 (26 carries, 119 yards, 2 TDs; 7 catches, 92 yards)
- RB Markese Martin, Sr., 6-0, 216 (27 carries, 120 yards, 4 TDs; 5 catches, 145 yards, 1 TD)
- WE Tevailance Hunt, Jr., 6-1, 175 (12 catches, 217 yards, 4 TDs)
- DB Eric Sutton, Sr., 5-8, 155
- OL Kam Arnold, Sr., 6-4, 300
- OL Dylan Raley, Sr., 6-3, 285
Just the facts
- This is the 18th meeting between Kilgore and Texas High since 1947. Texas High holds a series lead of 13-3-1 during that span.
- Kilgore's 21-17 win last season broke a string of six consecutive Texas High wins in the series.
- The Bulldogs' victory last week helped Kilgore avoid its first 0-3 start since 1995.
- Kilgore is averaging 31.3 points and 347.7 yards per game -- 264.3 rushing and 83.4 passing.
- Since taking over as head coach in 2010, Kilgore's Mike Wood is 13-12 in non-district games.
- Texas High is 3-0 for the first time since 2008.
- The Tigers are averaging 43 points and 463.3 yards per game -- 139.3 rushing and 324 passing.
- Texas High last started 4-0 back in 2006.
Key matchup: Texas High passing attack vs. Kilgore secondary. It's been a while since the Texas High offense has been able to rely on its passing game the way it has so far in 2016. Quarterback Cade Pearson, a North Texas commit in his third year as the starter, has gotten off to an excellent start to his senior season. Pearson is on pace to throw for a career-best 3,006 yards and 30 touchdowns through the regular season, which is one of the main reasons why the Tigers enter Friday's game a perfect 3-0. Texas High has a few key playmakers in the passing game Pearson has been counted on, including the receiver duo of senior Quan Hampton and junior Tevailance Hunt, who have teamed for 70 percent of the team's receiving yardage and seven of Pearson's nine touchdown tosses. Texas High also does a nice job of incorporating the running backs in the passing game, as Devuntay Walker and Markese Martin have totaled 12 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown.
While Texas High does still average a little less than 140 rushing yards per game, the Tigers have done most of their damage through the air thus far, so Kilgore's defensive backs will need to be on full alert. Following a subpar performance in a 48-21 season-opening loss at Nacogdoches, the Kilgore pass defense has stepped it up in games against Gladewater and Pine Tree. However, the Bulldogs have not yet faced a team as dangerous as Texas High in the passing game to this point. Kilgore's top defender in the secondary is senior safety Mateo Meraz, who had a team-best five interceptions a season ago. He comes into Friday's game with 17 tackles, but no passes defended in three games. Senior A.J. Henson is responsible for Kilgore's only interception of the season.
Don't be surprised if: Texas High tries to establishing its running game early. Kilgore has had its struggles against the run in the early going, allowing a little more than six yards per rush thus far. With the Bulldogs likely playing coverage at the outset, Texas High may attempt to get into an offensive rhythm by using its backfield combination of Walker and Martin, neither of whom have eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a game this season. As noted earlier, Texas High has burned opposing defenses with regularity through the air, but a strong running game would only aid to strengthen what has already established itself as a major team strength.