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One-Loss Teams Collide Friday When Nacogdoches Hosts Hallsville

Nacogdoches’ L.J. Barnes runs after making a first-half catch during a 44-40 Sept. 20 loss at Carthage. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

Hallsville Bobcats (3-1)

vs.

Nacogdoches Dragons (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches

 

Coaches
  • Hallsville: David Plunk
  • Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes

 

Last week
  • Hallsville: won 56-28 at Lindale
  • Nacogdoches: lost 44-40 at Carthage

 

Next week
  • Hallsville: idle
  • Nacogdoches: vs. Pine Tree

 

Playmakers

Hallsville

  • QB Macailyn Wilder, Sr., 5-9, 155 (41 of 71, 776 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 66 carries, 410 yards, 7 TDs)
  • RB Khalil Sneed, Jr. (45 carries, 275 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR Andre Jones, Sr., 5-10, 165 (11 catches, 220 yards, 2 TDs; 18.5 yards per punt return)
  • DB Ky-untae Hicks, Jr. (2 INTs)
  • K Paden Brown, Sr. (1 FG, 22 PATs)
  • RB Stephon Dunn, Sr., 5-10, 190 (20 carries, 94 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Jamil Young, Jr., 6-0, 180 (41.3 yards per kickoff return, 1 TD)

 

Nacogdoches

  • QB Hunter McClellan, Jr., 6-1, 165 (41 of 77, 688 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT; 25 carries, 152 yards, 2 TDs)
  • C Jacob Bragg, Sr., 6-4, 311 (committed to Kansas)
  • FS Brandon Jones, Soph., 6-0, 185 (31 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 1 def. TD; 43.3 yards per punt return, 1 TD)
  • RB Coronado Tolbert, Jr. (59 carries, 267 yards)
  • WR L.J. Barnes, Sr., 5-11, 165 (15 catches, 253 yards, 5 TDs)
  • MLB Brian Scott, Sr., 6-1, 215 (34 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 recoveries, 1 def. TD)
  • DE Greg Roberts, Sr., 6-5, 200 (committed to Baylor; 8 tackles, 3 forced fumbles)
  • WR Sam Morgan, Jr. (12 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs)
  • LT Malik Gilder, Sr.
  • K Rudy Fuentes, Jr. (2 FGs, 13 PATs)

 

Just the facts
  • Hallsville is 6-1 vs. Nacogdoches since 2004.
  • Hallsville has won three consecutive meetings, including last year’s game, which the Bobcats won 40-12 at home.
  • Nacogdoches’ lone win was 10-6 in 2007.
  • Hallsville senior quarterback Macailyn Wilder averages 296.5 total yards of offense per game.
  • After a 58-28 season-opening loss vs. Whitehouse, Hallsville has averaged 43.0 points per game and a 17.7-point victory margin in three consecutive wins.
  • Nacogdoches senior defensive end Greg Roberts has an East Texas-leading three forced fumbles.
  • Nacogdoches junior tailback Coronado Tolbert gained 138 yards on 27 carries in last week’s 44-40 loss at Class 3A No. 1 Carthage.
  • Carthage stopped Nacogdoches sophomore Brandon Jones inside the 5-yard line on a 21-yard pass play with no time remaining to beat the Dragons.

 

Key matchup: Macailyn Wilder vs. Nacogdoches’ defense. There’s no debating that Wilder has been by far the Bobcats’ most explosive offensive player, as evidenced by back-to-back huge performances during the last two weeks, when he’s accounted for 689 total yards and eight touchdowns.

Senior middle linebacker Brian Scott and the Nacogdoches defense will need to play at a high level to contain Wilder, who has shown the ability to throw as well as he runs. Wilder was a receiver and wildcat quarterback as a junior, but his development as a passer early in 2013 has made him a particularly dangerous playmaker.

The better the Dragons contain Wilder, the more chances Nacogdoches’ own dual-threat quarterback — junior Hunter McClellan — has to make plays. McClellan and classmate Coronado Tolbert had his their best games of the season statistically in the loss at Carthage.

Nacogdoches C Jacob Bragg. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don’t be surprised if: This game goes down to the wire. Both squads possess playmaking quarterbacks and solid junior tailbacks — Nac’s Tolbert and Hallsville’s Khalil Sneed — as well as lead receivers who each average at least 16.9 yards per reception — Nac’s L.J. Barnes and Hallsville’s Andre Jones.

But as with almost all football games, the line play could determine the outcome. Nacogdoches’ burly offensive line, led by Kansas-bound center Jacob Bragg and fellow senior Malik Gilder, leaned on an athletic Carthage defensive front for 220 rushing yards in last week’s contest.

If Nacogdoches can repeat that performance, Hallsville will have a tough time keeping the Dragons off the field and getting Wilder as many snaps as possible.

 

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