Hughes Springs Mustangs (1-1)
Vs.
No. 8 Waskom Wildcats (1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Wildcat Stadium, Waskom

Coaches
  • Hughes Springs: Chris Edwards
  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling

 

Last week
  • Hughes Springs: lost to Arp, 16-14
  • Waskom: def. Paul Pewitt, 63-12

 

Next week
  • Hughes Springs: at Jefferson, Sept. 19
  • Waskom: Open date

 

Playmakers

Hughes Springs

  • RB/DB Fred Hopkins, Sr.
  • TE/LB Hunter Smith, Sr., 6-1, 215
  • OL/DL Paul Calderon, Sr.
  • LB Corky Westmoreland, Sr.
  • OL Asa Gaul, Sr.
  • DB Malik Chism, Jr.
  • LB Austin Watkins, Jr.
  • RB Gabe Dubose, Soph.
Waskom
  • RB/DB Kevin Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 160
  • RB June Bug Johnson, Sr., 5-7, 135 
  • QB Trace Carter, Sr., 6-3, 175 
  • FB Dillon Benton, Sr., 5-10, 170 
  • LB Mike Reason, Jr., 5-9, 170
  • DB Eric Stephens, Jr., 5-6, 140
  • LB Chan Amie, Jr., 5-11, 160
  • OL Kyle Adams, Sr., 6-4, 285
  • OL John Lumpkin, Sr., 6-0, 205
  • DB Keilon Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 140
Just the facts
  • The two teams have met 10 times since 1990. Hughes Springs leads the series 9-1, but Waskom won last year's district meeting 56-38.
  • This is the first non-district game between the two opponents.
  • UIL realignment put Hughes Springs in District 7-3A Division II and Waskom into District 8-3A Division II. The two teams could theoretically meet in the first round of the state playoffs.
  • Waskom is led by a four horsemen consortium. Quarterback Trace Carter, running backs Kevin Johnson and June Bug Johnson and fullback Dillon Benton each rushed for more than 1,000 yards during the Wildcats' run to a 2A Division II state semifinal appearance last season.
  • Hughes Springs runs a Slot-T offensive formation, so expect Friday's game to be extremely run heavy.
  • Despite crushing Paul Pewitt last week, Waskom moved from No. 7 in the Associated Press' Class 3A poll to No. 8.

 

Hughes Springs defensive lineman Paul Calderon will have to work quick to plug up holes against Waskom's proven offensive line. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Run offense versus run defense. Both teams have strengths in the running game, and their offensive schemes promote the run. Waskom and Hughes Springs' defenses have their work cut out for them.

The Mustangs have a good defensive front with senior Paul Calderon on the defensive line and linebacker Corkey Westmoreland up in support. The two players combined for 11 tackles for loss, six sacks and four quarterback hurries last season. Hughes Springs also has proven running backs if Waskom wants to get cute and surprise them with the pass.

Waskom linebacker Mike Reason could have a huge say in the game. He recorded 191 tackles in 15 games last seasin. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

The Wildcats' biggest defensive strength is its linebacking corps. Senior Mike Reason is as solid as they come. He had 191 tackles last year and took serious work away from the secondary. With numbers like that, it's obvious opposing offenses aren't breaking past Reason and the linebackers easily.

Blocking will play a huge roll in this game, especially for Hughes Springs. Waskom has the pure speed advantage.

Don't be surprised if: A forced fumble defines the game. Both teams will burn the clock with their running games. Each possession must be treasured because half a quarter could easily go by while playing defense. A turnover in this game could be a very bad thing. Two turnovers by one offense could have the outcome prematurely decided.

Hughes Springs' Fred Hopkins is an extremely valuable player. He's a solid running back and leads the Mustangs' back end as a defensive back. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)