DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I

Palestine Wildcats (5-3, 2-2)

vs.

Carthage Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

Coaches

  • Palestine: Robby Clark
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt
Last week
  • Palestine: def. Chapel Hill, 34-9
  • Carthage: def. Bullard, 28-12

Next week
  • Palestine: vs. Henderson, Nov. 4
  • Carthage: at Chapel Hill, Nov. 4
Playmakers

Palestine

  • QB Claude Rodgers, Sr., 5-11, 185 (56 of 128, 1,063 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs; 86 carries, 205 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB Irric Deyon, Sr., 5-7, 160 (152 carries, 919 yards, 8 TDs; 7 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR/CB J’hamonte Milton, Sr., 6-1, 170 (17 catches, 395 yards, 4 TDs; 27 tackles, 2 INTs, 10 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
  • OL Jake Neal, Sr., 6-4, 270
  • LB Edward Reese, Sr., 6-0, 205 (75 tackles, 19 for loss, 2 sacks)
  • LB Quinn Tinley, Sr., 6-2, 185 (57 tackles, 8 for loss, 5 INTs, 6 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)
  • DL Jakobe Pursley, Jr. (42 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
  • DB Josh Williams, Soph. (91 tackles, 19 for loss, 1 INT 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)

Carthage

  • RB Keaontay Ingram, Jr., 5-11, 198 (137 carries, 1,003 yards, 12 TDs; 21 catches, 250 yards, 2 TDs)
  • QB Kason Davis, Sr., 6-2, 180 (112 of 199, 1,717 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs)
  • WR Dee Bowens, Jr., 5-7, 140 (34 catches, 566 yards, 9 TDs)
  • WR Dewaylon Ingram, Jr., 6-0, 160 (30 catches, 458 yards, 5 TDs)
  • LB Mykel Gates, Jr., 6-0, 215
  • CB Nic Moore, Sr., 5-11, 150
  • CB Mekhi Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 180
  • DE Tre Gatlin, Sr., 6-6, 250
Just the facts
  • Without getting into all the complexities of the District 9-4A Division I race for the league's four playoff spots, Palestine will miss the postseason if it loses to Carthage on Friday.
  • Carthage can survive a loss to Palestine if and only if it beats Chapel Hill on the road next week and if Henderson beats Center on Friday.
  • Henderson is favored to beat Center.
  • Palestine and Carthage share three common district opponents -- Center, Kilgore and Bullard.
  • Carthage defeated Center and Bullard of the common pool.
  • Palestine only beat Bullard.
  • The Wildcats will travel 86 miles to Carthage's Bulldog Stadium.
Palestine defensive back Jhamonte Milton is one of four Wildcats with at least two interceptions this season. He has five. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Carthage's balanced offense versus Palestine's opportunistic defense.

The Wildcats average 28 points per game and have not strayed very far from that number often. You get what you get from the Palestine offense -- between three and five scoring drives per game.

Carthage's offense has averaged 34.8 points per game, so you're talking about a one-touchdown difference between the two teams.

How does Palestine swing the deficit? Takeaways.

The Wildcats' defense has forced 20 turnovers on 14 interceptions and six fumble recoveries this season. They've had an opportunity for four more fumble recoveries, but they're still averaging 2.5 takeaways per game.

Carthage could play into Palestine's strong suit on defense, interceptions, because 60 percent of its yards have been generated through the air. But the Bulldogs are as balanced as it gets with 211 runs this season to 204 passing attempts and won't be out of their element if they elect to play away from the Wildcats' pass defense.

Carthage quarterback Kason Davis has thrown 21 touchdowns to six interceptions this season. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Running back Keontay Ingram could be a huge asset in this game for Carthage. He's a 1,000-yard rusher already and just limits the damage the four players with at least two interceptions on Palestine's team can do.

But Palestine has had success defending the run in spite of its turnover success coming mostly on interceptions. The defense has combined for 86 tackles for negative yardage this year. Linebacker Edward Reese and defensive back Josh Williams both have 19 tackles for loss.

Bottom line, Carthage's offense has to bring its A-game. This isn't the past two years' Palestine team.

 

Don't be surprised if: Turnovers dictate the winner of the game.

It feels like cheating to state something so obvious given Palestine's success forcing takeaways, but there's not much else to this game.

The Wildcats average 28 points per game and don't stray very far from that number. Carthage is about one touchdown better.

Probability says Palestine will win this game if it forces two turnovers on defense and then score off of those on offense. One touchdown off a turnover balances the score sheet and the second swings it in the Wildcats' favor.

Palestine linebacker Edward Reese. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)