Pittsburg Tries To Stop Argyle Program Seeking Its Third Straight State Championship Game Appearance
CLASS 4A DIVISION I AREA ROUND
Pittsburg Pirates (10-1)
Argyle Eagles (10-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Royse City ISD Stadium, Royse City
- Pittsburg: Brad Baca
- Argyle: Todd Rodgers
- Pittsburg: def. Crandall, 35-24
- Argyle: def. Lake Worth, 70-7
- Winner faces winner between Athens and Kennedale, regional semifinals
- RB/LB Fre’Zarian Harrison, Sr., 6-0, 220 (115 tackles, 33 for loss, 9 sacks, 3 forced fumbles)
- QB Brian Baca, Sr., 5-10, 181 (135-203, 2,409 yards, 18 TDs, 7 INTs, 95 carries, 692 yards, 14 TDs)
- WR Damien Porter, Sr., 5-10, 145 (50 catches, 826 yards, 7 TDs)
- OL/DL Nathan Capers, Sr., 6-4, 250
- RB/DB Tray Walker, Sr., 5-5, 156 (216 carries, 1,505 yards, 15 TDs)
- WR/DL Quinton Edney, Sr. (50 tackles, 15 for loss, 2 sack, 3 fumble recoveries, 3 PBUs)
- WR/DB Hugo Fluellen, Sr., 5-10, 160 (32 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 PBUs; 22 catches, 208 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Dane Ledford, Jr., 6-0, 180 (145-195, 2,034 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs)
- RB Taylor Sweatt, Sr., 5-10, 205 (141 carries, 1,041 yards, 18 TDs)
- WR Drew Estrada, Sr., 6-0, 186 (49 catches, 703 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Gage McCook, Sr., 5-9, 167 (39 catches, 553 yards, 7 TDs)
- DL Jacob Forrer, Sr. (63 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 blocked punt)
- DB Dylan Sadler, Jr., 5-10, 160 (20 tackles, 5 INTs)
Just the facts
- Arygle is a combined 41-2 the past three seasons, including a state championship win in 2013 and a state championship double overtime loss last season. The program lost to Celina, 46-36, in a non-district game this year on Sept. 11 and owns a 10-1 record.
- Pittsburg also is 10-1 this year in head coach Brad Baca's first season at the helms. Its only loss came to Liberty-Eylau, another Region II favorite alongside Argyle, by a score of 28-0 on Oct. 16.
- Argyle won District 4-4A Division I. Pittsburg finished second to Liberty-Eylau in District 7-4A Division I.
- Before this year, the Pirates had not enjoyed a 10-win season since 2009. That team finished the year 13-2 with a seven-point loss to Graham in the state semifinals.
- Argyle has won at least 11 games per season since 2009 with three state championship game appearances in the same span (2011, 2013, 2014).
- Pittsburg and Argyle share one common opponent -- Paris. Argyle beat Paris, 31-20, on Sept. 25. The Pirates downed Paris, 48-30, on Oct. 23.
- Pirates linebacker Fre'zarian Harrison has enjoyed a monster senior campaign. He is one tackle for loss off the lead within East Texas with 33 and also has recorded a team-best 115 tackles through 11 games.
- Argyle head coach Tood Rodgers has 142 wins in his 12 seasons with the program.
- Pittsburg quarterback Brian Baca, a transfer from Cleburne High School, has some experience with Argyle. As the starter for his former team, Cleburne scrimmaged Argyle ahead of the 2014 football season.
- Royse City ISD Stadium is an 89-mile drive for Pittsburg. Argyle, which is about 20 miles north of downtown Ft. Worth, will travel 69 miles from campus.
Key matchup: Pittsburg's offense against Argyle's defense.
Year-to-year, you can count on Argyle contending late into the season with a strong offense. The best thing the Pirates could do is bench an opposing unit that has averaged 50.3 points per game for long periods of Friday's contest with long, sustained drives.
But that game plan is a bit of a stretch.
Like Argyle, Pittsburg utilizes an up-tempo spread offense and will certainly score some points in the area round game. But neither team's offense is really built to hold possession for long periods of time. It also means the game can spiral out of control fast if one team gets its offense going early and the other side takes more time to figure out its defensive competition.
Pittsburg will have to be on point from kickoff and consistent through the game to pull off a fairly significant upset.
If the Pirates do build up a lead, however, they do have a good match up win at running back. That could come into play in the second half as Pittsburg tries to work the clock enough over a few drives to knock out one full possession for Argyle.
Senior Tray Walker has more than 1,500 rushing yards and has done the same type of work to other opponents late through the season. Argyle also has that capability though. Running back Taylor Sweatt has more than 1,000 yards and has had to sit a few quarters, as his team outscored district competition 300-63 and then trucked Lake Worth in the opening round, 70-7.
Brad Baca's team simply has to do its thing, see where it takes the Pirates and watch out for Argyle's defensive traps. Particularly in the passing game. Junior defensive back Dylan Sadler, the younger brother of Texas Tech receiver standout Ian Sadler, has five interceptions to his name.
Argyle also has 89 tackles for loss as a defense, 32 sacks and averages two takeaways per game.
Don't be surprised if: Pittsburg hangs around late. The Pirates have an offense good enough to match Argyle's as well as defensive talent spread evenly between the front seven and secondary. Friday will be an especially big test for linebacker Fre'zarian Harrison. With 42 total tackles for negative yardage, if Harrison has a good day Pittsburg will be a tough out for Argyle to get.
The Pirates will be in great position to advance with a turnover, a fourth-down conversion that results in points and a recovered onside kick. Or any combination of those three things. If Pittsburg steals three potential possessions from Argyle, it has the offensive firepower to get the job done.