No. 1 Carthage Bulldogs (3-0)

vs.

No. 8 Gilmer (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer

Coaches

  • Carthage: Scott Surratt
  • Gilmer: Matt Turner

Last week

Next week

  • Carthage: idle
  • Gilmer: at Newton, Sept. 28

Players to watch

Carthage

  • QB Gunner Capps, Sr., 6-1, 195 (46-of-75, 650 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs)
  • WR Kelvontay DIxon, Jr., 6-0, 170 (19 catches, 289 yards 3 TDs; 1 carry, 6 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL Ty'kieast Crawford, Jr., 6-6, 310 (committed to Baylor)
  • OL Kevion Booty, Sr., 6-2, 270
  • DB Ja'Corey Ware, Sr., 6-0, 170 (8 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 PBU)
  • DE Quinton Owens, Jr., 6-3, 200 (11 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble)
  • RB Tucker Smith, Sr., 5-11, 180 (49 carries, 293 yards 8 TDs; 8 catches, 87 yards, 3 TDs)
  • LB Rayvon Ingram, Jr., 5-10, 205 (28 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery)
  • Quanterrius Brown (16 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • Jalen Brooks, Sr., 5-8, 180 (22 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)

Gilmer

  • RB Bran Webb, Sr., 5-10, 175 (46 carries, 249 yards, 4 TDs; 7 catches, 94 yards)
  • RB Darrell Bush, Jr. (42 carries, 201 yards, 7 TDs; 4 catches, 37 yards)
  • WR/DB Tra Fluellen, Sr., 6-3, 185 (13 catches, 234 yards, 1 TD; 3 carries, 15 yards; 7 tackles, 1 PBU)
  • QB Mason Hurt, Soph., 6-0, 150 (36-of-74, 501 yards, 4 TDs)
  • QB Cade Camp, Sr., 6-3, 200 (18-of-38, 295 yards, 2 INTs)
  • WR Dylan Fluellen, So. 6-2 (8 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD)
  • DL Abel Euceda, Sr., 6-0, 190 (27 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 3 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DL Ronnie McPherson, Sr. (22 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • DL Brycen Jimmerson, So. 5-10, 182 (16 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks)
  • OL Devon King, Jr., 6-3, 338
  • WR/DB D.J. Shead, Jr., 6-0, 165 (8 catches, 117 yards, 1 TD; 8 tackles, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB Brandon Legan, Sr., 6-2, 175 (29 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)

Just the facts

  • Since 2008, Carthage holds a 4-3 lead in the series. The Bulldogs won 2017's contest, 48-28.
  • The schools have a combined nine state championships (Carthage with six, Gilmer with three).
  • Gilmer is averaging 435.3 yards per game (265.3 passing and 170 rushing).
  • Gilmer's three games thus far have been decided by an average of only 4.3 points.
  • Carthage is averaging 398.6 yards per game (219.3 passing and 179.3 rushing).
  • The Bulldogs have forced 11 turnovers (seven interceptions and four fumbles) for an average of 3.7 per game.
  • Scott Surratt has won more state championships at Carthage (6) than he has playoff losses (5).

Key matchup: Gilmer passing attack against the Carthage secondary. Gilmer is still rotating between quarterbacks Cade Camp and Mason Hurt. It remains unclear whether the Buckeyes will eventually decided on a permanent quarterback. However, the duo has been fairly successful thus far. Gilmer is putting up nearly 270 yards per game through the air and has three receivers with more than 100 yards.

Gilmer quarterback Cade Camp (© Ruel Felipe, ETSN.fm).

Carthage has been unkind to opposing quarterbacks this season. The Bulldogs have seven interceptions and are holding offenses to only 158 yards passing on average. In Week 3, they held Marshall quarterback J.J. Green to a mere 144 yards and forced two interceptions. This group doesn't appear to have regressed at all following the loss of Mekhi Colbert to graduation.

If Gilmer can withstand the defensive pressure, the Buckeyes will have a much better shot at winning. However, as Carthage's previous three opponents can attest, that is a daunting task.

Don't be surprised if: This one ends up a shootout. It might need to for Gilmer to win. The Buckeyes defense has already given up 40 points in two of its three games this season, both victories. The Carthage offense is likely the most prolific Gilmer has faced, so it's a safe bet that the Bulldogs will reach at least 40. That means Gilmer will need to reciprocate if it hopes to keep things close.

Carthage QB Gunner Capps. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

The quarterback duo, along with the tandem of Bran Webb and Darrell Bush in the backfield, has led to plenty of offense for the Buckeyes in 2018. It should hope to continue that trend Friday.