DISTRICT 10-4A Division I

Van Vandals (4-1)

vs.

No. 1 Carthage Bulldogs (5-0)

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

Coaches

  • Van: Jared Moffatt
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

Last week

Next week

  • Van: at Palestine, Oct. 19
  • Carthage: at Chapel Hill, Oct. 19

Players to watch

Van

  • RB Elijah Rankine, Jr., 5-10, 164 (71 carries, 511 yards, 5 TDs; 15 catches, 198 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Ethan Robinson, Sr., 5-10, 145 (38 catches, 685 yards, 8 TDs)
  • QB Jayton Moffatt, Jr., 5-10, 170 (45-of-63, 653 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT; 15 carries, 69 yards, TD)
  • QB Liam Nielson, Sr. (62-of-90, 759 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 9 carries, 65 yards, TD)
  • RB/LB AJ Zarate, Sr., 6-0, 205 (17 carries, 73 yards, 3 TDs; 88 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 INT, 1 defensive TD, 1 forced fumble)
  • DE Jayden Jacobs, Jr., 6-2, 195 (18 tackles, 7 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 PBU)
  • S Ridge Preston, Sr., 5-11, 150 (21 tackles)
  • LB Mauricio Herrera, Soph., 5-7, 177 (24 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack)

Carthage

  • QB Gunner Capps, Sr., 6-1, 195 (86-of-130, 1,296 yards, 14 TDs, 3 INTs)
  • WR Kelvontay Dixon, Jr., 6-0, 170 (28 catches, 525 yards, 5 TDs)
  • OL Ty'kieast Crawford, Jr., 6-6, 310 (committed to Baylor)
  • DB Ja'Corey Ware, Sr., 6-0, 170 (19 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 PBU)
  • RB Tucker Smith, Sr., 5-11, 180 (63 carries, 336 yards, 10 TDs; 17 catches, 251 yards, 4 TDs)
  • LB Rayvon Ingram, Jr., 5-10, 205 (47 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DL DJ Hicks, Jr., 6-2, 200 (24 tackles, 3 for loss, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • TE Kaden Holcomb, Sr., 6-1, 180 (13 catches, 194 yards, TD)
  • Quan Brown, Jr. (27 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 sack, 6 QB pressures, 1 INT)

Just the facts

  • Carthage is 2-0 all time against Van.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging 419.8 yards per game (281.4 passing and 138.4 rushing).
  • Carthage receiver Kelvontay Dixon leads the team in receiving yards, averaging 105 per game.
  • Carthage holds the state's longest active winning streak at 31 games.
  • Van is averaging 453.2 yards per game (295.4 passing and 157.8 rushing).
  • Van quarterbacks Jayton Moffatt and Liam Nielson have combined for 1,412 yards, which would rank fifth in East Texas.
  • Van's only loss this season came to Gilmer by one point, 42-41. Carthage defeated Gilmer 66-14 in Week 4.

Key matchup: The quarterback battle. Gunner Capps brings experience and talent to the table after leading Carthage to the state championship a season ago. So far, he has put together another solid season, passing for 1,296 yards and 14 touchdowns in five games. After taking a backseat the Keaontay Ingram and the running game a season ago, Capps is clearly the leader of this offense this season.

Van quarterback Jayton Moffatt (© ETSN.fm)

On the other side, Van has a quarterback tandem. Jayton Moffatt and Liam Neilson have split duties, but it seems to be working fine for the Vandals. Van's lone blemish this season is a one-point loss to Gilmer. Moffatt and Nielson have combine to be the sixth-most productive passing unit in East Texas. Ethan Robinson has proved a reliable target.

Both of these teams thrive passing the ball. Whichever can outperform the other Friday might have the better shot to start district with a victory.

Don't be surprised if: Elijah Rankine puts up more than 100 total yards of offense. The Van running back has been averaging 141.8 yards per game so far. Although he does most of his damage on the ground, he also has nearly 200 yards receiving. He was a weapon mostly in the passing game last season as Garrett Moseley did most of the rushing. However, the graduation of Moseley has allowed Rankine to flourish in the backfield. Look for him to put up more big numbers Friday.