Hallsville Bobcats
vs.
Whitehouse Wildcats

7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse

Coaches
Hallsville: David Plunk
Whitehouse: Randy McFarlin

Next week
Hallsville: vs. Van
Whitehouse: vs. Chapel Hill (at TMF Rose Stadium in Tyler)

Playmakers
Hallsville

  • RB Thaddeus Fagan, Sr., 6-0, 190
  • LB Cayden Ferrill, Sr., 5-10, 195
  • OL Hayden Wall, Sr., 6-4, 270
  • DE Coby Bradford, Sr., 6-1, 205
  • QB Austin Toney, Sr., 6-3, 185
  • WR Andre Jones, Jr., 5-9, 170
  • OL Brent Rogers, Sr., 6-0, 270

Whitehouse

  • WR Dylan Cantrell, Sr., 6-3, 205 (committed to Texas Tech)
  • QB/S Patrick Mahomes, Jr., 6-3, 180
  • S Colby Campbell, Sr., 6-0, 185
  • QB Ryan Cheatham, Jr.
  • RB Zen'Darrian Haskins, Sr., 5-10, 175
  • OL Hunter Conn, Sr., 6-5, 290 (committed to Lamar)
  • WR Michael Nuon, Sr., 5-11, 180

Just the facts

  • Whitehouse beat Hallsville 35-24 in last year's meeting at Wildcat Stadium.
  • Dylan Cantrell averaged 16.3 yards per catch last season.
  • Hallsville was minus-14 on the cumulative season scoreboard last season: 284-298. That translates to being outscored by a slim average margin of 1.27 points per game.
  • Thaddeus Fagan averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2011.
  • Whitehouse will likely play two quarterbacks tonight: junior Patrick Mahomes and junior Ryan Cheatham. They shared duties during 7-on-7, two-a-days, and scrimmages.
  • Hallsville won its final three regular-season games, and four of its last five, to qualify for the playoffs last season. That was the Bobcats' first postseason berth since 2006.

 

Key matchup: Hallsville's running game vs. Whitehouse's defense. The Wildcats' Achilles heel last season was defense. Whitehouse surrendered 43.5 points per game and allowed 45 or more points six times (1-5 in those games). Hallsville may not have an explosive offense, but the Bobcats always know how to run the ball, and Thaddeus Fagan will likely be their feature back. He averaged 13.4 carries per game as a junior and will get even more this season. With Preseason East Texas Super Team lineman Hayden Wall and Brent Rogers blocking for him, Fagan could be a tough task for the Wildcats.

Don't be surprised if: Both offenses find success at times, and each team finds the end zone a few times apiece. Whitehouse's defense showed solid improvement in its scrimmage against Gilmer, while Hallsville's defense is strong enough to keep Whitehouse's high-flying passing game from completely taking over the game. Dylan Cantrell won't be easy to stop, but neither will Thaddeus Fagan, so Whitehouse and Hallsville fans are probably set for a close and entertaining season opener at Wildcat Stadium. The deciding factor could be whose new quarterback -- Hallsville's Austin Toney, or Whitehouse's Patrick Mahomes and/or Ryan Cheatham -- handles the Friday night lights better.