CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Region III Area Playoff

Kilgore Bulldogs (8-3)

vs.

El Campo Ricebirds (8-2)

2 p.m. Friday
Waco ISD Stadium

 

Coaches

  • Kilgore: Mike Wood
  • El Campo: Wayne Condra

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces either Henderson or Sealy, regional semifinals

 

Playmakers

Kilgore

  • QB Patrick "Buddy" Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (41 of 80, 692 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT; 87 carries, 915 yards, 11 TDs)
  • WR Jonathan Shepherd, Sr., 6-3, 195 (18 catches, 405 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • DL Demorrea Richardson, Sr., 6-0, 240 (27 tackles, 16 for loss, 10 sacks, 27 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 3 blocked kicks)
  • RB Briant Mumphrey, Sr. (120 carries, 1,241 yards, 19 TDs; 6 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB Javorie Hamilton, Sr., 5-9, 170 (110 carries, 828 yards, 10 TDs; 1 catch, 10 yards, 0 TDs)
  • LB Nesba Brown, Jr. (148 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 1 blocked kick)
  • ATH Jaiden Zackery, Jr., 5-9, 170 (45 carries, 360 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 27 yards, 0 TDs; 19 tackles)
  • LB Sebastian Mumphrey, Sr. (142 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)

 

El Campo

  • FB Nery Rodriguez, Sr., 5-9, 205 (1,832 yards, 32 TDs)
  • QB Lynn Osina, Jr., 6-3, 200 (30 of 47, 600 yards. 6 TDs)
  • LB Jose Mendoza, Sr. (90 tackles)
  • WR/DB Clay Rawlings, Sr., 5-10 160 (10 receptions; 3 INTs)
  • DB Reyden Svatek, Sr., 5-9, 160 (2 INTs)
  • TE/DL Reed Spernath, Sr., 6-5, 210 (10 receptions)
  • WR/DB Demond Carter, Sr., 5-8, 160 (8 receptions)

 

Just the facts

  • The cumulative record of Kilgore's 2017 opponents is 51-63 (.447).
  • Kilgore is averaging 41 points and 418.6 yards per game -- 355.7 rushing and 62.9 passing.
  • Of the Bulldogs' 60 offensive touchdowns, 51 of them have come on the ground.
  • Kilgore is allowing 29.9 points per game, and has forced 17 turnovers -- nine interceptions and eight fumbles.
  • The cumulative record of El Campo's 2017 opponents is 51-43 (.543).
  • El Campo is averaging 33.7 points per game.
  • The Ricebirds are 3-1 in their last four playoff games against East Texas teams. El Campo lost to Henderson last year in the area round, but beat Carthage in 2012 and 2014 and Kilgore in 2015.
  • El Campo is allowing 20.3 points per game.

 

Key matchup: Kilgore rushing attack vs. El Campo defensive front. Buoyed by its best defensive performance of the season, the Kilgore offense dictated terms in its 49-0 playoff rout of Little Cypress-Mauriceville last week. The Bulldogs rolled up 319 rushing yards and five touchdowns on only 35 carries -- an average of 9.1 yards per attempt -- in the big win. The offense barely broke a sweat thanks to a defense that pitched Kilgore's first shutout since 2015.

Kilgore QB Patrick "Buddy" Jackson. (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Kilgore already has one 1,000-yard rusher and two more within serious striking distance. Briant Mumphrey leads the team with 1,241 yards and 19 touchdowns, but Javorie Hamilton and quarterback Patrick Jackson, who have combined 1,743 yards and 21 touchdowns, aren't far behind. Mumphrey and Jackson both average more than 10 yards per carry, igniting an offense that averages 41 points per game entering Friday's contest.

The Bulldogs figure to receive a much sterner test from an El Campo defense that's limiting its opponents to just 20.3 points per game. Only three of the Ricebirds' foes this season have scored more than 30 points in a game, so Kilgore's offense, and in particular its running game, will need to be in top form.

Don't be surprised if: Kilgore gives a few more targets than normal to senior receiver Jonathan Shepherd. Despite holding more than a dozen Division I FBS scholarship offers, the Oklahoma State commit has only caught 18 passes on the season -- an average of less than two per game. However, when Shepherd has caught the ball, he's done major damage. Five of his 18 receptions have gone for touchdowns, and he enters this week averaging more than 22 yards per catch. More often than not, playoffs games are decided by the best players on the field, and Shepherd is Kilgore's most physically gifted athlete.