CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Region II Semifinal

No. 9 Gladewater Bears (11-1)

vs.

Malakoff Tigers (9-2)

2 p.m. Saturday
Christus TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler

Coaches

  • Gladewater: John Berry
  • Malakoff: Jamie Driskell

Last week

Next week

  • Winner vs. Mount Vernon or Atlanta, 3A Division I, Region II final

Players to watch

Gladewater

  • RB Eli Carter, Soph., 5-11, 170 (236 carries, 2,450 yards, 24 TDs; 7 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR TC Minter, Sr., 6-2, 185 (51 catches, 885 yards, 11 TDs)
  • FB/LB Rashaud Johnson, Sr., 5-8, 217 (37 carries, 238 yards, 8 TDs; 104 tackles, 25 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble)
  • S Danny Badger, Sr., 6-0, 200 (83 tackles, 18 for loss, 6 sacks, 4 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
  • QB Tristan Holmes, Soph., 5-8, 155 (57 of 108, 975 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs; 33 carries, 153 yards, 2 RB/CB Christian Holmes, Sr., 5-6, 144 (38 carries, 291 yards, 7 TDs; 68 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 11 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD)
  • QB DJ Allen, Fr., 6-0, 180 (21 of 36, 337 yards, 1 TDs, 0 INT; 24 carries, 210 yards)
  • DB Koltyn Allen, Sr., 6-0, 181 (62 tackles, 5 INTs, 8 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)

Malakoff

  • QB Darion Peace, Soph., 6-0, 170 (94 of 156, 1,781 yards, 26 TDs, 1 INT; 108 carries, 511 yards, 7 TDs)
  • RB Keevie Rose, Jr., 6-1, 184 (148 carries, 1,175 yards, 13 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Andreas Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 170 (31 catches, 605 yards, 9 TDs; 10 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Parker Busch, Sr., 6-3, 205
  • WR Nathan Jones, Soph., 6-3, 210 (20 catches, 381 yards, 7 TDs; 6 carries, 26 yards)
  • OL Brendan McClintock, Sr., 6-2, 250
  • OL Lincoln Rogers, Sr., 6-1, 260
  • RB RJ Carr, Jr., 6-2, 215 (31 carries, 394 yards, 6 TDs)

Just the facts

  • Gladewater is averaging 42.4 points and 434.5 yards per game – 323.7 rushing and 110.8 passing
  • The Bears have not won 12 games in a season since 2001
  • Bears sophomore running back Eli Carter has six 200-yard rushing games this season
  • The cumulative record of Gladewater’s opponents is 66-63 (.512)
  • Gladewater is allowing 20.3 points per game, has 26 sacks, and has forced 26 turnovers – 13 interceptions and 13 fumbles
  • Malakoff is averaging 43.3 points and 429.5 yards per game – 264.5 rushing and 165 passing
  • The Tigers need a win to achieve their fourth 10-win season since 2013
  • Malakoff ran the ball 54 times in last week’s playoff win, 20 more than its season average
  • The cumulative record of Malakoff’s opponents is 61-60 (.504)
  • Malakoff is allowing 17.1 points and 207.2 yards per game – 85.1 rushing and 122.1 passing
Gladewater RB Eli Carter. (© Danny Gutierrez, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Malakoff offensive line vs. Gladewater defensive front. The Malakoff Tigers were able to eliminate previously unbeaten Jefferson last week by winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Malakoff dominated time of possession, running 64 offensive plays to just 33 for Jefferson. All of four of Malakoff's four touchdowns drives traveled at least 66 yards, and most of the damage was done on the ground. The Tigers ran the ball 54 times, led by running back Keevie Rose, who rushed 38 times for 133 yards and a touchdown. Malakoff and Gladewater are almost mirror images statistically on offense, but the Bears have two explosive playmakers that can change the game's complexion. Gladewater sophomore running back Eli Carter is averaging more than 10 yards er carry, and is coming off a 290-yard, five-touchdown performance last week. Receiver TC Minter is another game breaker, averaging 17.1 yards per catch. One out out of every 4.6 Minter receptions go for touchdowns. Malakoff's best defense against that might be a ball-control approach, similar to last week.

Gladewater FB Devin Walker. (© Danny Gutierrez, ETSN.fm)

Often overshadowed by the exploits of Carter and Minter is Gladewater's defense, which is coming off an incredible area round performance against Eustace. The Bears limited a Eustace offense that had scored 90 points in the two games prior to one touchdown, and held dynamic quarterback Alejandro Sanchez in check. Sanchez was a non-factor despite rushing for 742 yards in his previous two games. Gladewater's defense made nine stops behind the line of scrimmage, and limited Eustace to 135 rushing yards, the fewest it's allowed in five weeks. Gladewater averages eight tackles for loss per game, but it has had a few rough games against the run this season, allowing 402 rushing yards to Pleasant Grove and 317 to Tatum. If Gladewater can win on first and second down against Malakoff's offense, the Bears will be in a great position to keep their season moving.

Don't be surprised if: This will be the most physical game of the season for each team. Gladewater's power-I base offense is designed to get opponents into slugfests, which suggests the Bears will have an edge Saturday. However, Malakoff proved last week it can be just as physical by imposing its will up front on a talented Jefferson squad. Each team goes about their business on offense and defense differently, but the goal for both Malakoff and Gladewater will be the same: beat the opponent into submission. It will truly be survival of the fittest with a spot in the regional finals on the line.