DISTRICT 8-3A DIVISION I

No. 4 West Rusk Raiders (5-0, 1-0)

vs.

 No. 7 Gladewater Bears (5-0, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Jack V. Murphy Stadium, Gladewater

Coaches

  • West Rusk: John Frazier
  • Gladewater: John Berry

Last week

Next week

  • West Rusk: vs. White Oak, Oct. 12
  • Gladewater: at Mineola, Oct. 12

Players to watch

West Rusk

  • QB/DB LaJavius Harper, Sr., 5-10, 158 (32-of-62, 619 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs; 26 carries, 241 yards, 5 TDs; 41 tackles, 1 INT, 6 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery)
  • RB/DB Tyrell Moore, Jr., 5-8, 165 (67 carries, 478 yards, 4 TDs; 7 tackles)
  • RB/LB Jaylon Garland, Sr., 5-8, 175 (42 carries, 223 yards, 1 TD; 2 tackles)
  • WR/DB Talon Winings, Jr., 5-11, 170 (6 catches, 138 yards, 2 TDs; 3 INTs, 8 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 fumble recovery)
  • WR/DB DJ Hart, Sr., 6-0, 185 (11 carries, 122 yards, 2 TD; 7 catches, 111 yards, 2 TDs; 14 tackles. 2 PBUs)
  • FB/LB Orlando Cortez, Sr., 5-10, 190 (1 carry, 4 yards; 75 tackles, 15 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 PBU, 6 QB hurries)
  • OL/DL Coltan Mills, Jr., 6-1, 238 (46 tackles, 13 for loss, 5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 4 QB hurries)
  • OL/LB Diego Molina, Sr., 5-10 190 (61 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 QB hurry)
  • DL Darius Richardson, Sr., 6-3, 303 (25 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry)
  • OL/DL Alvaro Coertez, So., 6-0 (33 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB hurries 1 PBU, 1 fumble recovery)
  • OL/DL Parker Mizell, Jr., 6-0, 200 (26 tackles, 10 for loss, 1 sack, 8 QB hurries, 3 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble)
  • WR Trevor Henson, Sr., 5-9, 150 (9 catches, 249 yards, 4 TDs)

Gladewater

  • RB Eli Carter, Soph., 5-10, 185 (105 carries, 1,162 yards, 10 TDs; 5 catches, 77 yards, TD)
  • RB/DB Christian Holmes, Sr., 5-8, 150 (19 carries, 164 yards, 4 TDs)
  • QB Tristan Holmes, Soph., 5-8, 155 (36-of-66, 633 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 10 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB AJ Harris, Sr., 5-9, 180 (30 carries, 189 yards, TD; 1 catch, 20 yards)
  • WR/DB TC Minter, Sr., 6-2, 185 (23 catches, 422 yards, 7 TDs)
  • FB/LB Rashaud Johnson, Sr., 5-8, 190 (7 carries, 27 yards, 3 TDs; 44 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
  • DB Danny Badger, Sr., 6-0, 200 (35 tackles, 11 for loss, 5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB Jace Adkinson, Jr., 5-9 (42 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DB/DE Keston Wilson, Sr., 5-10, 220 (4 carries, 9 yards, 2 TDs)
  • OT David Bohanon, Sr., 6-2, 265

Just the facts

  • Gladewater and West Rusk haven't met since at least 2004, as far back as MaxPreps compiles game history.
  • Gladewater's 5-0 start has included victories against three 4A schools, including defending 4A Division II champion Pleasant Grove.
  • The Bears are averaging 45.4 points per game and giving up 23.2.
  • Gladewater running back Eli Carter's 1,162 yards are the most of any player in East Texas, and he was also the first back to break 1,000 after Week 4.
  • West Rusk is giving up just 17.8 points and averaging three sacks per game.
  • The Raiders are averaging 393 yards per game (123.8 passing and 269.2 rushing).
  • This is the fourth straight season the Raiders have started 5-0. They have finished a combined 14-8 in the previous three seasons.

Key matchup: Eli Carter and the Gladewater rushing attack against the West Rusk defense. Eli Carter has seemed unstoppable through five games. He is averaging 232.4 yards and two touchdowns per game. Carter has been at the forefront of Gladewater's surpassing 5-0 start, as equally new to East Texas as the Bear's success.

Eli Carter and Gladewater have taken East Texas by surprise with a 5-0 start. (© Danny Gutierrez, ETSN.fm)

Although he faced a tough line against Pleasant Grove in Week 4, West Rusk might be the best defense he has seen all season. The Raiders have shown a knack for getting to the backfield, averaging 15.2 tackles for loss per game. The Raiders will miss a couple of key players in Coltan Mills and Alvaro Cortez, both of whom are out with injury. Mills is tied with Orlando Cortez for the team lead in sacks with five. The Raiders still have Cortez, along with linebacker Diego Molina and lineman Darius Richardson, a Texas State commit.

West Rusk seems to be the best-equipped to quell Carter's hot start, but Friday is another chance for East Texas' most recent star to continue surpassing expectations.

Don't be surprised if: The game is decided by one touchdown or less. There is a lot on the line, particularly for the Raiders. After West Rusk defeated Mineola to open district play this past week, Gladewater seems like the biggest hurdle left in its path to the 8-3A Division I title.

West Rusk LB/OL Orlando Cortez. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

These teams seem evenly matched on paper, and are both ranked in the top 10 in the latest AP poll. With both offenses off the strong starts, West Rusk's defense could be a deciding factor.

Either way, this game looks like it has potential to be one of the best East Texas has to offer in Week 6.