MARSHALL MAVERICKS
AT
KILGORE BULLDOGS

7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium
Coaches
Marshall: Alex Richters
Kilgore: Mike Wood
Next week
Marshall: vs. Shreveport C.E. Byrd (at Independence Stadium, 3 p.m., Sept 8)
Kilgore: vs. Sweeny (at Crockett, 6 p.m., Sept. 8)
Playmakers
Marshall
  • WR Christian Williams, Sr., 6-2, 175
  • LB Kris Johnson, Sr., 5-11, 185
  • RB John Love, Soph., 5-8, 170
  • DE Alberto Balderas, Sr., 6-2, 210
  • DB Jacovin Coats, Sr., 5-10, 175
  • WR Marek Reyes, Jr., 5-8, 165
  • C Johnathan Patterson, Sr., 5-11, 265
  • DB Jaque Kuykendall, Jr., 5-9, 160
Kilgore
  • MLB A.J. Davis, Sr., 6-0, 220
  • QB/S Cooper Coldiron, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • ATH Benny Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 175
  • FB/DE Cornelius Bell, Sr., 6-1, 225
  • OG Clay Wiley, Sr., 6-1, 280
  • DT Josh Daniels, Sr., 6-0, 295
  • DT LaDarrin Anthony, Jr., 5-11, 225
  • DE D.Q. Scott, Jr., 5-11, 220
  • OLB Jake Brantley, Jr., 5-10, 185
Just the facts
  • Marshall yielded 36.1 points per game in 2011. The Mavericks, who scored 29.1 points per game,  yielded 47 or more points five times.
  • Kilgore averaged 30.4 points per game last season and gave up 24.2.
  • Marshall lost seven of its final eight games last season.
  • Kilgore won six of its final eight games last season.
  • Marshall returns only 5 of 22 starters: two offensive, three defense.
  • Kilgore has only three returning offensive starters, but six returning defensive starters, the majority of whom play in the back seven of the Bulldogs' 4-3 defense.
  • Kilgore edged Marshall 47-41 in a Sept. 23 non-district game a year ago.
  • Both teams must replace starting quarterbacks. Alandric Tutt was Marshall's best offensive weapon last season, while Kilgore's Riley Toler started all of the past two seasons and some of the 2009 campaign, when he was a sophomore.

Key matchup: Kilgore's ground game vs. Marshall's defensive front. Another interesting matchup will be Marshall's new passing game, which will be led by a new quarterback, against an experienced an opportunistic Kilgore secondary, which picked off passes left and right in 2011. But the ground game is always Kilgore's signature. Despite graduating two great ball carriers in L.D. Anthony and Dondra Halton, who combined for more than 2,400 yards in 2011, the Bulldogs should be strong again in their rushing attack. Junior JuJu Brown and sophomore Kevrin Justice could be important

pieces of Kilgore's backfield, while fullback Cornelius Bell may get more opportunities to carry the ball as a senior. You also must take into account what could be another solid Kilgore offensive line led by Clay Wiley. Marshall does have returning defensive end starter Alberto Balderas along its front, but that's about that. Jensen Jackson and Deonte McKinney, the Mavericks' strong defensive line duo, graduated, so Marshall will need to find new players fast to deal with Kilgore's always solid running game.

Don't be surprised if: Kilgore wears down an inexperienced Marshall defense. The Mavericks always have athletes, but Kilgore figures to once again be a physical team that can run the ball against the majority of its opponents. Kilgore coach Mike Wood has been pleased with new quarterback Cooper Coldiron, and multi-talented Benny Colbert will help compensate for the graduation of wideouts Matthew Dickey and Shelton Toliver. But Kilgore wins with its running game and defense, and if the Dogs' get their usual performances in both facets, they'll likely beat Marshall in a matchup of former Class 4A district rivals.