Preview: Pine Tree’s Powerful Running Game Takes on Van’s High-Flying Offense
PINE TREE PIRATES
7:30 p.m. Friday
Vandal Stadium, Van
- QB Jake Oden, Sr., 6-1, 185
- RB Victor Hawkins, Sr., 6-1, 190
- FB/DT Eddie Calico, Sr., 6-0, 240
- RB Douglas Morgan, Soph., 6-0, 180
- FB Quay Ward, Soph., 5-9, 195
- WR Caleb Chumley, Jr., 6-4, 215
- OL Andrew Lee, Jr., 6-2, 265
- DT Syd Moore, Sr., 6-1, 260
- QB Garrett Smallwood, Sr., 6-0, 185
- WR Carson Rucker, Jr., 6-3, 215
- LB Hunter Hopkins, Sr., 6-1, 190
- WR Rigo Lemus, Sr., 5-9, 170
- OL Tavo Lemus, Sr., 6-0, 260
- RB Matt Savis, Soph., 5-8, 165
- Van defensive tackle Syd Moore had 102 tackles, 34 for loss, and eight sacks in 2011. Moore holds offers from SMU, ULM, and Texas State.
- Pine Tree rushed for 332.2 yards per game in 2011, an improvement of 155.3 yards per game from 2010.
- On the other hand, Pine Tree threw for only 14.3 yards per game last season, 40.2 fewer than in 2011.
- Van's Garrett Smallwood threw for 3,175 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions during his junior season.
- Rigo Lemus is Smallwood's top returning target after catching 45 passes for 797 yards and nine touchdowns. Carson Rucker had 25 catches for 312 yards and four scores a year ago.
- Pine Tree's Jake Oden is by far the Pirates' top returning rusher from 2011. Of the 1,121 returning rushing yards (out of PT's 3,322 from last season), Oden ran for 710 and scored 12 times on the ground orchestrating PT's triple-option flexbone offense.
Key matchup: Van's passing game vs. Pine Tree's defense. Van quarterback Garrett Smallwood is back after a huge junior season. He averaged 264.5 passing yards a game to lead Van to a 10-2 record. Pine Tree surrendered 39.1 points per game last season and particularly struggled against good passing games, such as Henderson (58 points), Nacogdoches (42 points), John Tyler (52 points), and Whitehouse (70 points). Pine Tree proved that regardless of its defense's success (or lack of), the Pirates would move the ball on the ground. That's why their points per game
went from 21.4 last season from the 9.7 they averaged in 2010. But the big question in Friday's season opener is can Pine Tree find a way to slow Van's passing game enough to give the Pirates' rushing attack a chance to hang around and control the clock and field position?