PREVIEW: Playoff Spot on the Line When Kilgore Hosts Bullard
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Bullard Panthers (3-6, 2-3)
Kilgore Bulldogs (6-3, 3-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore
- Bullard: Scott Callaway
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- Bullard: TBD
- Kilgore: TBD
- QB Cleet Bowman, Sr., 6-1, 190 (146 of 253, 2,102 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INTs)
- WR Ty Crayton, Sr., 5-10, 168 (52 catches, 704 yards, 9 TDs; 12 carries, 115 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Luke Bowman, Sr., 5-9, 180 (105 carries, 558 yards, 7 TDs; 2 catches, 42 yards, 0 TDs)
- WR Will McCowin, Sr., 5-8, 165 (34 catches, 584 yards, 7 TDs)
- LB Brody Mullican, Sr., 6-0, 198 (50 tackles, 9 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- LB Thomas Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 200 (68 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Landry Lasseter, Jr., 5-10, 180 (61 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- DL Kele Leachman, Sr., 6-4, 245 (38 tackles, 9 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB Patrick "Buddy" Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (33 of 67, 606 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT; 73 carries, 770 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Jonathan Shepherd, Sr., 6-3, 195 (13 catches, 356 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
- DL Demorrea Richardson, Sr., 6-0, 240 (27 tackles, 12 for loss, 8 sacks, 22 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 2 blocked kicks)
- RB Briant Mumphrey, Sr. (86 carries, 924 yards, 13 TDs; 5 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Javorie Hamilton, Sr., 5-9, 170 (95 carries, 754 yards, 8 TDs; 1 catch, 10 yards, 0 TDs)
- LB Nesba Brown, Jr. (114 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 1 blocked kick)
- ATH Jaiden Zackery, Jr., 5-9, 170 (41 carries, 344 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 27 yards, 0 TDs)
- LB Sebastian Mumphrey, Sr. (109 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
Just the facts
- The winner of Friday's game between Bullard and Kilgore makes the playoffs. There is a chance Kilgore could still get in if its loss is by 10 points or less AND Palestine also beats Henderson.
- Kilgore won last year's meeting, 35-13.
- Bullard is averaging 29.4 points and 361.2 yards per game -- 118.5 rushing and 242.7 passing.
- The Panthers are averaging just 3.3 yards per carry as a team.
- Bullard is allowing 34.9 points and 352.3 yards per game, and has forced 11 turnovers -- three interceptions and eight fumbles.
- Kilgore is averaging 38.4 points and 436.1 yards per game -- 368.8 rushing and 67.3 passing.
- The Bulldogs have three players with at least 754 yards and eight touchdowns rushing.
- Kilgore is allowing 33.8 points and 384.9 yards per game, and has forced 11 turnovers -- seven interceptions and four fumbles.
Key matchup: Kilgore rushing attack vs. Bullard defensive front. The Bulldogs have one of the most formidable running games in all of East Texas, and they will need to be at full speed in Friday night's regular-season finale against Bullard. Kilgore, because of its shocking 49-35 loss to Center last week, now needs a win over Bullard to secure a playoff berth. If the Bulldog lose, it would need to be by less than 10 points, and Palestine would also have to defeat Henderson. Kilgore has failed to reach the postseason just once since 1995.
The Bulldogs are averaging almost 370 rushing yards per game, and several players contribute to the output. Kilgore has three players with at least 754 rushing yards on the season, and all of three of them have run for at least eight touchdowns. Between running backs Briant Mumphrey and Javorie Hamilton and quarterback Patrick "Buddy" Jackson, Bullard's defense will have its hand full in defending the run.
The Panthers have been good at times stopping the run, and for the season Bullard allows less than 170 rushing yards per game, or about 200 less than Kilgore's average. The linebacking trio of seniors Thomas Brooks and Brody Mullican and junior Landry Lasseter are the heart and soul of a Bullard defense that's hoping to get back on track after allowing 41 points in consecutive losses to Carthage and Henderson.
Don't be surprised if: Kilgore sends more blitzes than normal. Bullard has evolved into a pass-first offense in head coach Scott Callaway's first year on the job. The Panthers average almost twice as many passing yards than rushing yards per game, and senior quarterback Cleet Bowman has been excellent when he's had time to throw. Bowman enters Friday's game with a completion percentage of almost 58, and most of his attempts go for more than 15 yards per rep. Kilgore cannot afford to let Bowman get into a rhythm with a clean pocket, so expect the Bulldogs to send linebackers and safeties in to pass rush when the situations present themselves.