DISTRICT 7-4A DIVISION II

Spring Hill Panthers (5-2, 0-2)

vs.

Gilmer Buckeyes (5-2, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer

 

Coaches

  • Spring Hill: Kelly Mercer
  • Gilmer: Matt Turner

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Spring Hill: vs. Pleasant Grove, Nov. 3
  • Gilmer: vs. Atlanta, Nov. 3

 

Playmakers

Spring Hill

  • QB Gage White, Soph., 5-11, 170 (42 of 77, 987 yards, 16 TDs, 1 INT; 42 carries, 247 yards, 3 TDs)
  • WR/DB Dayson Adaway, Sr., 6-0, 170 (20 catches, 581 yards, 9 TDs; 35 tackles)
  • RB/LB Kiante Stoker, Sr., 5-11, 207 (66 carries, 623 yards, 14 TDs; 1 catch, 16 yards, 1 TD; 80 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
  • RB Zach Tulpa, Sr., 5-10, 155 (74 carries, 728 yards, 9 TDs; 5 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Ryan Willis, Sr., 5-10, 147 (10 catches, 239 yards, 5 TDs)
  • LB Vaughn Bufkin, Jr., 5-7, 180 (71 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
  • LB Richey Matkin, Jr., 6-0, 189 (45 tackles, 11 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
  • WR/DB Morgan Bradford, Jr., 5-10, 154 (6 catches, 126 yards, 0 TDs; 33 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 forced fumble)

 

Gilmer

  • QB Aaron "Poppy" Brown, Sr., 5-9, 180 (143 of 226, 2,184 yards, 18 TDs, 9 INTs; 63 carries, 340 yards, 7 TDs)
  • RB/DB Bran Webb, Jr., 5-10, 175 (66 carries, 581 yards, 12 TDs; 10 catches, 115 yards, 1 TD; 12 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
  • WR/DB Morgan Lusty, Sr., 5-9, 150 (30 catches, 713 yards, 7 TDs; 20 tackles, 2 PBUs)
  • WR/DB Red Jones, Sr., 5-11, 150 (37 catches, 493 yards, 3 TDs; 7 carries, 34 yards, 0 TDs; 11 tackles, 2 INTs, 6 PBUs)
  • WR/DB Qua Heath, Sr., 6-2, 175 (20 catches, 351 yards, 5 TDs; 11 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
  • LB Garry Orr, Sr., 6-1, 190 (54 tackles)
  • WR/DB Tra Fluellen, Jr. (16 catches, 207 yards, 1 TD; 4 carries, 24 yards, 0 TDs; 28 tackles, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB Dain Goudarzi, Sr. (72 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack)

 

Just the facts

  • Spring Hill has not defeated Gilmer since 2000. The Buckeyes have 11-straight wins against Spring Hill.
  • Gilmer won last year's meeting, 42-7. Since 2001, Gilmer's average margin of victory against the Panthers has been 43.6 points.
  • Spring Hill is averaging 50.4 points and 417 yards per game -- 258.7 rushing and 158.3 passing.
  • The Panthers' two district losses have come by a combined four points.
  • Spring Hill is allowing 26.3 points per game, and has forced 19 turnovers -- six interceptions and 13 fumbles.
  • Gilmer is averaging 48.6 points and 548.4 yards per game -- 230 rushing and 318.4 passing.
  • Buckeyes receiver Morgan Lusty is averaging 23.8 yards per catch.
  • Gilmer is allowing 36.9 points per game, and has forced eight turnovers -- six interceptions and two fumbles.

 

Key matchup: Gilmer passing attack vs. Spring Hill secondary. It should go without saying at this point, but the best way to beat the Buckeyes is to keep quarterback Aaron "Poppy" Brown and his talented collection of receivers from controlling the game. Gilmer not only averages close to 50 points per game, but it also is putting up almost 550 yards each week, and that all begins with its electrifying signal-caller. Brown is on pace to pass for more than 2,800 yards during the regular season, and what makes him even more dangerous this season is his ability to make plays with his legs.

Spring Hill RB Zach Tulpa. (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Last season, Brown burst onto the scene with more than 5,000 yards passing, but running wasn't really a part of his game in 2016. This year, he has run for at least one touchdown in six of his team's seven games, and he has rushed for at least 52 yards in a game on four occasions. However, if Spring Hill had its choice, it would much rather Brown attempt to win the game with his legs.

Gilmer's passing game has been explosive, especially when senior receiver Morgan Lusty is involved. Lusty has four 100-yard game this season, and he is averaging nearly 24 yards per catch. Spring Hill must find a way to keep the speedy Buckeyes playmaker in front of its defense. Otherwise, the Panthers could quite possibly be starring at their third consecutive district loss.

Don't be surprised if: Spring Hill relies heavily on its running game. One way to limit Brown and the Buckeyes' explosiveness on offense is to play keep-away. The Panthers have two solid running backs in Zach Tulpa and Kiante Stoker, who can certainly wear on opposing defenses. That duo enters Friday's game with a combined 1,351 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. The more success Spring Hill has on the ground, the better its chances of pulling off the upset at Gilmer.