REDWATER DRAGONS
VS.
WHITE OAK ROUGHNECKS

7:30 p.m. tonight
Buckeye Stadium, Gilmer
Coaches
Redwater: Tommy Graf
White Oak: Gerry Stanford
Next week
Redwater: at Quitman
White Oak: vs. Bullard
Playmakers
Redwater
  • RB Hunter Cox
  • LB Jared Bristow
  • LB Neo Hudson
  • OL Jacobie Briscoe
  • TE Blake Bentley
White Oak
  • RB Hunter Owens, Sr., 5-11, 205
  • ATH Darion Barr, Sr., 6-0, 190
  • WR Hayden Nichols, Jr., 6-2, 215
  • OL Jason Heim, Jr., 6-1, 245
  • DL Dee Sutton, Jr., 5-11, 235
  • ATH Dylan Gale, Jr., 5-8, 145
  • WR/DB Jansen McCurdy, Jr., 6-1, 170
Just the facts
  • Redwater has reached the playoffs each of the last two seasons. The Dragons have never made three consecutive playoff trips.
  • White Oak returns 13 starters, including seven from an offense that averaged 37.1 points per game last season.
  • Redwater linebacker Jared Bristow was a unanimous first-team all-district selection in 2011, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine.
  • White Oak welcomes back two players who ran for at least 500 yards apiece in 2011: Hunter Owens (1,100 yards) and Darion Barr (500 yards). Hayden Nichols caught 20 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Redwater was on average two scores better than its opponents last season. The Dragons averaged 35.2 points per game and allowed 20.6.
  • White Oak narrowly missed the playoffs a year ago. The Roughnecks went 3-2 in district and their two losses were by a combined seven points.

Key matchup: Redwater's linebackers vs. White Oak's ball carriers. Redwater's linebacking corps appears to be the strength of the Dragons' defense with Jared Bristow and Neo Hudson. They'll be responsible for reading what White Oak skill players such as Darion Barr and Hunter Owens are doing on each play. White Oak, which runs a multiple offense that bases out of a spread, can make that difficult, so the preparation leading up to the game could mean even more in this matchup than it normally does. That could be an advantage for White Oak since Redwater will be prepping for a game for the first time under first-year coach Tommy Graf.

Don't be surprised if: White Oak finds ways to move the ball despite not having a returning starting quarterback. Hunter Owens, Darion Barr, and Hayden Nichols are good weapons that will give Redwater's defense problems. Redwater may have several veterans back from last year's defense, but that unit allowed 24.5 points per game, which is no better than an average performance statistically speaking. White Oak enters the second year under coach Gerry Stanford, which gives the Roughnecks an edge against a team that experienced a coaching change in the offseason.