Reigning Champion Carthage Embarks On Playoffs Saturday vs. Little Cypress-Mauriceville
CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Region III Bi-District Playoff
Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears (5-5)
Carthage Bulldogs (5-5)
7 p.m. Saturday
Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
- LCM: Randy Crouch
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- LCM: lost to Huffman Hargrave, 9-3
- Carthage: def. Chapel Hill, 28-21
- Winner faces El Campo-Houston Furr winner, Class 4A Division I area playoff.
- RB Robert Green, Sr., 5-9, 170 (257 carries, 1,257 yards, 17 TDs; 13 catches, 138 yards, TD)
- QB Jake Sonnier, Sr., 6-2, 210 (83 of 157, 1,137 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs)
- WR Cody Roddy, Sr. (21 catches, 354 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Reese Bromley, Sr., 5-9, 170 (27 catches, 288 yards)
- WR Trey Chandler, Sr., 5-7, 160 (18 catches, 279 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL/DL Ethan Reed, Sr., 6-4, 280
- OL/DL Marvis Brown, Sr., 6-5, 320
- OL/DL Taylor Hulsey, Sr., 6-1, 255
- TE/DE Jarrod McLin, Jr., 6-3, 220 (9 catches, 106 yards, TD)
- LB James Marshall, Sr., 6-0, 200
- QB Jarod Blissett, Jr., 6-2, 200 (152 of 294, 2,114 yards, 20 TDs, 7 INTs)
- ATH Hunter Townsend, Fr. (24 carries, 213 yards; 15 catches, 191 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jakeldric Jackson, Jr., 5-9, 170 (50 catches, 809 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Kirston Ingram, Jr., 5-9, 170 (20 catches, 377 yards, TD)
- RB De'Airreus Hearn, Jr., 5-6, 160 (29 carries, 308 yards, 2 TDs; 1 catch, 37 yards, TD)
- RB Brewster Griffith, Soph. (16 carries, 80 yards, TD; 4 catches, 42 yards, 2 TDs)
Just the facts
- Carthage is 30-3 under head coach Scott Surratt in the playoffs, and 7-0 in first-round games.
- The last time Carthage won less than six games in the regular season was 2001.
- The cumulative record of the five teams that have defeated Carthage this season -- Hallsville, Nacogdoches, Gladewater, Gilmer and Henderson -- is 40-10.
- Carthage is averaging 26.2 points and 364 yards per game -- 151.9 rushing and 212.1 passing.
- During its current four-game winning streak, Carthage is averaging 36.5 points and 402.5 yards per game -- 193.8 rushing and 208.7 passing.
- Little Cypress-Mauriceville is averaging 21.7 points and 280.7 yards per game -- 150.7 rushing and 130 passing.
- The cumulative record of the five teams that have defeated LCM this season -- West Orange-Stark, Barbers Hill, Hardin-Jefferson, Jasper and Huffman Hargrave -- is 39-11.
- LCM was held to 74 rushing yards in last week's 9-3 loss to Huffman Hargrave.
Key matchup: Carthage passing game vs. Little Cypress-Mauriceville secondary. Carthage has been decimated by injury at the running back position this season, and that's one of the reasons why rushing production is down for the Bulldogs. Fortunately for head coach Scott Surratt, junior quarterback Jarod Blissett and his collection of receivers are doing their best to pick up the slack. Neither Mykel Gates or Ravodney Hardy dressed out in last week's 28-21 win at Chapel Hill, which made running the ball a chore for Carthage. It was such a problem early on that Surratt called designed running plays for Blissett, which ended up being key plays in the Bulldogs' final scoring drive of the night. Blissett's hard-nosed runs put Carthage in Chapel Hill territory, and junior back De'Airreus Hearn did the rest by going 25 yards on two carries to finish off the drive. Hardy is out for the season, while Gates' timetable is uncertain at this point. So once again, Carthage may have rely on the passing game to carry it to victory. Blissett has thrown for more than 2,100 yards, while the duo of Jakeldric Jackson and Kirston Ingram have slowly but surely come on down the stretch.
In last week's 9-3 loss to Huffman Hargrave, the LCM defense did a number on the Falcons' explosive passing attack. Hargrave managed just 96 passing yards on 11 of 26 completions, which included three interceptions. The Bears grounded a Hargrave offense that averages more than 400 yards per game to just 230 on the night. LCM could definitely use another defensive performance like that in this week's playoff matchup against Carthage. If the Bulldogs are unable to run the ball effectively, Carthage has enough faith in Blissett and his emerging receiving corps to get the job done. At that point it will up be to LCM to make life difficult on Carthage's offense. Carthage was below average offensively in the first half of last week's win. Blissett threw two interceptions and struggled with accuracy all night long, which could be a big factor in Saturday's game if Carthage gets out of the gate slow for the second consecutive week. Carthage would like nothing more for its running game to dictate the tempo, but if it has difficulty finding its footing, LCM's defense must be ready for the Bulldogs' passing attack.
Don't be surprised if: Carthage learns from last week and begins Saturday's game with more precision on the offensive end. There wasn't much pressure on Carthage last week since it had already secured a postseason berth, so the urgency may not have been there for the Bulldogs at the beginning of the game. With no more games guaranteed, Carthage may not be as fortunate if it finds itself in an early hole. Blissett hit Jackson in stride for a 63-yard gain on the game's first play last week, setting up a score inside the first two minutes of the contest. But after that point, it was a struggle for Carthage the rest of the first half. The challenge for Carthage this week is to start strong and carry that momentum on through the entirety of the game. As each team enters with .500 records, it's obvious that both have experienced their ups and downs on the season, so handling adversity won't be a new experience for either squad. The outcome may ultimately be decided by which team deals with negative circumstances the best.