CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Region III Semifinal

Carthage Bulldogs (9-2)

vs.

No. 10 Henderson Lions (11-1)

6 p.m. Friday
Lobo Stadium, Longview

 

Coaches

  • Carthage: Scott Surratt
  • Henderson: Phil Castles

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces Stafford or Bridge City, Class 4A Division I quarterfinal

 

Playmakers

Carthage

  • RB Keaontay Ingram, Jr., 5-11, 198 (204 carries, 1,514 yards, 22 TDs; 30 catches, 335 yards, 2 TDs)
  • QB Kason Davis, Sr., 6-2, 180 (155 of 264, 2,327 yards, 25 TDs, 7 INTs)
  • OL Tanner Elliott, Sr., 6-4, 280
  • WR Dee Bowens, Jr., 5-7, 140 (47 catches, 752 yards, 11 TDs)
  • WR Dewaylon Ingram, Jr., 6-0, 160 (45 catches, 742 yards, 7 TDs)
  • DE Tre Gatlin, Sr., 6-6, 250 (77 tackles, 16 for loss, 3 sacks, 17 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 4 PBUs)
  • LB Mykel Gates, Jr., 6-0, 222 (111 tackles, 14 for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs)
  • CB Mekhi Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 180 (30 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 9 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)

 

Henderson

  • WR/S Trestan Ebner, Sr., 5-11, 190 (49 catches, 966 yards, 16 TDs; 11 carries, 38 yards, 3 TDs; 50 tackles, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 3 defensive TDs; committed to TCU)
  • RB Lakendrick VanZandt, Sr., 6-1, 196 (136 carries, 1,327 yards, 18 TDs; 13 catches, 228 yards, 2 TDs; committed to TCU)
  • QB Trae Hall, Jr., 6-3, 185 (118 of 167, 1,894 yards, 24 TDs, 3 INTs; 70 carries, 682 yards, 6 TDs)
  • WR Matthew Childers, Sr., 6-5, 185 (38 catches, 604 yards, 6 TDs; 21 carries, 139 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/CB Tariq Gray, Sr., 5-10, 184 (9 catches, 186 yards, 1 TD; 24 tackles, 2 INTs, 8 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 defensive TD)
  • OL Raini Dorman, Sr., 6-2, 245
  • LB Josh Mapps, Sr., 5-9, 150 (126 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 4 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
  • LB Ty Blanton, Jr., 6-1, 175 (120 tackles, 16 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 PBU)

 

Just the facts

  • This is the 74th meeting between Henderson and Carthage. Henderson leads the all-time series, 40-30-3, which includes this season's matchup -- a 36-28 Lions win, Sept. 30.
  • Carthage is 37-5 (.881) in the playoffs under coach Scott Surratt. Henderson is 13-3 (.813) in the postseason since 2010.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging 35.6 points and 380.8 yards per game -- 160.8 rushing and 220 passing.
  • In the regular-season meeting with Henderson, Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram put up 234 yards of offense (154 rushing) and scored three touchdowns.
  • Carthage allows 171.7 rushing yards per game, but gave up 363 against Henderson this season.
  • Henderson is averaging 45.6 points and 434.4 yards per game -- 255.7 rushing and 178.7 passing
  • In the Lions' win over Carthage in Week 6, Henderson running back Lakendrick VanZandt rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Henderson jumped out to a 22-0 in the first 14 minutes of its win over Carthage.

 

Henderson's Lakendrick VanZandt breaks free for a 72-yard touchdown during the Lions' 36-28 win at Carthage on Sept. 30.

Key matchup: Henderson rushing attack vs. Carthage defensive front. The Henderson Lions do several things well; it's why they're in the third round of the playoffs, and seeking 12 wins in a season for the first time since their state-championship winning campaign of 2010.

Henderson QB Trae Hall. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Perhaps their best attribute is their running game. It's been a key to success all season long, and it carried them to 36-28 win over Carthage during the regular season. Henderson completed only three passes that night, but thanks to a 22-0 start fueled by the running of senior TCU commit Lakendrick VanZandt and the clutch ground gains of junior quarterback Trae Hall in the second half, the Lions were able to wear down the Carthage defense. VanZandt put up 194 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown, on only 17 carries. Hall, meanwhile, who connected for two touchdowns on his three completions, added 114 yards on the ground as Henderson collected 343 rushing yards as a team. The duo was at it again in last win's 29-15 win over previously unbeaten El Campo by combining for 270 rushing yards.

Carthage's Tre Gatlin (90) forces a Center fumble during their game Oct. 14 in Carthage. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

For most of the season, Carthage's run defense has been solid. The Bulldogs come into Friday's game allowing a modest 171.1 rushing yards per game, but against arguably their three toughest opponents this season -- Henderson, Kilgore, and Silsbee -- the Dawgs' performance against the run was less than stellar. In addition to the 363 it allowed to Henderson, Carthage surrendered 314 rushing yards in a 41-34 loss to Kilgore, and a season-worst 394 in its narrow, 34-30 bi-district playoff win over Silsbee. Unlike Kilgore and Silsbee, Henderson presents a much more balanced offensive approach, which makes taking away one aspect the opposing offense more difficult. Although Hall is a capable passer (71 percent completion percentage, 24:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio) with one of the most explosive receivers in the state Trestan Ebner (49 catches, 966 yards, 16 TD's) at his disposal, Carthage's defense has been much more vulnerable against the run. If the Bulldogs are able to put Henderson in long down-and-distances, Carthage believes it has the shut-down weapons in the secondary to match up with Henderson's receivers. Junior Mekhi Colbert and senior Nic Moore might be East Texas' top cornerback tandem.

Carthage QB Kason Davis. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Carthage's receivers are given multiple one-on-one opportunities by the Henderson defense. They key to stopping the Bulldogs' offense is containing their star junior running back Keaontay Ingram, who has scored 24 touchdowns on the year and is averaging almost 170 yards from scrimmage. Ingram almost single-handedly rescued Carthage from its disastrous start vs. Henderson during the regular season. He finished the night with 154 yards and two touchdowns rushing, and caught four passes for 80 yards and a TD.

Henderson WR/S Trestan Ebner. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Ingram's 6-yard scoring run late in the second quarter cut Henderson's lead to 22-7, and after a potentially crippling 72-yard touchdown run by VanZandt on the ensuing series, scored from 59 yards on a screen pass with 32 seconds until halftime to close the gap to 29-13. His final score of the night cut the Lions' lead to a touchdown with a little less than four minutes remaining in the game. Expect Henderson to load the box in an effort to stop Ingram from having a similar impact Friday, which may present opportunities for quarterback Kason Davis in the passing game. Receivers Dee Bowens and Dewaylon Ingram have combined for 18 touchdown receptions on the year, and are capable of winning in single coverage if the given the chance. Carthage will need a big performance from Davis, who has completed less than 59 percent of his passes on the year.