Class 3A Division I

Region II Bi-District Playoff

Sabine Cardinals (6-4)

Vs.

Winnsboro Red Raiders (7-3)

7 p.m. Thursday
Buckeye Stadium, Gilmer

 

Coaches
  • Sabine: Mark Comfort
  • Winnsboro: Steve Pinnell

 

Last week
  • Sabine: defeated Harmony, 65-20
  • Winnsboro: defeated Pattonville Prairiland, 28-12

 

Next week
  • Winner plays Sunnyvale-Whitesboro winner in Class 3A Division I area round.

 

Playmakers

Sabine

  • QB Tanner Sharp, Sr., 6-2, 210 (56 of 123, 888 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs, 90 carries, 428 yards, 11 TDs)
  • WR Oshean Jagot, Sr., 5-11, 170 (22 catches, 500 yards, 6 touchdowns)
  • C/LB Grant Key, Sr. (114 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)
  • LB Sam Smith, Sr. (110 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries)
  • WR/CB Tristan Leroy, Sr. (26 tackles, 3 INTs)

 

Winnsboro

  • QB Lucas Pinnell, Jr. (138 carries, 616 yards, 19 TDs, 17 of 51, 345 yards, 2 TDs, 5 INTs)
  • RB Ethan Rakich. Jr. (103 carries, 669 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Tedrick Shepherd, Sr. (81 carries, 508 yards, 6 TDs)

 

Just the facts
  • Sabine is making its first playoff appearance since 1985.
  • Sabine also is seeking its first postseason win in school history.
  • Winnsboro made the playoffs last season and fell in the bi-district round. The program has not missed the postseason since 2010.
  • The two teams played a tough non-district game against each other on Sept. 19. It took four overtimes to complete. Winnsboro won, 23-20.
  • Sabine rallied for a fourth quarter touchdown to tie the game, but a first quarter safety against the Cardinals was the difference in forcing overtime.
  • Winnsboro and Sabine went scoreless in the first two overtimes, traded touchdowns with failed extra point conversions in overtime and the Red Raiders won the game with a field goal.
  • Winnsboro is the No. 2 seed from District 7-3A Division I. Sabine was the No. 3 finisher in District 8-3A Division I.
  • Both teams play very good defense. Sabine forced 30 turnovers in the regular season while Winnsboro averaged about 24 points against per game.

 

Key matchup: Sabine's offense versus Winnsboro's defense. We'll go right back to the well. The Cardinals lost to the Red Raiders in September because of a first quarter safety. Without that, its defense did the job to escape with a two-point win rather than a four overtime loss.

Quarterback Tanner Sharp does not cut it loose very often, but he has a strong arm the team rode to a state 7-on-7 tournament appearance in July. He also is an effective runner. The signal caller leads the team in rushing yardage with 428 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 90 carries.

Sabine's offense shares the wealth. Cody Sauce, Dain Duncan, Tevin Roberts, Sam Smith and Tyler Mustin are all capable of hitting the 300-yard mark with one big run. Oshean Jagot leads all receivers by about a 400-yard margin with 500 yards on 22 catches.

Considering a big makeup of the Cardinals' offense runs through Sharp, however, Winnsboro's defense can key in on him and set itself up for a successful day. If Sabine's quarterback thrives, it's going to be a good night for his group.

When the tables are turned, the Red Raiders' offensive production is similar. Sabine forced 30 turnovers in the regular season.

Don't be surprised if: Thursday's game is similar to the regular season meeting between the two teams. Both sides have extremely strong defenses and modest offenses that were capable of brining them this far.

Playing a regular season opponent in the playoffs is a coach's nightmare. There are no secrets and both teams have a sense of what they need to do to get the win.

Expect a well-played game that is not decided until the final quarter -- or later.