Second-Ranked Tenaha Faces Stern Test at Class 2A Garrison
No. 2 Tenaha Tigers (1-0)
Garrison Bulldogs (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, Garrison
- Tenaha: Terry Ward
- Garrison: Craig Barker
- Tenaha: defeated Joaquin, 47-6
- Garrison: defeated Hemphill, 48-0
- Tenaha: vs. Alto, Sept. 13
- Garrison: at Bullard Brook Hill, Sept. 13
- RB Chavis Gregory, Sr., 5-10, 210 (3 carries, 37 yards vs. Joaquin)
- QB J.R. Hill, Sr., 5-11, 160 (6-of-7, 164 yards, 3 TD; 6 carries, 120 yards, TD vs. Joaquin)
- WR/DB Keontas Davis, Sr., 6-1, 160 (3 catches, 134 yards, 3 TD vs. Joaquin)
- RB Cobe Caraway, Jr., 5-8, 165 (7 carries, 129 yards, 2 TD vs. Joaquin)
- LB Jacoby Ivy, Sr., 5-10, 185 (14 tackles, 1 sack vs. Joaquin)
- DL Denzelle Williams, Sr., 5-11, 190 (6 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack vs. Joaquin)
- QB Andrew Russell, Jr., 5-9, 150 (13 of 27, 301 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Logan Clark, Sr., 5-8, 165 (5 carries, 31 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Demetrius Bennett (9 carries, 82 yards)
- RB Dustin Driscoll (9 carries, 53 yards, 1 TD)
- ATH Cameron Rodriguez, Sr., 5-11, 180 (4 catches, 157 yards, 2 TDs)
- DL Kade Hammer, Sr., 5-11, 220
- ATH Khiran Arrington, Sr., 6-0, 170 (4 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD)
- OL/DL Josh Robison, Sr., 5-10, 238
Just the facts
- Neither team had much trouble in their season openers last week, combining to outscore the opposition 95-6.
- Tenaha, unsurprisingly, took full advantage of its experience edge over Joaquin. The Tigers have 20 starters back from last season’s 1A D-II state runner-up, while the Rams had to replace 14 starters — 8 on defense — from last year’s 10-1 squad.
- The Tigers only ran 32 offensive plays last week, but scored on seven of them while averaging 14.6 yards per play.
- Tenaha rolled up 302 rushing yards in the opener, but only 37 of them belonged to 2012’s leading rusher Gregory.
- Garrison had one of the area’s stingiest defenses a season ago, and it appears the Bulldogs will be that way again this year after posting a shutout in the opener.
- The Bulldogs captured the 2A D-II state title in 2003, and after an 8-20 run from 2006-08, Garrison has posted a record of 44-9 since.
- Garrison was one of Tenaha’s two wins in the Tigers’ 2-4 start to the 2012 season. The six points the Bulldogs scored were their fewest of the year.
Key matchup: Tenaha passing game vs. Garrison secondary. Everyone already had an idea of how good Tenaha’s running game would be with the return of Gregory and Caraway at running back, but Hill had a strong showing last week, completing 6-of-7 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns — all to Davis, who finished with 134 receiving yards. Hill also was a factor in the running game, going for 120 yards and a score on only six attempts, but it was his passing ability that turned heads. Hill struggled at times last season with his accuracy, completing just 46.3 percent of his passes while throwing 20 interceptions. Tenaha likely won’t have it as easy on the ground this week after the Tigers averaged more than 12 yards per attempt against Joaquin. So another big game from Hill and his receivers might be needed.
Garrison’s strength on defense is its ability to stop the run, and you’d have to figure the Bulldogs’ primary defensive focus Friday night will be trying to contain Tenaha’s rushing attack. If they are successful in that endeavor, Garrison may be able to take a few more chances in pass coverage, sending a couple extra rushers to apply pressure on Hill, who looked great last week but wasn’t necessarily challenged by an overmatched and inexperienced Joaquin defense. If the Tenaha running game isn’t as sharp as it was last Friday, expect Garrison to try to take Davis out of the game by putting an extra body on him. Garrison knows that Davis is a threat to score almost every time he touches the ball, so if the Bulldogs can force Hill beyond his first couple of progressions, it may increase the odds of Hill either being sacked or forcing a throw into tight coverage.
Don’t be surprised if: Garrison attempts to slow down the pace with its running game, limiting the amount of touches for Tenaha’s explosive offense. The Bulldogs rushed for 217 yards last week and another strong performance out of its deep collection of running backs could be just what the doctor ordered. For Tenaha, the more times Gregory, Caraway and Davis touch the ball, the greater likelihood the Tigers came away with a victory. Getting off the field defensively is a priority for Tenaha, which hopes to comes away with back-to-back wins over Garrison.