State-Ranked Gladewater + Atlanta Square Off For Control Of District 6-4A Division II
DISTRICT 6-4A DIVISION II
No. 10 Gladewater Bears (5-1, 1-0)
No. 9 Atlanta Rabbits (6-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Rabbit Stadium, Atlanta
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Atlanta: Matt McClure
- Gladewater: vs. Pleasant Grove, Oct. 24
- Atlanta: at Center, Oct. 24
- DT Daylon Mack, Sr., 6-1, 330 (committed to Texas A&M)
- DE Quanterius Turner, Jr., 6-2, 280
- RB James Reese, Sr., 5-9, 175
- FB Justice Centers, Jr., 5-11, 220
- RB/DB Marcello Jackson, Jr., 6-0, 177
- RB Darnell McKnight, Soph., 5-11, 195
- WR Caleb Williams, Jr., 5-11, 160
- DB Daylon "Duke" Gordon, Sr., 5-10, 155
- QB Chase Musgrove, Sr., 5-11, 175
- RB DeQuan Allen, Sr., 6-0, 185
- WR Eddrick King, Sr.
- RB/DB Jeremy Smith, Jr.
- LB Cameron Schulz, Sr., 6-0, 200
- OL Cole Davis, Sr., 5-10, 245
- DB D'Corey Larry, Jr.
- DL Tristan Allen, Soph.
Just the facts
- Gladewater and Atlanta have met 14 times since 1962. The series is tied 7-7 over that time span.
- Gladewater and Atlanta have faced off against one another four times in the playoffs, the most recent was last season's 34-33 Gladewater win.
- Through six games, Gladewater is averaging 41 points per game, while allowing 20.2.
- Gladewater is two wins away from equaling last season's total.
- The combined record of Gladewater's final three opponents -- Pleasant Grove, Spring Hill and Center -- is 8-9.
- Through six games, Atlanta is averaging 46.5 points per game, while allowing 14.2.
- With a win, Atlanta can equal last season's win total of seven.
- The combined record of Atlanta's final three opponents -- Center, Tatum and Spring Hill -- is 6-11.
Key matchup: Atlanta rushing attack vs. Gladewater defensive front. While Atlanta quarterback Chase Musgrove possess the skills to be one of East Texas' best passers, the Rabbits are especially productive on the ground. In last week's win over Pleasant Grove in the District 6-4A Division II opener, Atlanta posted 599 yards of total offense, 372 of which came via the ground game. Between Musgrove, running back DeQuan Allen and receivers Eddrick King and Jeremy Smith, the Rabbits' offense has been among East Texas' most productive units all season long. Atlanta has scored at least 41 points in five of its six games this season, and versatility on offense has been a big reason for that. Despite the big numbers through the air, Atlanta still runs the ball the majority of the time. Last Friday night, the Rabbits ran 60 offensive plays and 45 of them were rushing attempts, so when Atlanta has the ball, the running game is first and foremost on the minds of the Rabbits' players and coaches.
Gladewater has one of East Texas' best defenses, and its play up front on the defensive line is the catalyst. Senior defensive tackle Daylon Mack, a Texas A&M commit, continues to be a disruptive force for the Bears on the D-line. His size, strength and athleticism make Mack almost impossible to stop, even when double- or triple-teamed. Mack and the Gladewater defense's dominance was never more apparent than in last week's statement-making district-opening win over Tatum. The Bears put the clamps down on a normally potent Tatum offense attack, limiting the Eagles to only 127 total yards, including just 62 yards on 24 rushing attempts. Much of Gladewater's defense's success is predicated on a ball-control offense that limits opponents from seeing the field for extended stretches during games. Case in point: Tatum ran just 38 offensive plays in last week's game, as Gladewater's offense dominated time of possession. At one point, Gladewater chewed almost 10 minutes off the clock by going on a 17-play, 79-yard drive in the third quarter of last Friday's game. If Gladewater has similar success on offense this week, the Bears' defense could once again be in good shape for another dominating performance.
Don't be surprised if: There is a playoff atmosphere in Atlanta on Friday night. Gladewater and Atlanta met in a hotly-contested second-round playoff game a season ago at Longview's Lobo Stadium. The Bears came away with a 34-33 win, rallying from a 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. Atlanta, which has several impact players returning from last season, surely remembers how its season came to en end a season ago, so this is bound to be added motivation on the Rabbits' sideline. Usually when two evenly matched teams square off, the deciding factor is often turnovers. Whichever team makes the fewest mistakes Friday night should come out on top, but don't expect either Gladewater or Atlanta to run away from one another. If either of the teams is more equipped to rally from an early deficit it would probably be Atlanta, which asks Musgrove to put the ball in the air at a higher rate than Gladewater quarterback Nick Canaguier. If Gladewater wishes to remain unbeaten in district, the Bears need to avoid the slow start.