Tatum Defense Faces Potent Franklin Offense in Third-Round Matchup
Class 2A Division I Region III
Tatum Eagles (9-2)
Franklin Lions (9-2)
7 p.m. Friday
Bruce Field, Athens
Tatum: Andy Evans
Franklin: Mike Hedrick
Road To Regionals
- Bi-district: bye
- Area: def. Godley, 41-8
- Bi-district: bye
- Area: def. Winnie East Chambers, 34-14
Next week: Winner plays Newton (11-0) or Grandview (9-2) in the 2A Division I Region III final.
- LB Kiano Lucas, Sr., 6-0, 210
- DB Javolick Garrett, Sr., 6-0, 180 (7 INTs)
- OL/DL Darius Whiting, Sr., 6-0, 265
- QB Darian Brooks, Sr., 6-2, 200
- RB Shaq Johnson, Sr., 5-5, 155
- WR/CB C.J. Whitaker, Sr., 5-8, 165
- LB Kyshaun Smith, Soph., 6-1, 185
- DB Klifton Willis, Jr., 6-0, 180
- DT Keaton Blanton, Jr., 6-4, 320
- ATH Toby Henderson, Sr., 5-9, 180
- QB Dylan Smitherman (1 TD pass last week vs. East Chambers)
- DB Jacob Dorsett (2 INTs last week vs. East Chambers)
- RB Morgan Brewer (1 rush TD last week vs. East Chambers)
- ATH Hayden Luhn (87 rush yards, 1 INT last week vs. East Chambers)
- DB Eric Hawkins (1 INT last week vs. East Chambers)
- RB Adam Lopez (70 rush yards last week vs. East Chambers)
Just the facts
- Tatum averages 32.7 points per game and allows 18.6.
- Franklin averages 52.3 points per game and allows 28.6.
- Tatum has won four consecutive games.
- Tatum's won by 23.4 points per game during that span.
- Franklin has won six consecutive games.
- Franklin's won by 30.7 points per game during that stretch.
- Tatum has not scored more than 48 points in a game this season.
- Franklin has scored 48 or more points seven times.
- Tatum has held six opponents to 15 or fewer points.
- Franklin has held two opponents to less than 15 points.
Key matchup: Franklin's run-heavy offense vs. Tatum's defensive front. Franklin runs the type of offense that experts always say you have to defend with "assignment football." That is, a Slot T- and Wing T-based, run-heavy attack that has absolutely pounded the majority of its foes in 2012. Franklin scores points like an uptempo spread team. The Lions have scored at least 60 points five times, including outputs of 80 and 82 points in non-district blowouts of Caldwell and Palestine Westwood. Tatum counters with a hefty defensive front spearheaded by 265-pound senior Darius Whiting and 320-pound junior Keaton Blanton. Then there's senior linebacker Kiano Lucas and sophomore linebacker Kyshaun Smith playing behind that line to give the Eagles two fast, physical players to help them play the gaps against a run-oriented team such as Franklin. Like a spread offense, the T-based schemes are often hard to completely shut down. Meaning, they'll find ways to get yards, and you simply have to eventually force them off the field without giving up points rather than stringing together three-and-out after three-and-out. If that's the case, Javolick Garrett and the Tatum secondary need to be ready to come up in run support.
Don't be surprised if: This is one of the best games involving East Texas teams this weekend. Friday's game in Athens is the classic contrast in styles, pitting Franklin's high-powered, high-scoring ground attack against a stingy Tatum defense that has the Eagles poised to make another regional championship appearance. Expect Floyd, Adam Lopez, and Hayden Luhn to get acquainted with Kiano Lucas, Kyshaun Smith, and the Tatum linebackers plenty of times Friday night at Bruce Field.