Tatum, Jefferson Meet in Matchup of Teams Tangled Atop 9-2A D-I Standings
Tatum Eagles (6-2, 2-1)
Jefferson (7-1, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jerry Bennett Field at W.F. Lockett Stadium, Jefferson
Tatum: Andy Evans
Jefferson: Jerry Bennett
Tatum: def. Sabine, 48-21
Jefferson: def. Harmony, 36-22
Tatum: at Harmony
Jefferson: vs. White Oak
- RB Shaquille Johnson, Sr., 5-5, 155
- QB Darian Brooks, Sr., 6-2, 200
- LB Kiano Lucas, Sr., 6-0, 210
- CB C.J. Whitaker, Sr., 5-8, 165
- QB/FS Javolick Garrett, Sr., 6-0, 180
- OL/DL Darius Whiting, Sr., 6-0, 265
- DT Tristan Durden, Sr., 6-4, 292
- LB Kyshaun Smith, Soph., 6-1, 185
- RB Deion Williams, Sr., 5-8, 180 (132 carries, 1,252 yards, 20 TDs)
- QB Brayden Varnell, Jr. (49 of 76, 837 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT; 58 carries, 176 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Devonte Singleton, Sr., 6-3, 180 (113 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- LB Chris Smith, Jr., 5-11, 185 (104 tackles, 17 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- TE/WR Quincy Clements, Sr. (15 catches, 303 yards, 3 TDs)
- ATH LaDarius Holt, Sr., 5-8, 160 (14 catches, 192 yards, 2 TDs; 33 carries, 169 yards, 1 TD; 38 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
- OL/DT Landon Templin, Jr., 6-3, 280 (64 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack)
- OL Ryan Cox, Soph., 6-5, 275
Just the facts
- Tatum averages 32.1 points per game and allows 21.0.
- Jefferson averages 36.0 points per game and yields 18.9.
- Both teams received their lone District 9-2A Division I loss from Troup: Tatum lost 14-10 at home to Troup, while Jefferson lost 26-22 at Troup.
- Both teams have beaten Sabine: Tatum won 48-21 at Sabine, Jefferson beat Sabine 50-20 at home.
- Tatum is 12-5 all-time vs. Jefferson.
- Tatum beat Jefferson 28-27 in 2011.
Key matchup: Jefferson's running game vs. Tatum's defensive front. It's no secret that Deion Williams is Jefferson's workhorse. Williams averages 156.9 rushing yards per game and 9.5 yards per carry. He's among the East Texas leaders in scoring as well, averaging 15 points per game. Quarterback Braydon Varnell and receivers Quincy Clements and LaDarius Holt have done a good job of helping balance Jefferson's run-heavy attack, but the fact remains that if you stop the Bulldogs' ground game, you likely stop their entire offense. A large, physical Tatum defensive front led by middle linebacker Kiano Lucas is tasked with doing that. The Eagles can play a lot of size up front to clog running lanes. Darius Whiting, Tristan Durden, and Cambron Beall are all more than 260 pounds. That should provide some interesting matchups if those guys get on the field defensively because Jefferson has some size on its offensive line, including 6-foot-5, 275-pound sophomore Ryan Cox. As always, line play and who wins it will have a huge impact on the outcome of this pivotal District 9-2A Division I contest.
Don't be surprised if: This game goes down to the wire, just like all the other 9-2A Division I games involving Tatum, Jefferson, White Oak, and Troup. Those four teams are tied atop the district standings, each with a 2-1 league record. Don't even try to figure out the tie-breaker situation; just let this thing play out this week and next week. While the four-way tie may cause a lot of heartburn for the fans of the four aforementioned teams, these games should be great. Jefferson and Tatum will put a lot of athletes on the field on both sides of the ball. The linebacker position is especially intriguing in this contest. Tatum's Kiano Lucas and Kyshaun Smith are always solid, while Jefferson's DeVonte Singleton, Chris Smith, and Sadarius Figures are among the top tacklers in East Texas. That should make for interesting matchups in the running game for both teams. This game is shaping up to be a great one.