Tatum + White Oak Face Off in District 9-2A D-I Opener
No. 7 Tatum Eagles (4-1, 0-0)
White Oak Roughnecks (4-1, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Roughneck Stadium, White Oak
Tatum: Andy Evans
White Oak: Gerry Stanford
Tatum: def. Diboll, 38-6
White Oak: idle
Tatum: vs. Troup
White Oak: vs. Harmony
- RB Shaq Johnson, Sr., 5-5, 155
- QB Darian Brooks, Sr., 6-2, 200
- LB Kiano Lucas, Sr., 6-0, 210
- OG Darius Whiting, Sr., 6-0, 265
- DT Tristan Durden, Sr., 6-4, 292
- RB/DB C.J. Whitaker, Sr., 5-8, 165
- ATH Javolick Garrett, Sr., 6-0, 180
- QB Dylan Gale
- ATH Darion Barr, Sr., 6-0, 190
- WR/DB Jansen McCurdy, Jr., 6-0, 170
- RB Hunter Owens, Sr., 5-11, 205
- WR Hayden Nichols, Jr., 6-2, 215
- OL Jason Heim, Jr., 6-1, 245
- ATH Gabe Michael, Jr., 6-1, 170
Just the facts
- Tatum and White oak have met 16 times since 1990 with Tatum holding a 15-1 record. The Roughnecks' only win came in 1999, a 32-31 victory.
- Andy Evans has built one of the top 2A programs in the state. Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Tatum has a record of 92-21 with state titles in 2005 and 2006.
- The Eagles narrowly escaped with a 44-42 victory over White Oak last season.
- White Oak is off to a 4-1 start for the first time since 2009. The Roughnecks have not won 10 or more games in a season since 1971.
- Tatum is averaging 34.2 points per game on offense, while the Eagles defense is allowing 22.4.
- White Oak's offense puts up 24.4 points per outing. Meanwhile, the Roughnecks defense is giving up 25.6.
Key matchup: White Oak running game vs. Tatum defensive front. Gerry Stanford and the Roughnecks would prefer to keep things on the ground with Dorian Barr and Hunter Owens, but that's easier said than done against a big and fast Tatum defense. Running against big defensive tackle Tristan Durden and linebacker Kiano Lucas has been hard to come by for opposing offenses so far in 2012. If the Roughnecks hope to come away with the upset, their runners will need to find holes up the middle because running sideline to sideline against the speed of Tatum is a path to nowhere. But in order to have success running up the middle, White Oak's blockers will need to keep Durden and Lucas occupied long enough for the backs to get to the second level of Tatum's defense.
Don't be surprised if: Tatum's dynamic duo of running back Shaq Johnson and quarterback Darian Brooks exploit a White Oak defense that hasn't been tested since a 52-6 loss to Class 3A Bullard. Tatum's non-district schedule was filled with three 3A programs (Center, Diboll and Pleasant Grove) and a pair of quality 2A opponents (Arp and Winnsboro). That kind of non-district slate should have prepared Tatum well for its district opener against White Oak.