Tenaha Defends State Title Throne Against Falls City in 1A D-II Semifinals
Class A Division II
Tenaha Tigers (9-4)
Falls City Beavers (11-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Berry Center, Cypress
Tenaha: Terry Ward
Falls City: Steve Marbach
Road To The Final Four
- Bi-district: bye
- Area: def. Overton, 42-8
- Regional semifinal: def. Bremond, 38-7
- Region III final: def. Frost, 34-30
- Bi-district: bye
- Area: def. Sabinal, 33-0
- Regional semifinal: def. Woodsboro, 46-6
- Region IV final: def. Burton, 29-7
Next week: Winner plays Wellington (13-0) or Munday (13-0) in the 1A Division II state championship, noon Thursday (Dec. 20), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
- QB/DB J.R. Hill, Jr. (91 of 197, 1,371 yards, 17 TDs, 17 INTs; 81 carries, 570 yards, 3 TDs; 62 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries)
- RB/LB Chavis Gregory, Jr. (195 carries, 1,384 yards, 20 TDs; 1 TD catch; 58 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles, 1 kick block)
- LB DeAaron Roland, Sr. (114 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- WR/DB Keontas Davis, Jr. (45 catches, 847 yards, 12 TDs; 65 tackles, 7 INTs, 1 forced fumble)
- DL Denzel Williams, Jr. (86 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- RB/DB Cobe Caraway, Soph. (72 carries, 594 yards, 6 TDs; 59 tackles, 1 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
- WR/DB T.J. Thomas, Soph. (45 carries, 228 yards; 14 catches, 212 yards, 2 TDs; 70 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble)
- WR/DB D'Andre Thomas, Soph. (18 catches, 226 yards, 2 TDs; 51 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
- TE/DL Jacobi Ivy, Jr. (2 TD catches; 82 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- OL/DL Aaron Harris, Soph. (60 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)
- LB Brady Tovar, Jr. (48 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Ca'Detric Robertson, Sr. (55 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB/SS Cameron Soto, Sr. (132 of 237, 1,498 yards, 19 TDs, 12 INTs; 181 carries, 1,361 yards, 24 TDs; 57 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
- WR/SS Dean Gaskamp, Jr. (27 catches, 529 yards, 7 TDs; 18 carries, 152 yards, 3 TDs; 45 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- RB/CB Jon Swierc, Sr. (52 carries, 373 yards, 6 TDs; 61 tackles, 1 sack)
- RB/DB Phillip Lyssy, Sr. (55 carries, 357 yards, 8 TDs; 23 catches, 308 yards, 3 TDs; 70 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT0
- WR/DB Austin Camber, Jr. (1 TD catch; 88 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
- OLB Eric Wiatrek, Jr. (204 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries)
- MLB Eric Beam, Sr. (119 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DE Dylan Cheatham, Sr. (96 tackles, 1 sack)
- RB/OLB Stephen Harlos, Jr. (32 catches, 415 yards, 1 TD; 39 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries)
- CB Tyler Malcolm, Jr. (74 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
Just the facts
- Tenaha averages 30.9 points per game and allows 19.0.
- Falls City averages 34.3 points per game and allows 8.4.
- Tenaha averages 342.5 total yards per game (218.0 rushing, 124.5 passing).
- Falls City QB Cameron Soto has six consecutive 100-yard rushing games, accounting for 71.6 percent of his season rushing total (975 of 1,361 yards) in that span.
- Tenaha has won seven consecutive games.
- The Tigers have beaten their last seven opponents by a cumulative score of 283-105.
- Falls City has won nine consecutive games.
- The Beavers have beaten their last nine opponents by a cumulative score of 344-49.
- Tenaha is playing for its third state championship appearance since 1998.
- The Tigers won state championships in 1998 and last season and are the only remaining defending state champion from 2011.
- Falls City won the 2010 Class A Division II state title, making Friday's game in Cypress a matchup of the last two 1A D-II champions.
Key matchup: Tenaha's defense vs. Falls City QB Cameron Soto. A glance at Falls City's offensive statistics shows that the Beavers' attack begins and ends with Cameron Soto. The senior signal caller has thrown for almost 1,500 yards and run for almost 1,400, accounting for 66.7 percent (44 of 66) of Falls City's touchdowns. In other words, contain Soto and you contain the Beavers. Soto's rushing total of 1,361 yards is less than half of the Beavers' team total on the ground, but no other Beaver has rushed for more than 373 yards. Tenaha's defensive front must be prepared for Falls City's assortment of skill players, but you better believe that linemen Jacobi Ivy and Denzel Williams and linebackers DeAaron Roland and Chavis Gregory will give extra attention to Soto. To call him the engine of the Beavers' offense is an understatement.
- Tenaha coach Terry Ward on his team's mentality entering the state semifinals: "The kids are very excited. They’re confident, but not overconfident. They also know that we didn’t play a perfect football game the other night, but we were able to come away with a win. They know there are areas we need to get better at and improve on this week. Right now, they're excited and that's a good thing to be.”
- Ward on Falls City's experience in big games: "All of their seniors were sophomores when they won it (in 2010). They definitely have the pedigree. They made the regional finals last year, so they’ve won a lot of football games over the last couple of years. They're very well-coached and disciplined, especially defensively right now. They're not allowing very many touchdowns and I think they have five or six shutouts on the year."
Don't be surprised if: Tenaha plays a cleaner ball game than it played against Frost, when the Tigers suffered four turnovers and squeaked by the Polar Bears in a four-point contest. That's also what coach Terry Ward and the Tigers need against a Falls City team that rolled through Region IV, beating three opponents 108-13. If Tenaha turns over the ball four times again, the Tigers will be the final defending state champion to fall, making 2012 a season with 10 new champions across all brackets. But if Tenaha protects the ball and plays the kind of defense that the Tigers have maintained since the first week of November -- they've allowed 51 points in five games, 30 of which came in last week's win, in that span -- Tenaha has a definite at shot at returning to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, perhaps for a title-round rematch with Munday.