Class A Division II
State Semifinal

Tenaha Tigers (11-1)

vs.

Falls City Beavers (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Waco ISD Stadium

 

Coaches
  • Tenaha: Terry Ward
  • Falls City: Steve Marbach

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Winner faces Wellington (12-0) or Albany (13-0) in the 1A D-II state championship, 1 p.m. Dec. 19, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

 

Playmakers

Tenaha

  • RB/LB Chavis Gregory, Sr., 5-10, 210 (136 carries, 1,363 yards, 17 TDs; 10 catches, 134 yards, 6 TDs; 61 tackles, 8 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 kick block, 1 punt block)
  • WR/DB Keontas Davis, Sr., 6-1, 160 (24 catches, 571 yards, 6 TDs; 1 rush TD; 47 tackles, 7 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • RB/DL Denzelle Williams, Sr., 5-11, 190 (20 carries, 148 yards, 3 TDs; 81 tackles, 31 for loss, 15 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries)
  • QB J.R. Hill, Sr., 5-11, 160 (69 of 121, 1,228 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs; 74 carries, 461 yards, 5 TDs)
  • DE/LB Jacoby Ivy, Sr., 5-10, 185 (78 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
  • RB/LB T.J. Thomas, Jr. (60 carries, 380 yards, 5 TDs; 59 tackles, 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries)
  • WR/DB D’andre Thomas, Jr., 6-1, 160 (19 catches, 320 yards, 3 TDs; 1 rush TD; 32 tackles, 4 for loss)
  • DL Blaine Cummings, Soph. (76 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 punt block)
  • LB DeMarcus Perry, Jr. (53 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack)
  • OL/LB Tristan Green, Sr. (47 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • SS Markaevus Reed, Jr. (12 tackles, 1 fumble recovery in the playoffs)

 

Falls City

  • ATH Justin Twine, Sr., 5-10, 190 (85 carries, 1,541 yards, 25 TDs; 8 catches, 200 yards, 4 TDs; 17 of 30, 269 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 50 tackles, 2 INTs)
  • QB Dean Gaskamp, Sr. (49 of 89, 818 yards, 14 TDs, 1 INT; 113 carries, 962 yards, 12 TDs; 6 catches, 144 yards, 2 TDs)
  • LB Eric Wiatrek, Sr. (219 tackles, 8 for loss, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries)
  • FB/LB David Brodsky, Sr. (57 carries, 428 yards, 4 TDs; 11 catches, 170 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR/DB Austen Camber, Sr. (20 catches, 363 yards, 6 TDs; 75 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery)
  • LB/DB Tyler Malcolm, Sr. (131 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries)
  • OL/LB Mitch Lyssy, Soph. (99 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • RB/CB Kendall Kanak, Sr. (42 carries, 318 yards, 4 TDs; 1 receiving TD)
  • RB/LB Stephen Harlos, Jr. (17 catches, 194 yards, 6 TDs; 72 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • WR/DB Cody Houdmann, Jr. (10 catches, 189 yards, 2 TDs; 42 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • RB/DE Joseph Swierc, Soph. (22 carries, 205 yards, 2 TDs; 1 receiving TD; 67 tackles, 7 for loss)

 

Just the facts
  • Tenaha beat Falls City 42-14 in last season's 1A D-II state semifinals.
  • Tenaha is playing for its third consecutive state championship berth.
  • The Tigers won the 2011 crown 52-28 vs. Munday before falling 42-14 in a rematch a year ago.
  • Falls City averages 48.6 points per game and allows 4.3.
  • Tenaha averages 40.2 points per game and allows 9.3.
  • Falls City has recorded nine shutouts in 13 games.
  • Tenaha has three shutouts in 12 games.
  • Falls City has scored at least 50 points eight times this season.
  • Tenaha has eclipsed the half-century mark three times in 2013.
  • Falls City went 3-0 against Class 2A teams this season. The Beavers beat 9-3 Jourdanton (34-28), 10-3 Poth (36-0), and 7-5 Stockdale (16-8).
  • Tenaha went 1-1 vs. 2A opponents this season. The Tigers lost to 11-1 Garrison (17-10) and beat 1-9 Sabine (41-29).
  • Tenaha senior defensive tackle Denzelle Williams has registered 62 tackles for loss and 28 sacks since the start of the 2012 season.
  • Falls City standout Justin Twine, who averages 18.1 yards per carry, transferred from Hemphill in the offseason. Twine is committed to TCU for baseball, but holds a Baylor football offer.
  • Rushing and receiving combined, Twine averages 18.7 yards per touch on offense, where he has scored 29 total touchdowns. Twine averages one touchdown every 3.2 touches.
  • Tenaha senior standout Chavis Gregory needs 107 rushing yards to reach the 5,000-yard mark for his career. Gregory's 4,893 career rushing yards accompany 62 career rushing touchdowns.

 

Key matchup: Tenaha's defensive front vs. Falls City's running game. To be more specific about that Falls City running game, Justin Twine. While the Beavers boast multiple ball-carrying options, including Dean Gaskamp and David Brodsky, Twine is the gamebreaker.

Tenaha's T.J. Thomas goes in for a touchdown during the Tigers' 63-8 second-round playoff win vs. Frost in Lindale. (Ray Jackson, ETSN.fm)

There's no doubt that the majority of the Tigers' defensive attention will center on Twine, an athletic runner who can be physical when he needs to be. After moving to Falls City from Hemphill in the offseason, Twine has been a difference-maker all season. An injury forced him to miss virtually all of his junior season in 2012 after a monster sophomore campaign in 2011, but Twine hasn't missed a beat.

Tenaha needs a big game from its talented and athletic defensive front. As always, senior Denzelle Williams is the focal point. For the second consecutive season, Williams has eclipsed 30 tackles for loss and is the tip of the spear for a Tiger defense holding opponents to fewer than 10 points per game.

To contain Twine, Gaskamp, Brodsky, and the rest of Falls City's ground game, Tenaha not only needs Williams and company to win or at least play to a front-line stalemate, but the Tigers must have their linebackers react properly and pursue. Senior two-way standout Chavis Gregory should help head coach Terry Ward's team go toe-to-toe with Falls City from an athleticism standpoint in that backfield vs. linebackers matchup.

Tenaha's Keontas Davis (15) and T.J. Thomas (1) tackle Bremond's James Jones during Tenaha's 24-7 Class A Division II Region III championship win Friday in Huntsville. (Ray Jackson, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: There are plenty of fireworks Friday night in Waco.

Both of these teams have posted very impressive defensive numbers. If you combine their total points allowed, their 25 opponents have averaged only 6.72 points per game.

Considering just how many great athletes will be on the field, it may be tough for these teams to battle it out in a defensive struggle. Tenaha and Falls City have proven that they can win either way; well, they've proven they can completely blow people out, mostly.

Don't expect that Friday at Waco ISD Stadium. Both of these teams are capable of winning the state championship. Tenaha and Falls City fans should be in for a treat in a rematch worthy of the hype surrounding a high-stakes state semifinal.