Texas High Seeks Consecutive Wins Friday Night When Tigers Open 15-5A At Sulphur Springs
Texas High Tigers (1-2)
Sulphur Springs Wildcats (1-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Gerald Prim Stadium, Sulphur Springs
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Sulphur Springs: Greg Owens
- Texas High: def. Kilgore, 19-13 (3OT)
- Sulphur Springs: idle
- Texas High: vs. Hallsville, Oct. 3
- Sulphur Springs: at Mount Pleasant, Oct. 3
- RB Javon Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 210 (committed to Tulsa)
- WR Jarion Anderson, Sr., 5-11, 170 (committed to Tulsa)
- DL William Brown, Sr., 6-4, 275
- LB K.J. Reid, Sr., 6-1, 200
- RB/DB Jacorien Walker, Jr., 5-8, 165
- OL Grant Burns, Jr., 6-2, 250
- OL Matthew Davis, Jr., 6-0, 265
- QB Cade Pearson, Soph.
- QB Larry Pryor, Sr., 6-0, 200 (43 of 80, 542 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs; 34 carries, 294 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Texas A&M)
- LB Zach Spigner, Sr., 6-0, 180 (21 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
- WR/TE Dillon Carpenter, Sr., 6-3, 185 (20 catches, 273 yards)
- OL Jess Jenkins, Sr., 6-3, 290
- OL Landon Watkins, Sr., 6-1, 270
- RB Tyler Rosamond, Sr., 5-9, 190 (60 carries, 333 yards, 5 TDs; 2 catches, 13 yards)
- WR C.J. Stephens, Sr., 5-5, 150 (6 catches, 163 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Cain Cody, Jr., 6-3, 215 (14 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 QB pressure)
Just the facts
- Since World War II, Texas High and Sulphur Springs have met 26 times. Texas High leads the series over that span, 15-11.
- The last time neither Texas High or Sulphur Springs made the playoffs was 2000.
- Texas High is averaging 22.7 points per game, while allowing 23.7.
- Texas High's three games have all been decided by six points or less -- a three-point loss to Whitehouse, a six-point OT loss to Arkansas High, and last week's six-point triple-overtime defeat of Kilgore.
- Under head coach Barry Norton, Texas High is 12-3 in district openers.
- Sulphur Springs is averaging 32.3 points and 450.3 yards per game -- 260 rushing and 190.3 passing.
- Sulphur Springs' two losses have come to Rockwall-Heath and Whitehouse, who are both ranked in the Associated Press' top 13 in Class 5A.
- Under head coach Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs is 8-0 in district openers.
Key matchup: Sulphur Springs offensive line vs. Texas High defensive front. We'll see strength on strength when Sulphur Springs' offense takes the field against a Texas High defense that's beginning to round into shape after a tough opening-week performance. With senior Texas A&M commit Larry Pryor at the controls of the Sulphur Springs offense again, the Wildcats have been just as potent as ever with the ball. The scoring numbers are down from past years, but Sulphur Springs is still putting up 450 yards per game, and the Wildcats have done it with the typical run-pass balance expected from a Greg Owens-coached offense. Pryor has passed for more than 540 yards and run for nearly 300 in three games thus far, accounting for seven of the team's 13 offensive touchdowns. Senior running back Tyler Rosamond has taken over the graduated Willy Ivery (now at North Texas), and has produced a team-high 333 rushing yards and five touchdowns thus far. The receiving corps has been led by senior Dillon Carpenter, who already has 20 catches through three games. Fellow senior CJ Stephens is averaging more than 27 yards per catch and has both two touchdown receptions for Sulphur Springs.
But Sulphur Springs' success on offense is made possible by a veteran offensive line, the majority of which has been playing together for three seasons on the varsity level. The senior foursome of Jess Jenkins, Landon Watkins, Seth Harred and Austan Davis compromise one of the top O-lines in all of East Texas. They'll be put to the test Friday night against a Texas High defensive front that's rapidly rounding into its usual dominant form.
After allowing 38 points and 543 total yards in its season-opening loss to Whitehouse, Texas High has bounced back with two impressive defensive performances. The Tigers, despite suffering a 20-14 overtime loss to arch-rival Arkansas High in Week 2, limited their state-line counterparts just 111 total yards. Texas High followed that up by holding Kilgore to only 13 points through four quarters and three overtime periods, forcing three critical turnovers and limiting the Bulldogs to just 300 yards. Sulphur Springs will present the Texas High defense with its stiffest test since the Whitehouse game, but as recent history suggests, the Tigers should be ready for whatever Sulphur Springs throws their way. In last season's encounter, Texas High's "D" dominated the action by holding Sulphur Springs to only 129 total yards while forcing three turnovers in a 43-7 rout. The total yardage and points scored were the fewest -- by a wide margin -- for Sulphur Springs all season long.
Texas High's defense starts up front with senior defensive tackle William Brown, who carries a couple of FCS offers into Friday night's District 15-5A opener. Brown has the ability to use his size and strength to fight through double teams, which could be in the offing despite Sulphur Springs' talented and experienced offensive line. If the doubles come, Texas High will have room freed up for other linemen or crashing linebackers to aid in run support. Senior linebacker K.J. Reid will likely be in on a ton of tackles, based solely on his on-field awareness and knack for showing up at the right places and at the right time. It could go without saying, but if Sulphur Springs' O-line does not do a better job than last year of handling Texas High up front, the Wildcats' offense could be in for another long night.
Don't be surprised if: Sulphur Springs puts forth a much better offensive effort this time around against Texas High. It was hard to believe how much the Tigers "D" dominated Sulphur Springs' high-powered offense a season ago, and it seems unlikely that longtime head coach Greg Owens will allow his team to be handled in that fashion for a second consecutive season. One thing that Sulphur Springs must be sure to accomplish Friday night is to maintain ball security. Pryor has already thrown four interceptions this season after giving the ball away just six times all of last season. His three picks two weeks ago led to three Whitehouse touchdowns, which ended up being the difference in a 56-35 loss. Texas High's defense thrived off turnovers in last week's win over Kilgore, coming down with three interceptions, including one apiece in the second and third overtime session. Protecting the football, undoubtedly, has been a big point of emphasis in Sulphur Springs for the last two weeks, so expect Pryor and the offense to play much cleaner Friday night.