Texas High Tigers (2-0)

vs.

Kilgore Bulldogs (1-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore

Coaches
  • Texas High: Barry Norton
  • Kilgore: Mike Wood

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Texas High: at Sulphur Springs, Sept. 25
  • Kilgore: at Gladewater, Sept. 25

 

Playmakers

Texas High

  • QB Cade Pearson, Jr., 6-2, 195
  • DB Chaz Davis, Sr., 5-11, 160
  • OL Matthew Davis, Sr., 6-0, 265
  • RB J’Kardi Witcher, Sr., 5-7, 170
  • WR Quan Hampton, Jr., 5-8, 150
  • WR Jaylen Rhone, Sr., 5-10, 160
  • LB Mitchell Butler, Sr., 5-7, 175
  • DB Jacorien Walker, Sr., 5-9, 165
  • DB Dee Jones, Sr., 5-10, 170
  • TE/DL Jacoryon Larry, Sr., 6-3, 240

Kilgore

  • RB Ja’Quorius Smith, Sr., 5-9, 180
  • LB Mason Shelton, Sr., 5-9, 200
  • WR/DB Jonathan Shepherd, Soph., 6-3, 180
  • RB Caylon Williams, Sr.
  • DB Chris Toombs, Sr., 5-11, 185
  • DL Kevin Tinney, Jr., 5-10, 215
  • DB Terrell Shelton, Jr., 5-9, 150
  • OL Chris Powe, Sr., 6-0, 300
  • OL Benji Peralez, Jr., 6-0, 280
  • DL Ken Fagans, Sr., 6-3, 215

 

Just the facts
  • Kilgore and Texas High met last season. The Tigers won, 19-13, in triple overtime after a game-ending interception in Texarkana.
  • Texas High is seeking its first 3-0 start since 2008.
  • Kilgore enters the game with a 1-2 record for the second straight year with the same outcomes against the same three opponents -- Nacogdoches, Corpus Christi Flour Bluff and Pine Tree.
  • While the Bulldogs from Class 4A Division I are under .500, all of their games thus far have been against Class 5A competition.
  • Texas High enjoyed its open date last weekend. It won its last game, 28-14, on the road at Texarkana (Ark.) Arkansas High.
  • Friday's game is the Tigers' final non-district competition.
  • Starting with Kilgore, the Tigers will play eight straight regular season games without a break and up to 14 games to close the season if they reach a state championship game.
  • Both teams enjoyed excellent production from their No. 1 running back in their last games. Texas High's J'Kardi Witcher rushed for 202 yards against Arkansas High and added a 98-yard kickoff return score. Kilgore's Ja'Quorius Smith ran for 284 yards against Pine Tree.
  • The game could be running back Devuntay Walker's debut at Texas High. He's a transfer from Pleasant Grove.
Texas High defensive end Corey Hawkins is part of a Tigers defensive front largely responsible for giving up just 251 combined rushing yards on 58 attempts through two games this season. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Kilgore's run game against Texas High's defense.

The Bulldogs are going to have to dig deep to hang in there against the Tigers' larger rotation of contributors, but they do hold the single biggest asset required to pull the moderate upset. They can run the ball, chew clock and force Texas High to make the most of its own offensive opportunities.

Kilgore running back Ja'Quorius Smith turned in 284 yards and three scoring runs last week against Pine Tree as part of the team's most complete game of the season. Quarterback Patrick Jackson also is a running threat out of the backfield.

Combined, they will certainly keep the clock moving and will make it difficult for the Tigers to put up back-to-back quick scores to break the game open.

Texas High has demonstrated a balanced team through two games, but its defense can take majority credit for the 2-0 start. The unit has held its two opponents to seven points outside of the fourth quarter, allowing Texas High to build leads of 34-7 and 21-0 while holding Whitehouse and Arkansas High to 251 combined rushing yards on 58 attempts.

Kilgore will have to break all the defensive trend to have a chance.

Don't be surprised if: the Bulldogs catch Texas High off-guard early. The Tigers will have to return to game form quickly after going through its open date just two games into the campaign while Kilgore has another 48 minutes of experience and, finally, a win against a larger school. This game should either elevate Kilgore to a higher level or knock it back to square one ahead of a meeting with Gladewater.

Watch out for Kilgore quarterback Patrick Jackson on the ground. He scored a 64-yard touchdown last week against Pine Tree. (Trey Bell, ETSN.fm)