Class 3A Division II Region II
Semifinal

No. 1 Argyle Eagles (12-0)

vs.

No. 4 Gilmer Buckeyes (11-1)

6 p.m. Friday

Kincaide Stadium, Dallas

 

Coaches

  • Argyle: Todd Rodgers
  • Gilmer: Jeff Traylor

 

Last week

  • Argyle: won 55-27 vs. Melissa
  • Gilmer: won 48-0 vs. Pittsburg

 

Next week

  • Winner plays Gainesville or Gladewater in a 3A Division II regional final.

 

Playmakers

Argyle

  • RB/WR Ian Sadler, Sr., 5-11, 192 (committed to Texas Tech; 73 carries, 641 yards, 16 TDs; 27 catches, 457 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Nick Ralston, Jr., 6-1, 220 (`160 carries, 1,325 yards, 26 TDs)
  • QB Brandon Boyzuick, Sr., 6-0, 185 (72 of 106, 1,091 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs)
  • WR Jon Michael Pucciarello, Sr., 5-10, 170 (26 catches, 368 yards, 2 TDs)
  • K Cole Hedlund, Sr., 5-10, 170 (committed to Arkansas; 78 of 78 PATs, 21 of 21 FGs, long of 52)
  • RB/SS Connor Wilson, Sr., 6-2, 205 (committed to Texas Tech; 16 carries, 168 yards, 6 TDs; 3 catches, 45 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Drew Estrada, Soph. (12 catches, 265 yards, 2 TDs; 15 carries, 119 yards)
  • WR Hunter Treadwell, Sr., 6-0, 180 (8 catches, 182 yards, 3 TDs; 6 carries, 69 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB Sweatt Taylor, Soph. (25 carries, 109 yards, 2 TDs)

 

Gilmer

  • RB/OLB Josh Walker, Sr., 6-1, 220 (committed to Texas A&M; 15 carries, 147 yards, 3 TDs, 6 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD; 65 tackles, 3 sacks, 14 QB pressures)
  • RB/CB Kris Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 175 (106 carries, 1,167 yards, 19 TDs; 18 catches, 216 yards, 3 TDs; 26 tackles, 2 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 2 PBU)
  • QB Tanner Barr, Sr., 6-1, 180 (197 of 268, 3,057 yards, 36 TDs, 6 INTs; 88 carries, 454 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Desmond Pollard, Jr., 6-1, 180 (46 catches, 919 yards, 15 TDs)R
  • RB/OLB Demarco Boyd, Soph., 6-0, 205 (13 carries, 166 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 45 yards; 48 tackles, 18 for loss, 6 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 7 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
  • WR/DB DeVondrick Dixon, Sr., 5-9, 180 (committed to Texas State; 13 carries, 118 yards, 1 TD; 9 catches, 205 yards, 3 TDs; 32 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 1 forced fumble)
  • RB/ILB Darrian Lewis, Sr. (52 carries, 464 yards, 7 TDs; 2 catches, 55 yards, 76 tackles, 1 sack, 4 QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • WR Chase Tate, Jr., 5-7, 150 (15 carries, 167 yards, 2 TDs, 32 catches, 536 yards, 6 TDs)
  • HB Jaidon Parrish, Sr., 6-0, 185 (39 catches, 549 yards, 3 TDs)
  • WR Nick Smith, Jr. (25 catches, 344 yards, 4 TDs)

 

Just the facts

  • Argyle is averaging 54.2 points and 388.8 yards per game -- 247.9 rushing and 140.9 passing.
  • The Eagles have run 634 plays from scrimmage for an average of 7.4 yards per snap.
  • Argyle senior Ian Sadler is averaging 11 yards per touch.
  • The duo of Salder and Nick Ralston have combined for 52.5 percent of Argyle's total yardage and 78.4 percent of its touchdowns.
  • The cumulative record of Argyle's opponents is 72-62.
  • Argyle's averaging margin of victory is 43.3 points.
  • Gilmer and Argyle have met in each of the last three seasons in the playoffs. Argyle won 41-14 in 2010 and 51-35 in 2011 with Gilmer earning a 42-21 win last year.
  • Gilmer is averaging 55.9 points and 551.9 yards per game -- 278.0 rushing and 273.9 passing.
  • The Buckeyes have run 690 plays from scrimmage for an average of 9.6 yards per snap.
  • Gilmer receiver Desmond Pollard tied Houston Tuminello's single-season touchdown receptions record with two TD catches in last week's win.
  • Eleven different Gilmer players have rushed for touchdowns, while 11 different Buckeyes have touchdown receptions.
  • The cumulative record of Gilmer's opponents is 71-62.
  • Gilmer's average margin of victory is 40.8 points.

 

Gilmer OLB Josh Walker. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Argyle running game vs. Gilmer defensive front. Both Argyle and Gilmer have bullied opposing defenses all season long, but have gone about it in different ways. The Eagles are much more run-oriented and rely on the one-two punch of junior bruiser Nick Ralston and senior playmaker Ian Sadler, a Texas Tech commit. Meanwhile, Gilmer features a bevy of playmakers and are extremely balanced, averaging 278 yards rushing and 274 passing. Tempo will be key Friday night -- Argyle's physical and time-consuming ground attack vs. Gilmer's uptempo spread look. Ralston leads Argyle with more than 1,300 yards and a team-best 26 touchdowns, and his coming off his best performance of the season -- a 365-yard, five-touchdown effort in the Eagles' second-round defeat of Melissa.

Argyle RB Nick Ralston. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Sadler is more versatile and explosive than his counterpart, lining up at receiver, running back and even quarterback. He enters Friday's game with 100 touches and 25 touchdowns, which equates into a a touchdown every four times he gets his hands on the ball. Sadler's only had two games with more than 100 rushing yards and one with 100-plus receiving, but he's usually good for at least five big plays a game. Neither Ralston or Sadler were much of a factor in last year's playoff meeting with Gilmer. Ralston was held to 68 yards on 18 carries and Sadler had just 55 yards on nine touches.

Gilmer's Desmond Pollard fights for yardage during the Buckeyes' road win at Spring Hill on Oct. 25. (ETSN.fm)

Obviously, if Gilmer can replicate last year's performance, the Buckeyes should once again come out on top. And the evidence suggests that Gilmer's defense is even better than it was a year ago. The Buckeyes are only allowing 15.2 points per game and have shut out their first two playoff opponents. Gilmer's three shutouts in 2013 are tied for the most in one season in the Jeff Traylor era. The Buckeyes also had three shutouts in 2003 and the state championship season of 2004. Statistically, Gilmer is having its best defensive season since 2004 when Gilmer allowed just 13.9 points per game.

Gilmer RB/CB Kris Boyd. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Gilmer figures to be the more battle-tested of the two teams. The Buckeyes have faced five teams that are still alive in the playoffs. Plano Prestonwood (W 66-32) has advanced to the state semifinals in TAPPS' largest classification, Daingerfield (W 54-27) is onto the third round of the Class 2A Division I playoffs, Gladewater (W 52-14) plays Gainesville on Saturday at the top of the 3A D-II Region II bracket, while Chapel Hill (W 56-28) and Kilgore (L 34-29) are participating in the 3A D-I Region II semifinals. Argyle played two teams still alive in the playoffs -- Fort Worth Nolan Catholic (W 44-21), which is through to the TAPPS D-I state semifinals and Frisco Lone Star (W 53-7), Kilgore's regional semifinal opponent this week.

Gilmer's DeVondrick Dixon (5) runs the ball during the Buckeyes' 48-0 second-round playoff win against Pittsburg on Nov. 21 in Longview. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Argyle changes up its offensive approach a little after struggling so much in last season's loss to Gilmer. The Eagles averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and completed only nine of 24 passing attempts, finishing with just 246 total yards of offense. Expect Sadler to be featured more in the game plan after only touching the ball nine times in the game last year. With a player as explosive and productive as Sadler, it would make sense for Argyle to get the ball into his hands as much as possible.

For Gilmer, the lessons learned in its regular-season ending loss to Kilgore should prove beneficial. The Buckeyes allowed Kilgore to dictate tempo with its punishing running attack and it ended up making a huge difference in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, as Kilgore drove 62 yards in eight plays -- seven on the ground -- and scored the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining. Argyle has not had a game decided by less than 23 points all season, so it remains to be seen how the Eagles would handle a tight game. If the Buckeyes can create and maintain at least a two-score lead though three quarters, it could cause an Argyle offense not built for comebacks some serious problems.