Dallas Christian Chargers (4-0)

vs.

Tyler Grace Community Cougars (2-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Clyde-Perkins Stadium, Tyler

Coaches

  • Dallas Chrisitan: Mike Wheeler
  • Grace: Mike Maddox
Last week
  • Dallas Christian: def. Gateway Charter Academy, 57-8
  • Grace: lost to Malakoff, 46-14

Next week
  • Dallas Christian: vs. Tyler All Saints, Sept. 30
  • Grace: at Cedar Hill Trinity Christian, Sept. 30
Playmakers

Dallas Christian

  • DB/RB Kris McCune, Sr., 6-2, 195 (committed to Oklahoma State)
  • RB/LB Palmer Nix, Jr., 6-0, 215
  • QB Garrett Cody, Jr., 5-11, 180
  • WR/LB Marcus Knox, Soph., 5-11, 185
  • RB/DB Jaire Moore, Sr., 5-11, 187
  • RB/LB Reggie Peck, Jr., 6-0, 220

Grace

  • QB Christopher Wilhelmi, Sr., 5-10, 155 (Questionable)
  • QB Braydon Stone, Soph., 5-10, 155
  • LB/RB Josh Spitzer, Sr., 6-0, 200
  • WR/DB Parker Ary, Sr., 6-0, 160
  • RB Uchenna Uduma, Soph., 5-8, 177
  • DL Ndukwe Uduma, Sr., 6-0, 220
  • OL Ronnie Baker, Sr., 6-1, 250
Just the facts
  • Friday's game is the TAPPS Division II, District II opener for both Tyler Grace and Dallas Christian.
  • Dallas Christian has won the district championship each of the past four seasons and has reached the state championship game the past two seasons.
  • Grace gave Dallas Christian its closest district game of the year last season. The Cougars lost, 16-14.
  • Senior quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi, who started all 12 games a year ago, is still questionable for Grace with an injury.
  • Sophomore Braydon Stone will probably at least start Friday's game for the Cougars. He has a 2-2 record under center.
  • Grace has not yet faced a TAPPS team this season. In fact, it was the smaller school in all four of its non-district games.
  • Dallas Christian, which has not and will not play a public school this year, has scored 185 points this season and held its first four opponents to a combined 35 points.
  • Dallas Christian will travel 98 miles to Grace's home stadium.

Key matchup: Tyler Grace's steady offense versus Dallas Christian's explosive offense.

Dallas Christian generally has a team capable of contending for the TAPPS Division II state championship, but this team seems particularly special in all phases. It has scored 49 or more points in three of its four games. In the fourth game, a rematch of last year's title game with Fort Worth Christian, Dallas Christian did enough for a 24-20 win.

All the while, the Dallas Christian defense is averaging 8.75 points per game.

Grace and Dallas Christian's offenses obviously won't ever meet on the field, but the Cougars' offense can do the whole team a favor by keeping the ball out of the opposition's hands.

Fortunately, Grace's absolute offensive strength is its running game. Quarterback Braydon Stone, who has started all four games in lieu of injured starter Christopher Wilhelmi, can run the rock when required and sophomore back Uchenna Uduma is already a little more than half way to a 1,000-yard season against strong competition relative to Grace's size.

The Cougars will have to throw to keep Dallas Christian's defense off balance, but the game really comes down to how effectively they run the football. Running plays will continuously work the clock and could ultimately reduce the number of possession Dallas Christian gets.

If all goes right offensively, Grace's defense will only have to make a few stops to be in position to pick up a huge district win.

 

Don't be surprised if: Tyler Grace's strength of schedule pays off.

The Cougars have played good public school programs the past three weeks against Canton from Class 4A Division II, two-time defending Class 3A Division II state champion Waskom and 2016 3A Division II championship contender Malakoff in order.

They went 1-2 against those teams with a win versus Waskom and a one-point road loss to Canton.

Dallas Christian may or may not be better than those three opponents, but it's not like Grace is completely unprepared for the talent level it is about to face. The non-district schedule was meant to prepare the Cougars for this game and the contest next week against TAPPS Division III state runner-up Cedar Hill Trinity Christian.