Tyler Grace Community Cougars (2-1)

vs.

Malakoff Tigers (2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Malakoff

Coaches

  • Grace: Mike Maddox
  • Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
Last week

Next week
  • Grace: vs. Dallas Christian, Sept. 23
  • Malakoff: vs. Whitney, Sept. 23
Playmakers

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

Malakoff

  • WR/DB Q.T. Barker, Sr., 5-11, 165
  • QB Judd Miller, Jr., 5-11, 200
  • DE/TE Danyal Littleton, Sr., 6-2, 220
  • WR/DB Tyler Russell, Sr., 6-1, 175
  • OL/DL Larry Coker, Sr., 6-3, 195
  • RB/DB Breshawn Williams, Jr.
Just the facts
  • Grace starting quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi is questionable for the game due to an injury sustained before Week 1.
  • If Wilhelmi can't play, sophomore quarterback Braydon Stone will get his fourth start of the year.
  • Both Grace and Malakoff have impressive wins against larger schools.
  • The Tigers crushed Bullard from Class 4A Division I in Week 1, 46-7.
  • The Cougars topped two-time defending Class 3A Division II state champion Waskom, 52-20, last week and suffered a one-point loss to Canton of Class 4A Division II in Week 2.
  • Malakoff was idle last week and will play eight consecutive weeks to close the regular season.
  • Both teams will begin district competition next week. Malakoff heads to 9-3A Division II competition and Grace moves on to its TAPPS Division II, District II schedule.
  • Grace is ranked third in the ETSN.fm Class 2A/Private Schools Poll.
  • Malakoff is ranked second in ETSN.fm's Class 3A Poll and is fourth in the Associated Press' state wide Class 3A Poll.
  • The Tigers own a seven-game home winning streak and have not lost at Tiger Stadium since October of 2014.
  • Grace will travel 51 miles to Tiger Stadium.

Key matchup: Grace's running game versus Malakoff's run defense.

The Tigers probably have not crossed a running game as competent as the one Grace will present to them Friday. Running has been the Cougars' strength in the absence of senior quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi despite the fact Wilhelmi ran for more than 1,000 yards last season.

Sophomore running back Uchenna Uduma and sophomore quarterback Braydon Stone have been a nice team. Uduma averages 126 yards per game and Stone adds 75 yards on average.

Zach West and Josh Spitzer also are past the 100-yard mark this season with limited touches and defensive roles.

Still, Stone averages 140 passing yards per game.

Running the football is the smart way to go against Malakoff and lethal athletes Q.T. Barker and Tyler Russell. If Grace can sustain drives, it will subtract from the time Barker and Russell get to find workarounds against its own defense.

Tigers defensive end Danyal Littleton will be the biggest immediate threat to Grace's run game. He's 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and the Cougars won't have outstanding match ups on the edges.

Barker and Russell will be in the defensive backfield at times. It's going to be tough for Grace to get past the duo, which makes it likely Malakoff will get extra chances to make a stop or force a turnover.

 

Don't be surprised if: Friday's contest is the most exciting of Malakoff's season thus far.

Grace has a sure-handed offense that has performed well against a variety of larger schools, but the Tigers have big play potential on both sides of the ball.

If the Cougars run the ball effectively, it's going to be hard for Malakoff to pull away.