Unbeaten + No. 8 Van Hosts Kaufman in Battle of 8-4A D-I Unbeatens
DISTRICT 8-4A DIVISION I
Kaufman Lions (7-2, 5-0)
No. 8 Van Vandals (8-0, 4-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Van Memorial Stadium
- Kaufman: Jeremy Burleson
- Van: Jared Moffatt
- Kaufman: def. Mabank, 50-14
- Van: idle
- Kaufman: idle
- Van: at Terrell, Nov. 4
- RB/DB Marquithias Johnson, Jr., 5-6, 175 (92 carries, 789 yards, 14 TDs)
- RB/LB De'Kembe McCullar, Sr., 5-11, 185 (73 carries, 473 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR/DB Dre Prox, Jr., 5-10, 165 (48 carries, 436 yards, 8 TDs; 10 catches, 244 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/QB Jefferson Fritz, Sr., 5-11, 185 (17 of 33, 276 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 48 carries, 396 yards, 4 TDs; 2 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD)
- RB/LB Devyn Morris, Jr., 6-2, 230 (43 carries, 331 yards, 3 TDs)
- ATH Jacob Nails, Jr., 5-7, 150 (21 of 43, 306 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)
- WR/DB Casey Smith, Jr., 5-10, 160 (18 catches, 269 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Austin Weatherly, Sr., 6-3, 300
- QB Garrett Moseley, Jr., 5-11, 180 (98 of 165, 1,578 yards, 23 TDs, 3 INTs; 121 carries, 912 yards, 13 TDs)
- WR Isaiah Allred, Sr., 6-3, 205 (35 catches, 624 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Connor Houston, Sr., 5-11, 165 (37 catches, 616 yards, 7 TDs; 7 carries, 56 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Cooper Bledsoe, Sr., 6-0, 190 (9 catches, 105 yards, 2 TDs; 20 carries, 128 yards; 81 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 6 INTs, 1 defensive TD)
- OL Kris Dike, Jr., 6-6, 270
- WR Holden Myers, Jr., 6-1, 165 (23 catches, 369 yards, 6 TDs)
- DT Cristian Lemus, Sr., 5-9, 215 (53 tackles. 8 for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery)
- LB Michael Huffer, Sr., 5-11, 170 (63 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
Just the facts
- Kaufman is averaging 38.6 points per game, while allowing 22.3.
- The Lions are currently in the midst of a six-game winning streak.
- Jeremy Burleson is in his first season as Kaufman head coach, taking over for Craig Barker, who is now the head coach at Tatum.
- The cumulative record of Kaufman's nine previous opponents is 22-51.
- Van is averaging 46.9 points and 487.3 yards per game -- 202.8 rushing and 284.3 passing.
- The Vandals are allowing 13.8 points per game and have forced 14 turnovers -- five fumbles and nine interceptions.
- The cumulative record of Van's eight previous opponents is 21-44.
- With wins in the next two weeks, the Vandals will have their second 10-0 regular season in three years.
Key matchup: Kaufman rushing attack vs. Van defensive front. The Lions do one thing, and do it very well, and that's run the football. And it doesn't matter who the players are; Kaufman employs several backs that have gotten the job done through nine weeks this season. Van should expect to see a bevy of ball carriers, including junior speedster Marquithias Johnson, and bruisers De'Kembe McCullar and Devyn Morris. That trio has gotten the majority of the action out of the backfield, but the Vandals can also expect to see others like Dre Prox and quarterback Jefferson Fritz get involved in the running game. For the season, Kaufman is averaging more than 286 rushing yards per game, but in their five district wins, the Lions have averaged 325 yards per game on the ground. Kaufman has been held to less than 300 yards three times this season, and two of those games were losses -- to Lindale (42-39) and Dallas Bishop Lynch (28-14).
Van's defense might be its most underrated feature. The Vandals come into Friday's game allowing an average of less than 14 points per game. Van allowed 21 points per game during non-district, but has surrendered a grand total of 26 points in four District 8-4A Division I contests. Most of the notoriety goes to the secondary, which has come down with 12 interceptions on the season, but the defensive front has done a number on opposing offensives lines for most of the year. The Vandals have recorded a whopping 61 tackles for loss, or an average of more than seven per game. Against a running game like Kaufman's, which routinely picks up six or seven yards at a time, a few stops behind the line of scrimmage could make all the difference in the world for Van. Kaufman has put the ball in the air more often this season than in past years, but the Lions still average less than 100 passing yards per game, and would prefer to let their ground game do the heavy lifting.
Don't be surprised if: Kaufman uses a linebacker to spy on Van quarterback Garrett Moseley. The Van junior signal-caller has developed into of East Texas' most productive dual-threat quarterbacks in 2016. Moseley enters Friday's game just 88 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Coupled with his mastery of the passing game (23 TDs, 3 INTs), Moseley has been a thorn in the side of opposing defenses all season. However, by keeping a linebacker freed up from coverage, that could allow Moseley to attack the middle of the field with slot receiver Connor Houston, who's put up big numbers this season. Houston comes into this week's game with a team-best 37 receptions for 616 yards and seven touchdowns -- just eight yards and a touchdown short of Isaiah Allred for the team lead. Kaufman can't afford to allow Moseley to become two-dimensional, but that could come with a price if Houston is able to find open space in the middle of Kaufman's defense.