No. 7 Van Vandals (8-0, 3-0)

Vs.

Wills Point Tigers (5-3, 2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Ken Autry Davis Field, Wills Point

 

Coaches
  • Van: Jared Moffatt
  • Wills Point: Greg Cranfill

 

Last week
  • Van: defeated Mabank, 51-7
  • Wills Point: defeated Crandall, 34-0

 

Next week
  • Van: vs. Kaufman, Nov. 7
  • Wills Point: at Athens, Nov. 7

 

Playmakers

Van

  • DE Brice Borgeson, Sr., 6-3, 225 (55 tackles, 11 for loss, 4 sacks; committed to Northwestern State)
  • RB Alphonso Thomas, Jr., 5-11, 190 (75 carries, 721 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Matt Savis, Sr., 5-10, 190 (110 carries, 659 yards, 12 rushing TDs, 130 receiving yards, 3 TD receptions)
  • OL Wyatt Santos, Sr., 6-2, 318 (offensive lineman MVP at ETSN.fm Football Recruiting Combine)
  • QB Peter Maddox, Sr., 6-0, 180 (95 for 151, 1,496 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 5 INTs)
  • Hunter Redmond, Sr., 6-1, 152 (115 tackles, 12 for loss)
  • WR Layton Myers, Sr., 5-10, 160 (7 games players, 24receptions, 532 yards, 12 TDs)

 

Wills Point

  • QB Kaese Kosko, Sr., 6-0, 175 (91 of 168, 1,364 passing yards, 21 TDs, 12 INTs)
  • WR/DB Tre'Vaughn Williams, Sr., 6-1, 180 (26 catches, 520 yards, 8 TDs; 4 INTs)
  • WR Jah Golden, Sr., 6-0, 190 (29 catches, 477 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB /LB Marques Crouch, Jr. (194 carries, 1,045 yards, 9 TDs)
  • MLB Tolvia Ranger Wilcoxson, Sr., 6-2, 218 (88 tackles, 11 for loss)
  • DT Tyriq Burnett, Soph., 6-1, 207 (8 sacks)

 

Just the facts
  • The teams have met fairly regularly. Van holds a 5-1 advantage dating back to the 2004 season.
  • Wills Point's last win in the series came in 2009.
  • Van controls first place in District 8-4A Division II with a 3-0 league record. Wills Point, Athens and Kaufman are in a three-way tie for second place with 2-1 record while Crandall and Mabank are virtually eliminated in the six-team district.
  • A Wills Point win would give the the Tigers a share of first place with Van. Athens, which faces Crandall, could be in the same situation with a Vandals loss.
  • Van climbed Monday from No. 8 in the Class 4A Associated Press poll to No. 7. Regionally, it ranks ahead of No. 8 Gladewater and behind No. 3 Gilmer.
  • The Vandals could theoretically clinch the district championship with a win, Athens suffering a major upset against Crandall and Kaufman being upset by Mabank.
  • In all likelihood, Van will have to win Friday and next week against Kaufman to ensure itself the title without tiebreakers.
  • Senior linebacker Hunter Redmond ranks second in East Texas with 115 tackles through eight games.
  • Quarterback Peter Maddox is 13th among East Texas passers with 1,496 passing yards.
  • Among the top 13 East Texas passers, Maddox ranks third in touchdowns to interceptions behind Gilmer's McLane Carter and Brook Hill's Grant Hanks.
  • Van defensive end Brice Borgeson is committed to Northwestern State.

 

 

Van linebacker Brice Borgeson is a Northwestern State commitment with 55 tackles and four sacks through eight games. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Van's defense against Wills Point's balanced offense. The Vandals are in great position to keep rolling in Friday's game, but the Tigers have a good offensive unit.

Wills Point quarterback Kaese Kosko has thrown for 1,364 yards and has outstanding targets in receivers Tre'Vaughn Williams and Jah Golden. The two players have combined for 997 yards and 13 touchdowns. Marques Crouch adds a punch in the running game as a 1,000-yard rusher.

The Tigers do have some issues throwing the ball, however. Kosko has thrown for 21 scores, but he also has given up 12 interceptions through eight games and has a completion percentage of 57 percent.

Van's defensive front will likely bring some pressure to contain the run game and take advantage of Wills Point's hit-and-miss passing attack. They have a great athlete to get that done in Northwestern State defensive end commit Brice Borgeson in addition to senior defensive lineman Drew Burroughs who has four sacks on the season. Linebacker Hunter Redmond has 115 tackles, including 12 for losses.

The Vanadals secondary should be able to handle one-on-one match ups adequately. Cooper Bledsoe and Xavier Sherman both have a pair of interceptions on the season, and the defense as a whole has performed well against balanced to pass heavy offenses.

Don't be surprised if: Wills Point hits a few home runs in the passing game. Kosko has great chemistry with his primary receivers. Their numbers are high for an offense only completing about 57 percent of passes.

Van has a potent offense to counter. Quarterback Peter Maddox has had a good year throwing the ball and there are four receivers with more than 100 yards on the roster in addition to running back Matt Savis' 130 yards through the air. Speaking of Savis, Jared Moffatt's team can hurt teams with the run. Savis has 659 yards on the ground, second to Alphonso Thomas' 721 rushing yards.

The Vandals match up nicely in this game.

Van running back Matt Savis leads the Vandals with 789 total offensive yards. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)