Van’s Best Bet Might Be Throwing Over Paris’ Gifted Set Of Linebackers
CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Region II Semifinal
Paris Wildcats (9-3)
Van Vandals (11-1)
1 p.m. Friday
Eagle Stadium, Allen
- Paris: Steven Hohenberger
- Van: Jared Moffatt
- Paris: def. Alvarado, 14-10
- Van: def. Mineral Wells, 54-7
- Winner faces Kennedale or Midlothian Heritage, Class 4A Division II, Region II championship game
- QB Ja'Kerian Brown, Sr., 5-7, 162
- WR Jalon Pipkins, Sr., 6-4, 185
- LB Tyrel McCallister, Sr., 6-1, 172
- LB Dre McKinney, Sr., 6-1, 230
- LB Michael Goodwin, Jr., 6-0, 208
- DB T.D. Williams, Sr., 5-9, 170
- QB Garrett Moseley, Jr., 5-11, 175
- DB/RB Cooper Bledsoe, Sr., 6-0, 175
- LB Sam Reeves, Sr., 5-11, 220
- WR Isaiah Allred, Sr., 6-3, 195
- WR/DB Connor Houston, Sr., 5-11, 175
- OL Caleb York, Sr., 5-9, 235
Just the facts
- Friday's game is a rematch of a 2014 bi-district playoff game.
- Paris capitalized on six Van turnovers for a shocking 30-20 win. Paris was a four-seed and the Vandals were state-ranked.
- The contest will be Van's first third-round playoff game since the 2008 season. Van has not passed this round in more than a decade.
- Paris' last trip to the third round came in 2014. It also is seeking for its first regional championship game appearance in more than a decade.
- The Vandals and Paris share three common opponents -- Crandall, Princeton and Terrell. Both of Friday's contesting teams had 2-1 records against those squads.
- Terrell beat both Paris and the Vandals.
- Both Paris and Van won their districts.
- Van will play its first-ever game at Allen's four-seasons-old, $60 million Eagle Stadium.
- Vandals safety Cooper Bledsoe became East Texas' interceptions leader with an eighth pick on the season in last week's win against Mineral Wells. He is one interception in front of Tenaha's Cody Foshee.
- Van receiver Isaiah Allred eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on the season last week.
- Paris will travel 88 miles to Allen. Van's trip to the playoff venue will be 92 miles.
Key matchup: Van's offense versus Paris' linebackers group.
Michael Goodwin, Tyrel McCallister and Dre McKinney -- all six feet or taller and averaging 203 pounds -- are enormous reasons for Paris only averaging 22 points against per game.
Running the ball seems a bit more dicey than normal.
Quarterback Garrett Moseley is the team's leading rusher by a huge margin. It's imperative at this point to keep him healthy not only for a win against Paris but also a likely date with perennial power Kennedale in the next round and an even better Argyle program in the state semifinals if the Vandals can advance that far.
Throwing for yardage early and consistently is Van's best bet to keep Moseley healthy. But the signal-caller will have to run a bit to keep Paris' defense honest, and that's assuming things are indeed clicking between Moseley and his receivers.
Wideout Isaiah Allred can help out the team with another strong game. He's the primary deep threat and is past the 1,000-yard mark after two strong games in a row.
Connor Houston and Holden Myers add athleticism to the unit. They don't typically stretch a defense like Allred, but they're more likely to get yards-after-catch yardage.
Paris' secondary will be stretched thin defending those three receivers and some rotational receivers. If the unit rises to the occasion or if it's just not the receivers' day, Moseley and physical running back Reid Thomas plus maybe safety Cooper Bledsoe as a spot-player will have to bump up against Paris' linebackers more than the Vandals' coaching staff would prefer.
Don't be surprised if: Turnovers have a large say in the game's outcome.
Paris would not be in the third round of the postseason if it wasn't for its opportunistic defense in last week's 14-10 win against Alvarado at Longview's Lobo Stadium. It rallied from a 10-0 deficit at halftime with three second-half turnovers.
Linebacker Tyrel McCallister recorded two fumble recoveries last week. Safety T.D. Williams picked up Alvarado on the game's final play from inside Paris' 20-yard line.