Class 2A Division II Region III
Final

Waskom Wildcats (13-0)

vs.

Corrigan-Camden (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

 

Coaches
  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling
  • Corrigan-Camden: Seven Armstrong

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Winner faces East Bernard (12-0) or Refugio (12-1) in a 2A D-II state semifinal.

 

Playmakers

Waskom

  • RB Kevin Johnson, Jr., 5-9, 165 (108 carries, 1,542 yards, 23 TDs)
  • ATH June Bug Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 150 (9 of 14, 130 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; 110 carries, 1,334 yards, 17 TDs; 7 catches, 304 yards, 5 TDs)
  • FB Dillon Benton, Jr., 5-9, 175 (98 carries, 1,165 yards, 16 TDs)
  • QB Trace Carter, Jr., 6-1, 170 (17 of 37, 466 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs; 132 carries, 888 yards, 13 TDs)
  • RB/LB Chandrin Amie, Soph., 5-10, 160 (16 carries, 236 yards, 2 TDs)
  • DL Justin Spurlin, Sr., 5-7, 160
  • WR Eric Stephens III (7 catches, 198 yards, 4 TDs)
  • LB Mike Reason, Soph., 5-8, 155
  • FB/DL Tony Ratcliff, Jr., 5-11, 185 (41 carries, 199 yards, 1 TD)

 

Corrigan-Camden

  • RB/DB Keegan Mitchell, Jr., 5-6, 170 (174 carries, 2,355 yards, 29 TDs; 6 catches, 67 yards, 2 TDs; 1 KO return TD; 2 INTs, 1 defensive TD)
  • RB/LB Malyk Johnnson, Soph., 5-10, 185 (136 carries, 1,476 yards, 22 TDs; 2 INTs)
  • FB/LB Carlos Inguanzo, Sr., 5-9, 220 (128 carries, 753 yards, 12 TDs)
  • FB/LB Addison Kirkland, Sr., 5-11, 210 (81 carries, 532 yards, 11 TDs)
  • QB Haden Armstrong, Sr. (12 of 26, 214 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 87 carries, 475 yards, 7 TDs)
  • TE/LB Kade Moore, Sr. (2 INTs)
  • WR/DB Lakendrick Moore, Soph. (1 receiving TD; 4 INTs)
  • DL Calvin Burks, Sr.

 

Just the facts
  • Friday's game features five 1,000-yard rushers and nine players with at least 475 rushing yards.
  • Waskom averages 437.9 rushing yards per game on 42.3 attempts.
  • Corrigan-Camden averages 436.1 rushing yards per game on 49.2 attempts.
  • Waskom has thrown 52 passes this year and averages 49.0 passing yards per game.
  • Corrigan-Camden has thrown 27 passes this year and averages 19.2 passing yards per game.
  • Waskom averages 10.4 yards per carry as a team.
  • Corrigan-Camden averages 8.9 yards per carry as a team.
  • Waskom averages 54.4 points per game and allows 18.4.
  • Corrigan-Camden averages 48.8 points per game and allows 20.1.
  • Waskom has scored 89 offensive touchdowns, 79 of which are rushing.
  • Corrigan-Camden has scored 86 offensive touchdowns, 83 of which are rushing.
  • Both teams have played Elysian Fields and Hughes Springs.
  • Waskom won 60-13 at Elysian Fields on Oct. 18, while Corrigan-Camden beat EF 47-19 in a season-opening home game.
  • Waskom beat Hughes Springs 56-38 on the road in a regular-season finale, while Corrigan-Camden beat Hughes Springs 62-34 in a second-round playoff two weeks ago in Carthage.
  • This is the deepest Waskom has ever gotten in the playoffs.
  • Corrigan-Camden is in the fourth round for the first time since 2006, when the Bulldogs finished 12-2.
  • Corrigan-Camden has reached the fourth round or deeper four times since 2000 and seven times since 1987, including a 15-0-1 state championship campaign in 1988.

 

Waskom RB Kevin Johnson. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Whose running game prevails? Friday's state quarterfinal features two of Texas' most prolific 2A rushing offenses, and probably two ground attacks that rank among the state's best in any classification.

That means the front-line matchups on both sides will be key. Both teams possess game-breaking speed in players such as Waskom's Kevin and June Bug Johnson and Corrigan-Camden's Keegan Mitchell, so the defenses must win -- or, for the most part, somewhat consistently contain -- the action at the line of scrimmage. If they don't, those speedy backs will get loose, and that's bad news for the respective defenses.

That's perhaps the most striking aspect of these offenses when you look at them on paper. To be so run-heavy, but achieve such high yards per carry averages is rare, especially to see that from both teams and not only one.

Waskom's speed proved too much for the physically larger Crawford Pirates, who were undefeated before the Wildcats pulled away in the second half of last week's third-round meeting. Waskom might not have as big of an athletic advantage this week, according to head coach Whitney Keeling.

"They'll be the most athletic team we've faced all season. They have a lot of guys close to us in speed and stature," Keeling told ETSN.fm on Wednesday afternoon. "It's going to be a good football game. It should come down to whichever teams makes the least amount of mistakes. The weather is going to be really bad, which makes it really important to protect the football."

Corrigan-Camden's Keegan Mitchell (10) evades Hughes Springs' Greg Morgan (25) during the Bulldogs' second-round playoff win in Carthage. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: That turnover battle Keeling mentioned decides the game.

The weather will indeed be bad, so protecting the ball will be at a premium. Both teams have proven they can protect the ball with the best of them, as evidenced by their eye-opening rushing attacks and gaudy scoring outputs.

Waskom vs. Corrigan-Camden is as intriguing a matchup as you can find involving East Texas teams this weekend. There's the one angle of Waskom's unexpected undefeated run to the regional final under Keeling, who has built a contending team at a school that has longed for football success after missing the playoffs every year since 1993. Then there's Corrigan-Camden, an established football program under longtime coach Seven Armstrong, who has guided the 'Dogs to their third double digit-win season in his 10 years, nine of which have seen him lead Corrigan-Camden to the postseason.

That sets the stage for a speed-centric showdown of East Texas teams in the 2A D-II Region III championship bout. While the ball may not fly through the air too much considering the offensive styles and the weather, don't be surprised if there are plenty of points scored between these aficionados of run-game mastery.

Waskom's June Bug Johnson is sandwiched between a pair of Union Grove's Garrett Gibson (4) and Garrett Bowery (57) during Waskom's first-round playoff win Nov. 14 in Hallsville. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)