Class 3A Division II

State Semifinals

Sonora Broncos (11-3)

Vs.

Waskom Wildcats (13-1)

7:30 p.m.
Tiger Stadium, Glen Rose

 

Coaches
  • Sonora: Craten Phillips
  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling

 

Road to state semifinal

Sonora

  • Bi-district: def. Coahoma, 35-18
  • Area: def. Idalou, 35-14
  • Regional semifinal: def. Eastland, 42-37
  • Regional final: def. Cisco, 36-35

 

Waskom

 

Next week
  • Winner plays Newton-Blanco winner, Class 3A Division II State Championship Game

 

Playmakers

Sonora

  • QB Andres Acevedo, Sr., 5-10, 200 (47 of 94, 722 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 190 carries, 1,705 yards, 29 rushing TDs)
  • QB Hunter Hughes, Sr. (36 of 65, 424 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 31 carries, 138 yards, 3 rushing TDs)
  • RB Brett Castillo, Sr., 5-11, 190 (146 carries, 1,023 yards, 14 TDs)
  • G/DT Ethan Patlan, Sr., 6-0, 225 (135 tackles, 16 for loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • MLB/RB Jonathan Gutierrez (133 tackles, 6 sacks)
  • WR/S Gabe Rollert, Sr. (26 catches, 425 yards, 3 TDs; 41 tackles 7 INTs)

 

Waskom

  • RB/DB Kevin Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 160
  • RB June Bug Johnson, Sr., 5-7, 135
  • QB Trace Carter, Sr., 6-3, 175
  • FB Dillon Benton, Sr., 5-10, 170
  • LB Mike Reason, Jr., 5-9, 170
  • DB Eric Stephens, Jr., 5-6, 140
  • LB Chan Amie, Jr., 5-11, 160
  • OL Kyle Adams, Sr., 6-4, 285
  • OL John Lumpkin, Sr., 6-0, 205
  • DB Keilon Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 140

 

Just the facts
  • Waskom is the winner of Region II and is making its second straight state semifinal appearance. It fell in this round to state runner-up Refugio last season.
  • The Wildcats are part of the last remaining hope for an all-East Texas state championship game along with Newton on the other side of the bracket.
  • Sonora is the winner of Region I and made it to the regional semifinals last season. It defeated defending state champion Cisco -- which topped Refugio -- last week.
  • Waskom breezed through Region II, outscoring opponents 220-94.
  • Sonora had a much tougher time out of its region. It won its last two games by a combined six points, including a one-point win against Cisco.
  • The Broncos defeated Cisco with a late touchdown. The game-tying kick was nullified by a roughing the kicker penalty and Sonora scored on a one-yard, two-point conversion for the win.
  • Waskom is on a 13-game winning streak. It lost the season-opener to Center, a Class 4A team.
  • Sonora defeated highly regarded Idalou, Eastland and Cisco programs to make it to the semifinals. It has not lost since district play began and all three losses came against larger schools.
  • Waskom will travel 235 miles one-way to Glen Rose. Sonora's trip to the stadium will be about the same distance.

 

 

Waskom running back Junebug Johnson is an electric back, but just one in a stable of capable runners the Wildcats can use in Friday's game. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Waskom's running attack versus Sonora's defense. The Wildcats have run by everyone else on their level. Why stop now?

Junebug Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Dillon Benton, Trace Carter and Chan Amie give Waskom one of the best, if not the best, running rotations in the state. Kevin Johnson rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries last week. Just the latest incredible number for the offense.

But perhaps the Wildcats have finally met their match.

Sonora hangs tough with its opponents, and a lot of it has to do with its defense. The unit has 30 takeaways this season and a dominant player at each level along the defense from the defensive line to the defensive backfield.

This could be a game Waskom will just have to grind out with hard runs. If that's the case, they'll have to be careful with the football. The Broncos capitalize frequently on turnovers.

Sonora has held opponents to about 20 points per game while averaging 36 per game offensively. The Wildcats offense averages 51.6 points per game.

When the Broncos have the ball, expect a heavy dose of quarterback Andres Acevedo running the ball. If Waskom can keep him in check, the Wildcats should win the game. Easier said than done though. Few teams have had luck against Acevedo this season.

Don't be surprised if: Waskom gets a good game. The Wildcats' closest game of the playoffs was won by 20 points. Sonora should be able to handle falling into a hole. The Broncos have trailed in both of their past two games.

Waskom will enter the game favored, but any team that can defeat Cisco should be treated with extreme caution.

Waskom head coach Whitney Keeling celebrates with Kevin Johnson after a touchdown in the Wildcats' 49-15 win over Gunter in their Class 3A Division II state quarterfinal Friday night in Van. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)