Waskom Needs Three Things To Work In Its Favor Versus Elysian Fields
DISTRICT 9-3A Division II
Elysian Fields Yellowjackets (6-0, 2-0)
Waskom Wildcats (2-3, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Waskom
- Elysian Fields: Scott Ford
- Waskom: Whitney Keeling
- Elysian Fields: def. Arp, 34-27
- Waskom: Idle
- Elysian Fields: Idle
- Waskom: at Beckville, Oct. 14
- WR/DB Dylan Parker, Sr., 6-4, 180 (29 catches, 699 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB/DB Logan Hughes, Sr., 6-2, 195 (92-of-122 passing, 1,613 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs, 25 carries, 135 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Braden Shaffer, Sr., 5-9, 165 (26 catches, 408 yards, 3 touchdowns, 37 tackles)
- LB/RB Tyrone Ratliffe Jr., Soph., 5-11, 165 (51 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 22 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Nathan Johnson, Jr., 6-0, 200 (46 carries, 402 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Chris Smith, Fr., 5-8, 155 (51 carries, 325 yards, 5 TDs)
- OL/DL Malik Johnson, Jr., 6-3, 275
- OL/DL Cole Stillman, Sr., 5-10, 250
- DL Austin Vallejio, Sr., 5-10, 190 (36 tackles, 7 sacks)
- OL Jade Ashalintubbi, Soph., 6-5, 300
- RB/DB Jason Jinks, Sr., 5-9, 141 (41 carries, 253 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR/DL Keylon Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 170
- QB Ty Carter, Jr., 6-0, 185 (79 carries, 337 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB Nate Irving, Sr., 6-0, 195 (54 carries, 303 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL/DL Jack Smith, Jr., 6-3, 260
- OL/DL Bradley Cochran, Jr., 5-10, 195
- OL/DL Chris Smith, Jr., 5-9, 280
- RB T.K. Hamilton, Soph., 5-11, 155 (29 carries, 208 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Chris Stafford, 5-8, 155
Just the facts
- Elysian Fields is off to a 2-0 start in District 9-3A Division II and has a 6-0 overall record.
- Waskom got its open date last week and is 0-1 within the league.
- The Yellowjackets own first place in the district standings. All four other teams that have played two district games own 1-1 records or worse. Waskom and West Rusk have only played one district game.
- Waskom is sixth in the standings, but it does have one game in hand against five teams in the district.
- The Wildcats crushed the Yellowjackets, 45-0, last year en route to their second straight Class 3A Division II state championship.
- Elysian Fields has not defeated Waskom since the 2012 season.
- Waskom has not lost at home since Aug. 29, 2014. It owns a 10-game winning streak at Wildcat Stadium.
- Elysian Fields is No. 6 in the ETSN.fm Class 3A Poll and is ranked 15th in the Associated Press' 3A poll.
Key matchup: Elysian Fields' passing game versus three-pronged Waskom strategy.
There's always room for the Yellowjackets' offensive strength to improve, but it has been impressive toward a 6-0 record. Last week, the facet was good enough to topple an Arp team ETSN.fm projected in the preseason would win the district.
Elysian Fields is far more reliant on its passing game than most of the teams around it and is getting great production from quarterback Logan Hughes -- who was a utility player for Waskom last season -- as well as receivers Dylan Parker and Braden Shaffer.
Hughes has thrown for 1,613 yards in six games and might break the Yellowjackets' passing total from last season of 2,004 yards as early as this week. Parker ranks second among all East Texas receivers with 699 yards on just 29 catches. Shaffer exploded last week and now has 408 yards on 26 catches.
Combined, the big three also are pushing defenses back and creating space for the run.
Waskom's objective is clear. It needs to disrupt the opposing passing game directly to make the Yellowjackets more one-dimensional and it also needs to have success with the ball in its own hands for less obvious reasons than just scoring.
Defensively, the Wildcats need good play from the defensive backfield and need to consistently win battles up front against Elysian Fields' offensive line. They might have the players to get those things done.
Safety Jason Jinks is an enormous asset up top. He is a starter from last season's state championship team and is having a solid senior season despite Waskom's overall record of 2-3.
The same thing can be said of Keylon Johnson at defensive end. With good enough speed to double as a receiver when necessary, he's the player most likely to successfully rush Hughes and force the opposing quarterback into hasty decisions.
Yet it would be even better for Waskom not to deal with the Yellowjackets' offense at all. If it can run the ball effectively, which has varied game-to-game, the team can limit the touches Elysian Fields gets through the contest.
A strong performance from the secondary, a good pass rush and playing keep away are keys to a Wildcats upset.
Don't be surprised if: Waskom puts up a solid fight.
Whereas Elysian Fields leans on its passing game, the Wildcats' offense consists almost exclusively of runners. It will be hard for the Yellowjackets to pull away if Waskom runs the ball with success.
The longer Waskom hangs around, the higher the odds it will win the game.