Waskom Wildcats (2-2)

vs.

Arp Tigers (3-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Bill Herrington Tiger Stadium, Arp

Coaches

  • Waskom: Whitney Keeling
  • Arp: Dale Irwin
Last week
  • Waskom: def. Tyler Bishop Gorman, 43-29
  • Arp: def. Shelbyville, 62-14

Next week
  • Waskom: idle
  • Arp: at Elysian Fields, Sept. 30
Playmakers

Waskom

  • RB/DB Jason Jinks, Sr., 5-9, 141
  • WR/DL Keylon Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 170
  • QB Ty Carter, Jr., 6-0, 185
  • OL/DL Jack Smith, Jr., 6-3, 260
  • OL/DL Bradley Cochran, Jr., 5-10, 195
  • RB/LB Tay Green, Sr., 5-7, 157
  • OL/DL Chris Smith, Jr., 5-9, 280
  • RB T.K. Hamilton, Soph., 5-11, 155
  • LB Chris Stafford, 5-8, 155

Arp

  • RB Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 186 (committed to SMU)
  • RB/DB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-7, 150
  • LB Jordan Brantley, Sr., 5-9, 200
  • RB/LB Jacobe Hunt, Sr., 5-10, 180
  • RB/LB Terry Nance, Sr., 5-9, 175
  • WR/DL DeMarvion Overshown, Jr., 6-4, 200
  • QB Tyler Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 175
  • OL/DL Mack Stroupe, Sr., 6-1, 215
Just the facts
  • Friday's game is the District 9-3A Division II opener for both the Tigers and Wildcats.
  • ETSN.fm tabbed Arp to win the district in its preseason projection and Waskom, the two-time defending Class 3A Division II state champion, to finish in second place.
  • Arp is ranked fifth in ETSN.fm's Class 3A poll through four weeks. It started the year ranked third.
  • Waskom in unranked after dropping two of its first three games.
  • The Wildcats got back into the win column last week with a victory against Tyler Bishop Gorman. That snapped their two-game skid.
  • Waskom is 1-1 against Class 3A competition at large.
  •  Arp's only loss came in Week 1 to Tatum of Class 4A Division II. It is 1-0 versus 3A at large and the remainder of its non-district schedule was against Class 2A competition in Alto and Shelbyville.
  • Waskom defeated Arp twice last season, once in district play and then again in the postseason.
  • The two teams began playing consistently in 2014. Arp has not defeated Waskom in the span.
Waskom's Jason Jinks breaks up a pass intended for Arp's Kayce Medlock during last year's Class 3A Division II showdown in the regional semifinals. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Arp's running game versus Waskom's defensive front.

The Wildcats' offense looked as strong as it has all season last week in its 43-26 win against Tyler Bishop Gorman. It nearly doubled its prior highest total of 26 points in that contest, but the jury is still out as it continues to rebuild from substantial graduation losses at the skill positions.

What Waskom for sure has, however, is nice remnants of its state championship defense.

Defensive end Keylon Johnson and safety Jason Jinks were big parts of the magic a year ago and returned. Sophomore linebacker Chris Stafford has been a very pleasant surprise as well with a team-best 47 tackles through four games.

Defense is the Wildcats' best known quality. That's nice because it is coming across a team with a very good offense.

Arp running back Kayce Medlock is a very valuable player. In fact, he won Offensive Most Valuable Player in May at the ETSN.fm + APEC Football Recruiting Combine prior to committing to SMU.

Mack Stroupe and the rest of Arp's offensive line have the tough task of neutralizing Waskom's defensive front. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Medlock is protected by a strong offensive line. The offensive load is lightened with Tyler Stewart at quarterback and a solid set of receivers around them.

Watch Waskom's Johnson at end. He's athletic enough that he could double as a receiver if the Wildcats' leaned on their passing game more, and he's a threat to run stride-for-stride with Medlock after working against the offensive line if the running back breaks loose.

If Johnson can't reach Medlock, Stafford anchors the second level of the defense. Jinks anchors the third level.

But it won't do Waskom much good to just stop Medlock. Those guys are just insurance that will make it harder for Arp to score on the ground from long range.

The Wildcats will be in much better position to win the game if they can win at the line of scrimmage with their defensive front and get to Medlock near the line of scrimmage.

If the defensive front slows Medlock consistently, Arp will have to turn away from its single biggest strength.

 

Don't be surprised if: Waskom, a modest underdog due to its two-game skid, shows rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated.

The Wildcats got a nice win last week against a dangerous Tyler Bishop Gorman team and might have started returning to form with a relatively young core now fairly seasoned. It's hard to keep a program that won the past two state championships at the level down for long.

Waskom defensive end Keylon Johnson. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)