Waskom Will Have To Stop Impressive Idalou Running Game To Reach State Championship Game
CLASS 3A DIVISION II SEMIFINAL
Idalou Wildcats (13-0)
Waskom Wildcats (14-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Ram Stadium, Mineral Wells
- Idalou: Jeff Lofton
- Waskom: Whitney Keeling
- Celina: def. Henrietta, 27-7
- Waskom: def. West Rusk, 57-28
- Winner faces winner between East Bernard and Franklin, 3A Division II state championship game, 8 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 17) at Houston's NRG Stadium
- RB/CB Brandt Schilling, Sr., 5-10, 170 (256 carries, 2,943 yards, 37 TDs; 5 INTs)
- QB/DE Zack Kirkpatrick, Sr. (103 carries, 559, yards, 12 TDs, 12 of 32, 298 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs)
- FB/LB Beau Howard, Sr., 6-2, 175 ( 66 carries, 452 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR/CB Ben McGehee, Sr. (1 catch, 19 yards; 3 INTs)
- RB/LB Chan Amie, Sr., 5-11, 175 (202 carries, 2,187 yards, 34 TDs, 6 catches, 119 yards, 2 TDs; 166 tackles, 41 for loss, 8 sacks, 3 fumbles forced)
- LB Mike Reason, Sr., 5-8, 170 (165 tackles, 32 for loss, 4 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 safety, 8 PBUs)
- WR Eric Stephens III, Sr., 5-8, 150 (21 catches, 505 yards, 8 TDs, 4 carries, 97 yards)
- RB/DB Keileon Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 165 (119 tackles, 47 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 INT)
- QB Dylan Harkrider, Sr., 6-3, 180 (58 of 108, 1,116 yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs, 115 carries, 598 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR/LB Lucas Norton, Sr., 5-8, 160 (11 catches, 204 yards, 4 TDs, 69 carries, 648 yards, 6 TDs; 33 tackles, 2 for loss)
Just the facts
- Waskom is making its third straight state semifinals appearance. It has gone 1-1 in these games, winning last season and then winning the state championship.
- Idalou is a community just east of Lubbock, nearly 500 miles west of Waskom.
- Idalou is making its first state semifinals appearance since its 2010 state championship season.
- Waskom running back Chan Amie was injured in last week's win against West Rusk, but he will start Friday and is considered fully healthy.
- Amie ranks fourth among East Texas runners with 2,187 yards. He's second in rushing touchdowns with 34 scores.
- Idalou running back Brandt Schilling is on pace to break 3,000 rushing yards this season in the first quarter of Friday's game.
- Idalou averages nearly 43 points per game and has never been held to less than 28 points. Its defense has never allowed more than 32 points and averages 11.4 points against per game.
- Waskom enters the meeting with a 29-game winning streak. That's second best among East Texas teams, one game behind Gilmer's 30-game winning streak.
- Idalou has only attempted 32 passes all season, 12 completions.
- Waskom will travel 247 miles to Mineral Wells. Idalou will go 250 miles one-way. The drive will be about four hours for both teams.
Key matchup: Waskom's defense against Idalou's running game.
This game is simple for Waskom to plan for. Actually stopping Idalou's ground game is another thing.
Idalou running back Brandt Schilling has 2,943 yards and 37 touchdowns, and the team doesn't try to hide him. Waskom's opposition has only thrown the ball 32 times all season, 12 completions for 298 yards and four touchdowns to two interceptions. Schilling is virtually a lock to surpass 3,000 rushing yards on the season in Friday's game.
The objective for Waskom shouldn't be holding Schilling and a few auxiliary backs to a standstill. That is the impossible dream.
If head coach Whitney Keeling's defense can simply put Idalou behind the sticks a few times with negative yardage tackles, it will have done its part to give Waskom the win.
Waskom has more than 260 tackles for negative yardage this season. Five players along the defensive front have 23 or more tackles for loss and defensive end Keileon Johnson leads all of East Texas with 47 tackles for loss, an indication Waskom is quick to break down opposing offensive lines and force running backs to change direction early in their run attempt.
This will be a particularly important game for linebacker and running back Chan Amie on both sides of the ball. Not only does he have an East Texas second-best 43 tackles for loss, he's Waskom's leading rusher. Waskom can keep Idalou's runners off the field for significant portions of the game by executing its own run-oriented offense.
Don't be surprised if: Turnovers determine the outcome of the game. Waskom is right in its wheelhouse running the football and Idalou averages less than one completed pass per game. The clock will nearly be in constant motion, so possessions will be limited. It will be important for both offenses to capitalize on their opportunities. Neither team can afford to be stopped, much less giving the ball up and setting up the opposition with a short field the other way.