White Oak Can Clinch First State Finals Berth Since 1957 With Victory Over Reigning Champion Cameron Yoe
Class 2A Division I
No. 8 Cameron Yoe Yoemen (13-1)
White Oak Roughnecks (13-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Eagle Stadium, Allen
- Cameron Yoe: Rick Rhoades
- White Oak: Gerry Stanford
- Cameron Yoe: won 28-26 vs. Hallettsville
- White Oak: won 31-0 vs. Franklin
- Winner plays Wall or New Boston in the 2A Division I state championship game, 5 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 19), Arlington's AT&T Stadium.
- QB Jason Kopriva, Sr. (195 of 286, 2,790 yards, 45 TDs, 6 INTs; 75 carries, 113 yards, 8 TDs
- RB Traion Smith, Soph. (236 carries, 2,137 yards, 24 TDs; 8 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Colton Shuffield, Sr. (58 catches, 1,106 yards, 14 TDs)
- WR Aaron Sims, Jr. (63 catches, 731 yards, 14 TDs; 28 carries, 437 yards, 5 TDs)
- LB Somari Wright, Sr. (201 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 PBU)
- DB Colton Labay, Sr., 5-10, 174 (104 tackles, 1 INT, 8 PBU, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 blocked punt)
- DL Tralund Webber, Sr., 6-4, 215 (55 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, 21 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 2 PBU, 1 blocked punt, 1 blocked FG)
- LB Ryan Cullen, Jr. (118 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 7 QB pressures, 3 fumble recoveries)
- LB Michael Gelner, Sr., 5-9, 150 (100 tackles, 9 for loss, 1 sack, 8 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 blocked punt)
- DL D'Andre Adams, Soph. (85 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 14 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 1 blocked punt, 1 blocked FG)
- DB Jalen White, Sr. (54 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 PBU)
- WR/DB Justin Pratt, Sr. (17 catches, 234 yards, 6 TDs; 41 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 INTs, 4 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- WR John Washington, Jr. (29 catches, 341 yards, 4 TDs)
- DL Christopher Lewis, Sr. (66 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks, 11 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- QB Dylan Gale, Sr., 5-9, 140 (198 of 335, 3.479 yards, 34 TDs, 2 INTs)
- RB Riley Lakin, Sr., 5-9, 155 (272 carries, 1,625 yards, 25 TDs; 10 catches, 104 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Jansen McCurdy, Sr., 6-0, 167 (55 catches, 1,560 yards, 20 TDs; 24 tackles, 4 INTs, 6 PBU, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- WR/DB Gabe Michael, Sr., 6-2, 170 (55 catches, 797 yards, 6 TDs; 42 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 4 PBU)
- WR/DE Hayden Nichols, Sr., 6-4, 220 (24 catches, 389 yards, 5 TDs; 44 tackles, 20 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 PBU)
- WR/DB Cass Carr, Sr., 5-10, 146 (40 catches, 470 yards, 2 TDs; 68 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, 3 INTs, 1 PBU)
- S Jake Pullen, Jr., 6-3, 150 (200 tackles, 3 for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 2 INTs, 9 PBU)
- DL Kris Layman, Sr. (102 tackles, 14 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- OL/DL Dee Sutton, Sr., 5-11, 250 (72 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack)
- OL/DL Jason Heim, Sr., 6-2, 275 (77 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries, 1 PBU)
- LB Josh Hampton (58 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack)
- RB/LB Zach Rowe, Soph., 5-11, 166 (33 carries, 162 yards, 2 TDs; 67 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
- WR/DB Josh Benson, Sr., 6-2, 175 (14 catches, 239 yards, 1 TD; 26 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 3 INTs, 8 PBU)
- RB/LB Brett Debacca, Sr. (22 carries, 140 yards; 68 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
Just the facts
- Cameron Yoe is averaging 45.8 points and 424.6 yards per game -- 219.9 rushing and 204.7 passing.
- For the season, Yoe has run 708 plays from scrimmage for an average of 8.4 yards per snap.
- In four playoff games, Yoe has averaged 42.5 points and 400.5 yards per game -- 214.5 rushing and 186 passing.
- In its previous four games, Yoe has run 214 plays from scrimmage for an average of 7.5 yards per snap.
- Yoe is plus-20 on the season in turnovers. The Yoemen have 17 interceptions and 17 recovered fumbles.
- The cumulative record of Yoe's opponents this season is 83-66.
- District 13-2A's other playoff teams -- McGregor, Troy and Lago Vista -- were a combined 4-3 in the postseason. The only team not to record a win was Lago Vista, which lost by six points to regional finalist Hallettsville in bi-district.
- Cameron Yoe has played in two state title games in the last three seasons -- losing to Daingerfield in 2010 and returning the favor last year.
- White Oak is averaging 41.3 points and 407.6 yards per game -- 150.9 rushing and 256.7 passing.
- For the season, White Oak has run 799 plays from scrimmage for an average of 7.1 yards per snap.
- White Oak's average margin of victory for the season is 28.4 points.
- During the playoffs, White Oak is outscoring opponents by an average score of 41-16.
- White Oak is plus-22 on the season in turnovers. The Roughnecks have 15 interceptions and 16 recovered fumbles.
- The cumulative record of White Oak's opponents this season is 87-69.
- District 9-2A's other playoff teams -- Tatum, Harmony and Troup -- were a combined 1-3 in the postseason. The only win came from Tatum, which was eliminated in the second round.
- White Oak's last and only state-championship game appearance came in 1957 -- a 7-7 tie vs. Mart in the 1A title game.
Key matchup: Cameron Yoe offensive skill-position players vs. White Oak back seven defenders. Cameron Yoe enters Friday night's semifinal matchup with a very similar offensive approach to White Oak. The Yoemen are balanced, featuring a 2,800-yard passer (Jason Kopriva) with a TD-INT ratio of 45-5, a 2,000-yard rusher (Traion Smith) and a 1,100-yard receiver (Colton Shuffield) -- not unlike White Oak's offensive trio of quarterback Dylan Gale, running back Riley Lakin and receiver Jansen McCurdy. The biggest difference comes in experience. Cameron Yoe is 9-0 in the last two postseasons, while White Oak is enjoying its longest run in the playoffs since 1970. Yoe's offensive production has dipped a tad during the playoffs, but expect the Yoemen to provide White Oak's defense yet another challenge.
White Oak's defense is used to big challenges, especially in the last three weeks. The Roughnecks shut down a Grandview offense averaging 54 points per game to just 14 in its area-round win, followed that up by containing a Newton team that was coming off a 74-point performance and enters this week's game on the heels of an impressive shutout of Franklin, which featured one of Class 2A's most dynamic rushing offenses.
Kopriva, who quarterbacked Yoe to the 2A Division I state championship last season -- a run that included two wins over East Texas-area teams (Newton in the semifinals and Daingerfield in the finals) -- makes Yoe's offense tick. He's completed 68 percent of his passes and his 45 touchdowns passes have gone to eight different receivers, however Shuffield has been responsible for most of the damage through the air. When Yoe isn't passing, the Yoemen hand the ball off to Smith, who has burst onto the scene with a monster sophomore season. He's averaging more than nine yards per carry and has run for at least 100 yards in all but one of Yoe's games.
White Oak's defense is full of playmakers at all three levels. The defensive line foursome of Hayden Nichols, Dee Sutton, Kris Layman and Jason Heim have combined for 50 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, but the Roughnecks are solid at linebacker and in the secondary as well. Safety Jake Pullen is having a big-time junior season, coming off a 29-tackle performance last week against Franklin, which helped earn him ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week honors. Pullen, along with McCurdy, Josh Benson and Cass Carr, patrol a secondary that's been responsible for 12 interceptions on the season. Josh Hampton, Zach Rowe and Brett Debacca comprise a linebacking crews that often cleans up what the D-line leaves unfinished.
Don't be surprised if: Each teams tests the opposing secondary by going deep with their big-play receivers early. White Oak's McCurdy collected his 20th touchdown reception of the year last week and is averaging a mind-boggling 28.4 yards per catch. Shuffield averages a shade under 20 yards per reception, but has had three games during the season in which he's averaged more than 30 yards per grab. White Oak and Cameron Yoe, statistically speaking, appear to be mirror images of one another. They have similar playmakers on offense, while the two defenses have forced almost the exact number of turnovers and carry nearly identical turnover-margin numbers into Friday night's showdown.
One thing to watch is how well Yoe is able to run the ball against White Oak. The only game in which Smith failed to rush for at least 100 yards was Cameron Yoe's only loss of the season -- a 27-20 defeat to Lago Vista in the District 13-2A opener. Smith was held just 37 yards that night. If White Oak can contain Smith, the Roughnecks will have done something that only one team has all season, which coincidentally was the only team to defeat the Yoemen.