White Oak, Jefferson Meet in Pivotal District 9-2A D-I Clash
White Oak Roughnecks (7-2, 3-1)
Jefferson Bulldogs (7-2, 2-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jerry Bennett Field at W.F. Lockett Stadium, Jefferson
White Oak: Gerry Stanford
Jefferson: Jerry Bennett
White Oak: def. Sabine, 44-13
Jefferson: lost to Tatum, 31-14
- WR Jansen McCurdy, Jr., 6-0, 175 (35 catches, 908 yards, 13 TDs)
- QB Dylan Gale, Jr., 5-8, 150 (90 of 172, 1,691 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs; 1 rush TD)
- RB Hunter Owens, Sr., 5-11, 205 (146 carries, 759 yards, 8 TDs; 10 catches, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Gabe Michael, Jr., 6-1, 170 (21 catches, 407 yards, 2 TDs)
- ATH Darion Barr, Sr., 6-0, 190 (71 carries, 423 yards, 3 TDs; 18 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Hayden Nichols, Jr., 6-2, 215 (12 catches, 186 yards)
- DL Dee Sutton, Jr., 5-11, 235
- DB Riley Lakin, Jr., 5-9, 175
- RB Deion Williams, Sr., 5-8, 180
- QB Brayden Varnell, Jr.
- LB DeVonte Singleton, Sr., 6-3, 180
- LB Chris Smith, Jr., 5-11, 185
- ATH LaDarius Holt, Sr., 5-8, 160
- OT Ryan Cox, Soph., 6-5, 275
- DT Landon Templin, Jr., 6-3, 280
- LB Josh Eppler, Sr., 6-1, 240
Just the facts
- White Oak averages 28.8 points per game and yields 21.9.
- Jefferson averages 33.6 points per game and allows 20.2.
- White Oak has won three consecutive games and won each of them by at least 10 points.
- White Oak's Jansen McCurdy averages 25.9 yards per catch.
- If Tatum beats Harmony and Troup beats Sabine, the winner of White Oak vs. Jefferson is assured a playoff spot.
- If White Oak wins, regardless of the rest of the district, the Roughnecks are in the playoffs.
- A Harmony win over Tatum and a Jefferson win over White Oak would put Tatum, Jefferson, and White Oak in a three-way tie for second at 3-2 in District 9-2A Division I.
- Jefferson is 8-2 vs. White Oak since 1986.
- Jefferson won last year's meeting 35-30.
Key matchup: White Oak's defensive front vs. Jefferson's running game. Jefferson senior tailback Deion Williams is one of the best running backs in East Texas and has been the Bulldogs' go-to workhorse for three seasons. Williams is among the region's rushing leaders, so White Oak faces a tough task stopping him. White Oak does not want to allow Jefferson to dictate the game's tempo. The Roughnecks' spread offense, led by junior QB Dylan Gale and junior receiver Jansen McCurdy, can score in bunches, as evidenced by the 38.7 points per game White Oak has averaged during its three-game winning streak. If White Oak can prevent Williams and the Jefferson offensive line from owning the pace, that will allow the Roughnecks' offense to have more chances to succeed. If White Oak can do that and build a lead, Jefferson's offense may not be built to overcome deficits.
Don't be surprised if: This game is exactly what we've all come to expect out of District 9-2A Division I. Meaning, a tight game with a lot of drama that greatly impacts the district's playoff chase. If this was 2013, both teams would already be in the playoffs. But since we have to wait until next year for the UIL to allow four playoff teams in Class 2A, this game has huge implications. That should make for a great atmosphere at W.F. Lockett Stadium on Friday. White Oak may be a slight road favorite, but Jefferson has the advantage of playing at home. One thing's for sure: everyone in 9-2A D-I will be paying attention to the outcome of this contest.